The Great Scrubber

I began my poem, ‘There is a dangerous thing, more dangerous than most…’ and then I halted, unable to remember what the dangerous thing was. Unable to remember, unable to remember. That’s how very dangerous the dangerous thing is you see. It doesn’t do to take your eye off it. You’ll forget in a twinkling, by jingo you will. I’m telling you that you will. Before you know it you’ll be walking down that old garden path whistling away to yourself to your heart’s content, your mind on anything else but the dangerous thing. You’ll be humming popular tunes to yourself… You’ll be out to lunch, you’ll have gone fishing, and that’s how dangerous the dangerous thing is. It’ll scrub you clean every time and that’s why I call it the Great Scrubber.


‘There is a dangerous thing, as dangerous as can be,’ I began again. I was in good voice and my words rang out like bells in the sullen silence of the room. I was hitting my stride, I was in the zone, and then the next thing I knew the chickens had flown the coop and I was wearing a long grey beard right down to my knees, which were knocking together with fright. Just call me Rip van Crinkle, I shouted out to the world, just call me Rip van Crinkle..


The world didn’t hear me however. The world never does. The world’s got different things on its mind. The whole world is under the power of the Prince of Darkness – did you ever hear that? It’s in the Bible you know. I can quote it to you chapter and verse if you like. I can quote it to you word for word. The Great Deceiver has deceived us all…


The whole world, the whole world. Lies under the power of, lies under the power of. It’s in the Bible you see but that doesn’t do us any good because we’ve all been fed into the scrubber! We’ve all been put through the scrubbing machine and the scrubbing machine has scrubbed us clean.


Every now and again the scrubbing machine skips a beat though and it misses someone. It spits them out unscrubbed and off they go scratching their heads and crying out in their confusion. They’re wondering what’s gone wrong with the world you see. They’re wondering why the world has gone mad. They are upset and disturbed by the behaviour of their fellow men and by the ceaseless nonsense that they talk. They’re upset and disturbed by the great evil that they see all around them. The scrubbing machine spat them out unscrubbed you see and that’s the curse they have to bear!


The whole world lives under the power of the great scrubbing machine – who cares if it spits a few people out now and then? What difference will that make? You might as well talk to the wall you see. You might as well talk to the wall. You wake up and you get a terrible fright. There is dried porridge stuck to your beard. There are silverfish nesting in your underpants. Red spider mites congregate in great numbers in your nostrils. Small plants are growing out of your boots, which are green with algae. You’re lying there at the bottom of the lake and the minnows are playing in your hair.




Image: Isaac77598,










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