rub a dub

‘If you ever get caught in a storm
with a bellyfull of rocks,
better make sure it’s pumice’ he says.
‘Sounds like good advice’
‘Anyway, this storm,’ he says
‘We could see her coming
sneaking up on the horizon
like a big black cat
following a mouse
growling, flashing her tail
we ran for cover but
she was too quick
jumped us in the channel
jabbed us in the hawse-hole
with a claw of lightning
and waved us around all night
I was ready to throw myself over the side
and save her the trouble
but it was the pumice, you see
it was the pumice what kept us afloat
and after about a thousand years
the storm got bored, gave up and ran off home,
left us high & dry on the bank of a beach
with not a scratch to show for it
‘cept a lot of tears, and prayers,
and wild, white hair.
All told we was there a month
We used to show the townspeople round
give ‘em tea and cake
and photographs and whatnot
little pumice stones
dressed up as mice.
Still, one thing led to another,
as it always does, in my experience.
The owners paid us off,
floated her out the next high tide
sailed her up the coast for scrap,
and that was that.’
He looks a little run-aground now,
so, to show I know what he means, I say:
‘We used to have a rock of pumice
at home, in the bathroom.
My sisters used it
to rub the dry skin off their feet.’
‘That’s pumice, alright’ he says.
‘Made by volcanoes!’

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