I relinquished my voice for the love of a human,
swished my silver-scaled tail in brine one last time
and, on the celebratory blast of his siren,
he winched me on board like a fish on a line.
With mortal feet I walked on gilded splinters,
felt grains of sand between my dainty toes,
soothed my stub of tongue with gentle showers,
swapped coral reefs for daffodil and rose.
I was foam and I was surf, a wind-borne sigh,
a washing wave upon the earth, a sea-child, I.
I lost my fishy smell for him, my tail and scales,
I gave up my right to swim and sing with whales.
I ache for the fish that swim beneath the ocean,
the playful seals, the porpoises and dolphins.
Love and happiness are but an empty dream;
without a voice to sing my song, I must scream.
Kim M. Russell, 23rd June 2020
My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Sounding the Siren
De is hosting this week’s Poetics with my kind of prompt. It’s mermaids, sirens and selkies! She has given us some mythological background and shared lines from Kathleen Valentine, William Butler Yeats, Julian del Casal, T.S. Eliot and Shakespeare.
De wants us to accompany her to the sea and talk of tails, scales and salty women who woo sailors into sleep.