TELL A POET THAT- From Alice

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.

THE LAND OF CEDARS- James Bay

A minor ditty, a memoir for a local writing contest. A winner?- be still my heart, wait and see… 

In the middles pages of my friend, the Vagabond Godfrey’s journal- “Canadian Road Apples”- I found a pressed sprig of cedar, brown and brittle with age.

“Cedar for luck”, I recall he whispered, “a noble and most forgiving tree”. Stalwart in muddy boots and old kilt, headed up Menzies Street with me, I desired a ticket for the lottery.

Being from Wales, Godfrey chuckled at the houses I called “old”. Arm in arm we two strolled, the bustle of December in James Bay. We greased our chins on fish and chips, and slurped milkshakes at a small cafe’. From a corner grocer, bought that ticket, won a free play.

Godfrey pointed out where once he had a “mishap with foam” in the corner laundry-mat. The cedar where ,” Larry the Free Advice Wino” sat.   I never cashed in that free ticket…

Last summer, a rare rainy, misty day. Riding the bus, through the narrow side streets of James Bay.  I looked out from the window grimed with spray, a young man sat, smiling up at me. Why would a lad on a July afternoon, touch his cap and nod to a passing old lady?

He wore baggy plaid shorts, muddy boots,  held a battered suitcase, old faded shirt, same missing tooth. The picture in youth of my Vagabond, Godfrey.

I could not get off at the light, another elder asked, “are you alright”?

Rarely now do I wander about James Bay-but oft sit neath the Advice Wino’s cedar tree, I leave it to you story tellers, share in her mystery.

With thanks to Ginger and Lonewolf- “in my friends house are many toilets”..

WINDFALL- From Godfrey and Worzel

Beatrice, though shy also liked to write her thoughts, wrote to of November, in vingetes on scrap paper, taking note of seasons passing or just to remember.   On this first morning cold, Beatrice needed thick socks, and her fleece jacket warm, now fifteen years old.  “Godfrey left it to me, she wrote, merino wool knit, burgundy and gold, with name of a sailing ship and dragon crest embroidered on one arm”. Beatrice cherished the baggy jacket cold days on the farm.  there were clearly signs of age and wear, cuffs gone, elbows darned, marks from sparks of campfire, nicked pocket on barbed wire when she hopped the paddock fence. Or perhaps Godfrey did that, (he never used the gate).  ” I suppose , she pondered, one day it will just disintegrate.”

He wrote me when he won the jacket in a pool game. “I sought the small town pub a Sunday afternoon. To sip lemonade, sit quiet pen and notebook in hand. As befits a vagabond all did not go as planned…twas a cool day in Temuka I wandered to the pub, I could hear the singing from inside, smell the lovely aroma of fish and chips being fried.    “I stowed my suitcase by the bar, the room was strum with soft guitar, “Sad Movies” being sung by a group in the corner. A cricket match was on the old T.V.. Small town folk over beer regarded me, laughing at the tourist in my jacket, shredded sleeve, they were welcoming though, not nasty. Introductions all about, the bar-keeps mother’s name was Daphne, we chatted over dislike of beets and the small town of Temuka.

She boldly asked of my sleeve, chewed off by errant calves. “I said I thought I hung it in a place calves could not get, but they did” Daphne’s son was playing pool, she talked him into a wee bet.  She hollarred, “look at this nice chap, chewed by calves and woebegone, play him for a fish dinner and the flash sailor’s fleece you have on”. His name was Mata, a very large fellow, mainly composed of leather and tattoo. I had never even held a pool cue.

The pub had filled, the singing from the back corner stilled. I broke with a crack, shot a bank, two lucky smancks and an elegant caroom. I potted every ball, there were photos of old times, race horses and rugby players on the wall.

Very late that night we had the best fish dinner ever, and I spent the whole of Monday with the group who had been singing, dipping sheep for parasites together.   Enjoyed another evening and hard fought pool game, Sunday I had came a stranger who disliked beets, on Tuesday sank my last eight ball…the ship’s name on the sleeve of my fine, new jacket is “Windfall”.

Beatrice has never lost the hill walker’s stride of her youth long ago. She pauses to listen to the land, wood smoke smell of early winter, damp wool, distant pig-pen. Halter and lead in hand she heads toward her farm’s north end. old friend P.T. The Good has his wagon parked near now, retired from the road. She will visit him tomorrow, but is out to fetch the Belgian mare, her goats and ponies will follow.

Neath the apple trees, cheeky goat faces, perfect trees to scratch itchy places, soft, frosty nickers of mare’s welcome. They have, the donkeys, goats and horses, eaten up the apples and pears as every autumn they do. Pockets are nosed for treats, leave traces of horse slobber green down the sleeves of her old fleece. It has been a fine year…thick manes for cold hands tucked under gently warm..a November passage for Beatrice, in Wales on Sonsie Farm..