I sat a long while with Godfrey’s sister Alice’s latest packet of writings..yes, her poetry remained dreadful,some of the worst she had ever shared, but I read it over with a strong sense that Alice’s summer in Nova Scotia had touched the curmudgeon in places no person had ever tried.. 

“The folks of Knockfollie’s Bridge recall my brother Godfrey with fondness,” Alice wrote, even having all beets removed from the only grocers in his memory. My friend, Nudge and I have been inviting ourselves to fish suppers, adding insighds to my book- “Alice- A life In praise of Myself”

Here in Canada, all of it, we drive “on the right”. Alice and Nudge thought this ridiculous, and in rental car, roared about as they would in Wales.

Alice indeed shares her “insighds”, with a brown boat to catch, and a lot of pranks left in her poke….TELL A POET THAT- from Alice-

I was recently informed- “Farmers do not plow, they cultivate”. We passed a field with such sweaty a chap,  on a day already warm. Sunrise of boysenberry swirls of hokey-pokey cream and crimson, tinged in wild mint. Tell  a poet that, tell a poet here down east, the summer nights don’t cool, the stars brighter than there. The poet may reply, I recall they are- “A blanket for the olders over heather, their fire, harbor home and safety to the bold navigator”.

Tell a poet, it is raining out, Nudge wear my hat. Cold the wet drips down spout, rusts the hinge, in the sodden apple tree bedraggled chickens cringe. don we boots and stalwart fourth, gather the hens in safe with me- and we shall pass the rainy eve over eggy toast for tea.

Tell a poet the delight of outdoor clothes line. “I ran to grab a passing verse, like laundry dry on end of day. Thunder in the hills a griping, storm is on her way. Scent of summer with first drops of rain, new mown hay, sweet on clean sheet splats…Ah tell a poet that.

Eau Duh Colon’- I’m oft asked of the perfume I wear, asked Alice is it sweet essence from France? From France do tell?  “I dab on baked beans, baked beans on fair skin, and behind my ears baked beans from a tin. Tell a poet how a poet may describe it- baked beans.

Tell a poet of Nudge and I as as two more “Tramps in Mudtime”. Squelch, did we squelch round Tinhorn Bay, with my stick moist things to slay, squelch flotsam flat. Squelch we muddy knee to hips, two tramps and greasy wrapped up fish and chips. Oh a good long walk with you, the snizz and crackle of hot deep fat, salt and malt vinegar, but tell a poet that.

Today in need to be alone, with my stick set out a stroll. I sat on a bench, wondering if I am thought of fondly back home. I waited for family or child come by so I could, with my stick quick flick to the sand their ice cream cone. And soon came a lad, (they always did) sticky of face, ignoring the warnings of his nit-picking dad.

As the wee brat drew boldly closer to me, I noted his rubber boots, odd haircut, the image at six of my late brother, Godfrey. I glared at the child in my best curmudgeon, such nerve, the young nipper not to take fright. What happened next left me in utter shock, he held out his ice cream to give me a bite….

No front teeth, dripping pink cone in grubby hand, I was not shocked or revolted, “No thank you my dear” came from some place deep inside me, I gathered my stick up and bolted.

Rundown Motel for the night?, tell a poet that. She may write- Rustic Roadside Inn steeped in history. Old couple down the hall inform me, “First sign of spring is a warm waft of Pig Farm cross the valley”. Hourly the train rattles by neath your rooms only window, tell a poet romantic the three a.m. trains roar. Wobbly table, one threadbare towel, someone has pried open the toilet door…

We re-bequethed The Outhouse Museum to one Domestos Harpic and her silent husband Edgar.  Fond friends of Godfrey, would weed and tend it. Our sojourn sadly soon over, we invited ourselves again to fried fish supper for to end it.. tell a poet of such an adventure we must end it…

And the ship we sail on, steam home to Wales on is painted brown. Give me a poet describe such a thing, from Melbourne to London town, a ships proper color be red, or silver to keep up with the clouds, our ship was brown.

I covet greasy life vest, should I consume herring, trip over a bollard and drown. the ship lists like Lloyd our village drunkard in Batley, it’s name on the bow changed, painted over and over yet again. The ship is crewed by wayward sailors, homeward bound like Nudge and me. What is not painted brown is worn away wood or rusty. Herring is served in some form breakfast, lunch and tea…Nudge feels an epic poem neath my pen, but Ah, tell a poet that again.. from Alice.


ON THE SLOPES OF NGAURUHOE- The 39th Wisdom of Godfrey

Was a Dr Uren, gave Godfrey a ride, across the Rangipo Desert’s volcanic plateau. He cautioned the young vagabond, mind how  you go, it’s no country for the foolish, this wild Tongariro..

  I’d asked Beatrice about the odd pumice stone, who for my feet at the end of a long hike gave me. Twas in Godfrey’s suitcase said she, from the slopes of far Ngauruhoe, sit back and I’ll tell you the story.

I felt fit and ready he wrote me, after months of tramping the steep and the muddy, getting sand in every crevice below, it was time I tramped the wild Tongariro.

To seek the lonely wisdom of the great wet volcano.. In the high mountain hut, enjoying sleep in my bunk, and despite the dirty dishes piled there, I awoke from the deep, warm fingers not my own, were gently stroking my hair. Thinking, who in here has gone mad?? I reached for my torch, all rabble broke loose, was a Possum had chewed her way in through the screen on the porch. (It was licking a pan of baked beans)

It caused a loud scene, 6 Swedish chaps in their underpants helped me chase poor Poss out the window again. When all was calm, I laid my head, among the scattered dishes and went back to bed.

Nose very cold on my pre-dawn trek out to the toilet. It was raining hard, but I longed for to tramp, and could not let the Possum, the dishes or sleepless night spoil it.

Deep into the park steep I climbed in wind driven, sideways rain. The track a trench of slippery stone, gullies awash over tussock clump, gold the snow grass, I painted my face with red volcanic mud.   My kilt was burgundy and fawn, the day light shifty mist and gray rain, soon it soaked through the warm layers I had on.

A shadow world hidden by the sky, my wet volcano.  And Dr Uren’s words of wisdom, “unforgiving this wild Tongariro”.

..In frozen tent at day break I woke, again desperate for a wee. Out in the frost I stood, the storm had passed, I stood in awe my friend, at the foot of Mt Nguruhoe, lost to the sunrise and her black cinder cone, silent she towered above me.

I had no desire, to climb any higher, wrote Godfrey. He wrote, in all honesty, I have never been soaked as wringing wet as I was on that track. All my gear I spread to dry on the rocks before, sadly heading back.

Usually, I take nothing free, there was naught I desired but the wonder Ngauruhoe gave me, with thanks for her blessing, and piece of pumice stone, as the rain began to fall, I set out a wiser, damp vagabond on my own.

Now oft when warm and dry, I watch the rain and go, drifting in dream to the wild Tongariro…down through the mud to my bunk in the hut, so exhausted was I, I sacked out ignoring the unwashed dishes piled nearby..awoke once again amid soup bowls and pans, to the feel in my hair of furry, wee hands.

..And the 39th wisdom of Godfrey states- In a crowded hut, wash your dishes with care, lest a Possum lick them clean and dry her paws in your hair. Not all Swedish climbers of great, high rocks, sleep in night shirts or wooly socks, in a crisis you may see their bare buttocks.. From Godfrey.