My last week on Sonsie Farm in Wales- I stood by the sink in Beatrice’s puce cottage, idly from the window watching Adelaide and Benny trundle home from church. Their wagon was loaded with purloined tea-bags, sugar packets, and a stack of discarded “Books of Common Prayer”, presumably to pad the bed of books on which they slept.
“Godfrey would have thought, peace becomes them, I said to Beatrice, as we watched the tiny, old woman direct partner Benny in setting up her ancient, plaid steamer trunk under the plum tree, on a crate. “Pair of Jackdaws”, Beatrice “fehed” over her coffee. “Every Sunday, Adelaide writes letters out there, using the trunk as a desk”. “She has never begged a stamp, or asked me to post one from town, I know she writes to The Queen, but whom else is a mystery”.” The two do not get any mail here”.
Curious, I strolled outside, knowing neither could resist ginger snaps and coffee, pen and paper were whisked into the trunk, lid slammed, innocent faces looked up. Cookies and coffee were accepted for the joy of dunking. “This is where I write, slurped Adelaide, smiling off down the valley farm’s wafian folds, where do you sit and write?
Where do I write? In my old turquoise chair, by the window, looking over the harbor water. No drapes these days, to mar the view, of humanity passing or hide the stars at night. Young persons play guitars and drums till late, their skinny street dogs fetch and play fight. Feet on the radiator, turquoise chair, it’s where I write.
I first learned of “The Bile Room”, in a letter sent from Godfrey. He wrote- “The bilious walls of our lunch room so inspire me”.” High shelves of books that no one reads, “Quack- Salver” cures for every ill and odd disease”” The daily paper has been used as a place-mat, there are beet stains on the wall, near where someone better paid than me sat. Crawl do ants in the cupboard, rice and crumbs are strewn in plain sight, I bet a co-worker that the sticky, mottled carpet was once white, see the grubby row of festered smocks, in “The Bile Room’s” vulgar confines, I love to sit and write “.
On the #50 Bus- Ride the main route between James Bay out to Sooke, beware, the windows leak, and the rear doors fail to open, at least once a week. And I recall when Godfrey dropped a quart of soy sauce, it rolled up the aisle of that speeding #50 bus, it shattered on the coin-box, where to ride, one must pay, bathed in soy sauce, we hopped off before our stop that Tuesday.
Now, from the high Double-Decker, see out over vast scrap yards, hooligans throw fertilizer, on the bus from the overpass at night. When it snows the #50 stops six feet out from the curb, on a long commute, is oft when you’ll see me write.
Windows open on a fine day, air the smells of sick and wee, recently, bus full of day laborers, sweat- tired and dusty, a guide dog snoozed the whole ride, chin on my knee. Work-boot cloddan feet stepped careful over golden paws, her owner riding silent beside me. It seemed all on board complained less about their lot in life, and if they did, griped much more quietly…
Where did Godfrey write?, of course in many a journal, and was twice caught composing verse on the door of a urinal. He wrote in chalk on barge and bridges, sidewalks, sand at low tide, and the steamed up windows of the #50 bus, when it was crowdy and humid inside. He wrote on implements of war, a poem for peace, and it was Godfrey on the Vancouver bound ferry, waiting in line for a snack, changed the letters on the menu board, just within his reach to “Spam Platter”. Disgruntled cook, Miss Mary Wadd had to elbow hungry folks aside, when orders for “Spam Platter” were barked to her.
Peace indeed became us, that Sunday afternoon, Benny sat humming, cleaning tack, Adelaide brought her pens and paper out from the plaid trunk. I took the empty cups and biscuit tin back. I thank the Universe for all this from my warm bed at night, and give thanks always, I’ve the freedom for to write…