Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Fisherman and Mermaid

It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound ...

-- John Keats, "On the Sea"

How can you find her
so beautiful, diving off
that bleak rock ahead
in the channel,
her flashing breasts
and that wayward-
beckoning smile
recoiled by what
follows in a spoor
of oily scales, ending
as she splashes
down in that alien
black fin?
How is she different
from the sprawl of
stinking fish stiffening
at your feet, their paling
blues eyes like hers
drifting into
massive rooms below?
What is this nail
of blue desire, so
driven by a blackened
sea and cauls
her hauntingly
beautiful song in
awfulness, drenching
you with icy spray
and menacing
the boat's hide
with your doom? Surely
to join her in that bower
of fair song would prove
a fatal leap, the road
a gauntlet of brutal
brine, the promise
of her kiss draining
the last warm
breath you'll ever
casually fling. Yet that's
just what makes
her so impossible
to resist; your land-
bound mind and cock
is enthralled with
her come-hither,
melting wavelike shape,
her ever-distant
unwavering smile
drifting down and down
further than you can go,
beseeching you
with honeyed voice
to renounce your boat
and your life behind
with its trade and
community and that
home inland,
your terran wife
& married mundanes.
You do not dare
trust that soft
bewitchment in the
crashing wake,
yet something finned
within you choirs
back, begging you
stand up in that boat,
strip naked to
the gale & make
that homeward flying
leap that will (she
promises) envelop you
in the sweet arms
of a drowning bliss,
a kiss of ocean honey
that lasts one
downward mile,
the duration of
every merry, hell-bent fall.
Who cares about
the hard-fought
comprimised and
substantial life staggering
the other balance
pan? It's not enough!
Amazing how what you
imagine cries to be
more real than all
your surely know.
-- And is, though in
the sense of a blueblack
bourne you'll never
fully enter, much
less name. It's tragic
only when the boat-
breeching act is
actual, when you
really take that dive
to sea-weedy
Davy Jones has a
locker crammed with
the boners of
ten thousand sailors
and fisherman who
thrust through
those waves, sotted
on their curves.
Tragic too that she
returns ten thousand nights
and more to wait
upon that moony rock,
praying to all her water gods
for a landed man to
row steadfastly by,
tossing only his love
of fancy in, a water-breathing,
feathered king who's
song enough to woo
her terran dreams, and
wing her far to dry bed
high in trees and gently
pull that scaled dress
from her hips and
spread that brutal
wing-tipped fin
like thighs wider than
the soaring sky:
And truly plunge
what's in her song,
praising the readiness
in her womb's sea-
bed with an emboldened
molten choir of
ten thousand winging seed.
She's as bad
at this as all her boated
prey, halves as they are
of that one desire
we cannot lose
nor ever touch.
If there's an altar
to this, it's that
rock still wet with
her dripping hair
and breasts;
but the music --
that sweet black
voice of Hecate
inside every crashing
wave -- the
music's in the water just
beyond my gaze,
too dark to see
the ripples spreading
in an echo of my heart.


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