Monday, May 13, 2013
Redolent of the Sea
A Tiny Clue
You could spend your entire life
eavesdropping on the mermaid
before you'd pickup the tiniest little clue
about where she was really from. One autumn day
I happened upon
her and her child
while she was comforting it under her shawl,
'You are not the blue-green pup of the seal.
You are not the grey chick of the greater black-backed gull.
You are not that kit of the otter. Nor are you
the calf of the slender hornless cow.'
This was the lullaby she was singing
but she stopped short
immediately she realized
someone else was in the neighborhood.
I had the distinct sense she was embarrassed
I'd overheard her in the first place.
I also came away with the impression
the lullaby was, to put it mildly, redolent of the sea.
Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, from The Fifty Minute Mermaid, translated by Paul Muldoon