What if?: Night Swimming to the Mermaids’ Graveyard

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Night Swimming to the Mermaids’ Graveyard

The headline from The World read, 'Mermaid Graveyard Found!'
I'd wanted to write a short story, but this came first.

Night Swimming to the Mermaids’ Graveyard

It’s all right tonight
to fight tides
in icy silence.
Guided by sandpipers;
a holy host of feathered flight.

Draw breath and dive
to find what I like;
coral, crisp icicles
climbing high toward
the forgotten sky.

And deeper, dolmens
guard the sleeping people.
Do they really die?

Are any left alive?

I rise to find
winding sheets of rain.
only horizons circle around
waves, like shrouds
covering sounds of cries
echoing deep inside
the ocean.


Blogger Leesa said...

I have to pass on poetry; normally difficult for me to understand.

I like the image of "winding sheets of rain."

9:53 AM  
Blogger Alcuin Bramerton said...

It is a perfect,
Summer day.

The air is heavy
With pollen.

A mermaid
Is sitting on a rock
At Durdle Door in Dorset.

A pleasant-looking young man
Is wind-surfing

A speed boat
In the distance.

At Aston Clinton
There are cucumber sandwiches for tea.

But Aston Clinton
Is nowhere near Durdle Door.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Love the imagery. Mermaids are my first love, so this is going to be a favorite. (vampires are my second-favorite mythical creature...oh, and the pegasus, and fairies and...I guess I love it all.)


10:14 AM  
Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

Thanks. I don't know if I believe in God, but I do believe in mermaids.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous j. alfred prufrock said...

Nicely done. Like all of your stuff, it implies a larger mythology without actually spelling it out. You are good at creating worlds that seem complete, and cut out of whole cloth.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Just beautiful.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

Wow, thank you guys! Do I know you, J. Alfred Prufrock?

Thanks daniel!

3:23 PM  
Anonymous clowncar said...

Yes you do. It's me, using pretentious literary allusions again (TS Elliot's The Love Song of JAP ends with an absolutely amazing mermaid reference, with the last line "Till human voices wake us and we drown"). So I read your poem, thought of him.

I'm in Famous Heaven again, by the way. The fam is relatively well, so able to read/write/critique again. The Marilyn section is still the one of the best things you've ever done. A joy to reread.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

Mr Clowncar: A-ha! I should have known!

I'm going to have to find that poem. What a great line.

Glad you are enjoying Just Another Love Letter. I've got some more of it for you to read. Finally figured my through hell.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Pater said...

Beautiful imagery. I really enjoyed the "winding sheets of rain" image as well.

Initially, I thought maybe the third line of the last stanza was too long. But reading it aloud it flows really well. Perhaps it becomes two lines "only horizons / circle around". But you might not want so much emphasis on 'horizons', saving it instead for the 'waves'. It would also alter the symmetric shape of the stanza.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

Thanks Pater. Good suggestion.


I rise to find
winding sheets of rain.
Only horizons circle
around waves,
like shrouds covering
sounds of cries
echoing deep inside
the ocean.

Does that change the cadence? I'm going for a keening sound -- lots of open vowels, and an asymetrical rhyme scheme, like a song translated from another language.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

I was listening to all about eves 'pearl fishermen' when I read that and it was wonderful to read your poem and listen to the siren song also very evocative with the music and your lyrical words. So whats this about a mermaid graveyard? Its given me all kinds of thoughts of possible rituals that would ensue on the death of their kin.. thanks for the thoughts :)

2:11 AM  

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