'Buy me a pint', the old man said
as we sat in an old Bristol bar,
'An I'll tell thee a tale that's a little bit gory
and all for the price of a jar'.
So I stumped up the dough, and he whispered, 'I know
you'll never believe my sad tale,
but it started one night when I got into a fight
for the affections of a flighty female.
It was down by the harbour, all shrouded in fog,
when I was jumped by six of his ilk.
The next that I knew I was part of the crew
on a clipper bound for Far Eastern silk.
We were five weeks out, in the South China Sea,
becalmed, not a bit of wind stirring,
When a squall blew up out of nothing it seemed
and the rest of the crew were conferring.
It seemed they had known of this strange cyclone
from a sea dog they met in Macao,
Of strange storms at sea and ethereal beings
who manifested themselves on the prow.
These unearthly creatures proceeded to kill
all the crew and suck their bones dry,
But he'd managed, himself, to jump overboard
and was saved by a ship passing by.
We found out, too late, we had earned the same fate
as ghostly figures rode in on the squall,
And one by one they despatched the crew
and it looked like they'd do for us all.
At the last minute, whist staring death in the face,
I was lifted by angels I'm certain,
And the next thing I knew I was in Kathmandu,
in bed, behind a hospital curtain.
I'll tell thee no more', he said with a wheeze,
‘as me throat's getting awfully dry',
and he tapped his glass with his gnarled, weathered hand
and more than a glint in his eye.
I leaned into the barman and whispered in awe,
‘What a life this old sea dog has led'.
'Who? Old Bill?' Said the barman, 'Sea dog my a##e,
the farthest he's been's Portishead!'
Copyright © John Jones | Year Posted 2020
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