The Ambergris


About the size of a basketball,
it washed up after a storm
I guessed it was a chunk of rubber
burned black and thrown overboard

Our father insisted it was ambergris from a Sperm whale
worth a fortune – to be sold to perfumers in France
Nous allons payer un million de francs !

He learned from the fishermen in Chatham
that ambergris was a heavy, tarry ball that smelled horrible
Our ambergris passed all the tests.

After my father died, I found it under the tool bench
unchanged, it was still rubbery and smelled bad
My father really wanted it to be ambergris
and not a sea-changed wad of a melted rubber raft

He never showed it to an expert, or wrote to
Houbigant and asked for an opinion.
As long as it was under the bench it was truly ambergris,
worth a small fortune in cash and fame and dreams.


1 thought on “The Ambergris

  1. I remember the episode. i like how the ambergris /rubber ball has been changed from a rubbery sea mass into the realm of Dadness. Even more interesting we must have bought into the dream because it is a strange memory from childhood to hold onto.

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