WITH ROGER ON THE GOOD ROAD- From Worzel

Here is a story, came in the post. I love these random letters, from people influenced by others influenced by those who met up with Godfrey.

“I was there, she wrote, that two weeks in Arthur’s Pass Youth Hostel when heavy rain washed out rail and road. I am the girl from Texas who found beer in a cupboard the 5th day of rain. Godfrey had been left in charge, an odd young man who kept the wood fire burning, and wrote these words in the hostel comment book. “daw haul Ar Fryn”- “Comes The sun To the Hill”, translated from the Welsh, it means- “It will get better”. 

I asked Godfrey, who spoke only in rhyme, and barely above a whisper for a Welsh swear word, he had honest eyes, behind the somewhat owlish glasses  worn since age five, and replied- “Cer i grafu, (Go and scratch).

My companion, Roger and Godfrey sat up late each night playing scrabble, from the vagabond, Roger learned there was nothing in life that could not be sung. Godfrey’s tuneless muttering as he went about hostel chores was his poetry. I remember, and always will, the pounding rain on sheet metal roof, the wind and fog swirling across the tussock grass. That time in Arthur’s Pass is now legend, as is Godfrey, but I was there, it is I made the awful pot of chili,  9th day of rain. 

Oh I am a poor rover from Valley Cleddau, I disliked beets then and do not like them now, but give me a kind horse, and reins of soft leather, then the wide Owen River at rains end, we shall cross together….such is what Godfrey sang as he cleaned the toilets. 

With Roger on The good Road- 

Was the good road with Roger, made it all worthwhile. From the hard, cold trek to Yahk. The long walk down Portage to a hitch-hiking spot, with shade enough to lean a heavy back pack.

Was the good road with Roger. To camp by the Owen River, blankets dew damp mornings, hands held to warm over the fire. Was the good road with Roger. In letters and laughter, in my memory forever. He collected words “RipRap””Rata””Ethelbert” and “Woollamaloo”. He wove them into stories and poetry as Godfrey inspired him to.

Time back then, truly did seem to wait, for this girl from Texas, and Roger, language scholar, son of an eastern city.

I will find that old and faded backpack, worn soft from sun and weather, take to that good road when I dream….Roger and I cross that wide Owen River together.

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2 thoughts on “WITH ROGER ON THE GOOD ROAD- From Worzel

  1. So much to ponder here, Sheila: a Welsh swear word, a few stanzas of verse, owlish glasses worn since age 5, and a list of tantalizing words, all of which I had to look up except for Ethelbert: him I knew. My favorite of the list? Woollamaloo because it rolls around nicely in my mouth.

    • Thanks Janet- You can buy a house in Ethelbert, Manitoba very cheaply,Woolamaloo, in Sydney we had an adventure in a raging taxi-cab. Tale for another time..

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