Flipped

It was a raging sea-magic kind of day,
with thunder clouds and wind-whipped waves
that made us mermaids forget salty witches.
Oblivious to consequence, caught up in the rumpus,
we anticipated handsome seamen
snatched by squalls from a schooner’s deck,
combed out the tangles in our waist-length hair
and spread our glistening fish-tails on a rock.
We were naïve and blissfully unaware
of the magnitude of the sea witch’s envy;
green as seaweed, she whirled into a frenzy,
her magic an undercurrent that peaked
with the storm and flipped us into the sea.
We gulped the brine, it coursed through our gills,
made legs and feet of our tantalising tails.
Inverted now, we kicked and dived,
a coral-coloured shimmering shoal of sisters,
with no honeyed voices to charm sailors.
We no longer haunt the rocky shores
or admire our hair in seashell mirrors;
we must avoid all human men,
their harpoons and their trammel nets,
sideshows and aquariums, oceanic oddities,
fish out of water to the salty end.

Kim M. Russell, 25th October 2019

Hannah Yattas Inverted Mermaid
Inverted mermaids, artist unknown – image found on Pinterest

My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads: Take a chance and step into the mythical realm , also linked to Poets United Poetry Pantry

This Friday, Sanaa ask us to step into the realm of myths and legends, stories that fascinate and inspire us to create songs, poetry and art. She asks us to think about what it is that draws us to them and shares two poems: ‘Medusa’ by Clark Ashton Smith and ‘How the Raven Became Black’ by John Godfrey Saxe.

The challenge is to find a piece of art and create our own poetic mythology around it.

57 thoughts on “Flipped

  1. I absolutely love, love this Kim! ❤️❤️ The imagery is wonderful and continues to mesmerize until the end 😀 especially; “Inverted now, we kicked and dived, a coral-coloured shimmering shoal of sisters, with no honeyed voices to charm sailors,” I can actually visualize the scene unfolding before me! Thank you so much for writing to the prompt 😍😍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how the image and the write intertwine so brilliantly. Flipped to have the heads of fish and bodies of women. I wasn’t sure if the mermaids were the protagonists or the antagonists of this piece. For they are just as dangerous to the seamen as the witch is to them. I love with a sea change how their fortunes are flipped as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That sea witch is a bitch isn’t she? I’ve been entranced with mermaids most of my life but had noticed an absence of them recently off our shores. This is an absolutely delightful poem Kim.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope you turn this one into a short story one day. The details would be out of this world. I would love to know more about the mermaids. Also, it would be awesome to read some salt out of the witch’s lips.

    The painting is just striking!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love that opening:

    “It was a raging sea-magic kind of day”

    And this:

    “we must avoid all human men,
    their harpoons and their trammel nets,
    sideshows and aquariums, oceanic oddities,
    fish out of water to the salty end”

    So gorgeous:

    “a coral-coloured shimmering shoal of sisters”

    Liked by 1 person

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