This is the story, in verse and vingette of my friend, The Vagabond Godfrey- he described himself as “A poet and professional fig picker”. Always blithe with money, yet paying his way. I found this poem in his “Urban Pentimento” journal, on a laboring job, Godfrey had given the okay for the on site “Port-A- John” be strapped shut, hoisted onto a truck, and driven away, not knowing the boss man was sitting inside…he indeed was adrift, seeking a new job.   

Tonight, I hurried for home in a spring shower, weighted down with sundries. I grabbed a quick coffee to enjoy as the rain eased, leaning on the harbor wall for that first, hot sip. Water had pooled cup’s lid rim, tasting both sweet and cool before the hot, bitter richness…now I knew what Godfrey meant when he muttered about craving rainwater coffee…and watching ships head out. If you dislike coffee, any other hot beverage will do..

Godfrey writes-  Still cold and dark mid April morning. And here I am, adrift in the city. In line at a cafe’ came a sailor clad for foul weather, he spoke softly- said “I can tell by the cuffs of your coat that you come from away”. Indeed so, I replied, are you bound for warmer shores this rainy day?”

When I bid him farewell cup in hand I returned to the street. The first sip I took was of rainwater coffee, I was wet chilled through as the good brew  warmed me …recalled from lost youth a vivid memory.

Rainwater coffee, kneeling in the sand, fire coaxed from damp drift wood, scrape the last grounds out, bottom of the tin. Great, fat rain on hissing twigs, fog bound the sheltered bay I camp in.

Lonely,  concrete  tub entombed city tree, at the bus stop crows perch, check me out with unfiltered cheek, crow curiosity.  Spring rain pours from the nebulous roof, of a decrepit shelter, where sodden religious literature has been scattered, it sweetens the rim of my paper cup of coffee. My coat cuffs worn and tattered in the wearing. I drink rainwater coffee mid the bitter eyed, waiting, shift workers swearing.

My ship, the #50 bus, lurches from the curb, bow on into the storm it pulls away. I close my eyes as we set sail, remember the line squalls, recall the Southern sky at night, and the taste of rainwater coffee in the gale…


AUTUMN DRIFTER- Bye Beatrice and Worzel

..Dandelion down, leaf on a voyage, Salmon spawn, snowflake lands gently forms tears of farewell, all quiet, all good, all gone. He spent warm days adrift in dream, as the vagabond’s hours are his alone..to choose to snooze neath a tree or mid haystack, far from the bounds of society.

In youth he’d  be seen belly down by a stream in spring when the water ran high. He’d build little boats, or oft times watch leaves, leaves with water drops hitching a ride floating by.

Spring drifters he called them as days on end he set them adrift, watch them bob and roil round the bend.    In summer when Godfrey was free as a small lad can be from school and home, feet wet with the morning dew he ran.

We rode high in the hills to the ancient standing stone. While our ponies rested in the shade below, we sought four leaf clovers for luck, wild strawberries, and dandelion tops to blow. Our summer drifters, we dreamed to, of the places we like the dandelion bits would go.

Not so much drifters, but stout of purpose, years passed, Godfrey stood on a bridge in Canada watching salmon run. Writing me all about it, a solid bridge rail to lean on. “I’m in the town of Chase wrote he, the ever roaming salmon pass under me, they are heading to spawn, I feel it to in Autumn, like the salmon that instinctive need to move on.

The winter I first knew him, we talked round the stove over hot buttered scones and coffee. He told me of his boyhood in Wales, before setting out a journey. “Winter draped it self like a damp, heavy cloak, over our valley town, out came the dreaded “Mulgrew Trousers” for me to wear when the snow came down. Those early days before the storms blew in hard, Alice my sister forgot herself, and quite undignified, joined me in chasing snowflakes about in our yard. Big, soft, slow falling winter drifters,  we’d laugh, as we caught them on brow and tongue.

Alice rubbed my face in the dirt where the beets grew…long ago when we were young.

In that silent hour just at eve, as the first flakes fell and street lights fluttered on. My Autumn Drifter’s deep in my turquoise chair, adrift in stories, coffee and hot buttered scone…