Colleen has a Master’s degree in English Literature and is an author of stories and poetry focusing on the dynamics of human relationships
Despite the countless creatures with which humankind share this earth, history indicates we have a need to shape our own wishes into images we can form and enjoy. Mermaids, Sirens, and Nymphs are aquatic examples.
The following poems describe how human emotions linked with tragedy might be interpreted in the world of mermaids.
- Poem 1 “The Garden of Darkness” relates to mermaid procreation.
- Poem 2 “The Mortal Gods” discovering the truth about mans mortality.
- Poem 3 “Our Splendid Death” describes a passing on ritual.
- Poem 4 “The Spinning Moth” deals with love and compassion.
- Poem 5 “Crystal Hearts” touches on the effects of climate change upon the ocean environment.
- Poem 6 “Typical Man” is a jest about a young man’s final thoughts regarding the vision of a mermaid.
The Garden Of Darkness
Calm blue waters, reflect her blush.
The king Albatross,
Knows not why, but knows he must,
Begin his majestic spiral of anticipation.
Upon the ocean they float together.
Her ivory comb preening his weathered feathers.
Opening her shell, she beckons him.
Eat the nectar from the garden of darkness.
Spreading mighty wings,
Sea breezes lift him over her,
Sunlight flickers through feathers,
Shadows whisk its touch,
Her skin undulates in ecstasy,
And she sings a song she never knew.
Closing her shell,
New life within.
The Mortal Gods
Tubes 1, 2 and 3, Torpedoes fired.
Periscope down, dive, wait and see.
Not fast enough; the turret takes two hits.
We begin the descent of no return.
Every eye looks to each other,
And speaks a silent farewell.
Miranda felt the Boom Boom,
From a thousand waves away.
She swims quick, inquisitive, There!
On the ocean floor lay the brown egg,
Spewing black ink and bubbling anger.
She should avoid anything of metal,
It is the poison from the dry-lands.
Despite her fears, she swims into the broken metal shell.
Gathered within are magnificent young Gods.
She gazes at the peaceful, and touches each warm face.
The legends of the sea are true;
Gods are mortal in her world.
If only one of them were living,
Her dreams could be realities.
With her sadness she swims for home,
Best keep this memory untold, untarnished.
Our Splendid Death
It is said, only once in this lifetime will we see,
The moon become the sun.
We gather on the rocks fidgeting with excitement.
Many have journeyed here from depths afar,
Some nearing the end of their time.
The dark moon bobs on the silent waves,
Around it appears the circle of flame.
Within a hundred heartbeats the sun burns it away;
Gods golden hands are warming us.
We see each other in full glory, a thousand colours shared;
And without thought, we dance like sea nymphs.
Alas, we must rejoin the ocean,
While those who wish shall bask upon the rocks.
Motionless, their skins will crystallize,
While splendid warmth fills and blesses them.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me.
— The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot
The Spinning Moth
From snowy clouds the spinning moth descends.
It does not rest upon the ice,
But crashes in the sea.
We turn tail,
There before it sinks.
The dry-lander body is badly broken.
When I touch him, I can hear his heart cry.
The freezing water will take him soon.
Meddling in his destiny is forbidden,
And yet we do.
In our cave we stare at him in silence.
Although we've never seen a living man,
We know he can be loved before he dies.
My sister holds his head against her chest.
I press my hand upon his cheek.
His eyes open for a moment,
He lifts his hand to mine;
Thus, we three become one.
I cup a shell to his ear, and whisper,
“It is your time, we love you.”
Warm breath speaks from his lips.
And then it stops.
As one, we slide beneath the water.
For a moment his hand squeezes mine,
And then gives way.
We place him in his metal moth,
And all is as it should be.
The Siren waits thee, singing song for song.
— Walter Savage Landor
The northern ice had broken into pieces,
Filthy waters fill the sea.
Our family are traveling to a new home,
Founded beneath the southern ocean.
A day later, I depart with our star-mother.
She is the eldest and must not be forsaken.
She lacks the strength to travel both oceans.
When we reach the equatorial currents,
We must swim deep, be strong.
She swims ahead of me,
Always the leader, protector.
We pass rivers that feed the oceans with death.
That turn the waves into churning mountains of green slush.
The Dolphins, our breathing escorts, choke on air above.
We reach the point when we must dive or die.
Star-mother turns and wraps herself around me.
When Mermaids die their hearts become as crystal,
Kept in sacred shells; their souls live on.
I plunge my hand into her chest,
Grasp her heart and place it next to mine.
She will be the first soul in our new home.
I anticipated being in New York by lunchtime,
But the plane went down,
Floated for a while, then sank, tail up.
Icy water swallowed row on row of seats,
Silencing the spluttering screams.
Just my luck, I was the last.
The ocean water did not taste like salt,
More like marzipan/chocolate cream.
Yielding, I filled my bursting chest,
Put my heart to rest.
Then, before my closing eyes,
The lustrous shape of colour glided towards me,
Her alluring smile beckoned.
Alas, falling in love with a mermaid
© 2019 Colleen Swan