Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mermaid Sand Sculpture**

A Tiny Clue

You could spend your entire life
eavesdropping on the mermaid
before you'd pick up 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 the 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 from the Irish by Paul Muldoon

**Thank you to Karen Gerstenberger for thinking of Sophie and sending me the photo of the sand sculpted mermaid -- isn't it fantastic? For those of you who don't know about our fascination and love of mermaids and selkies, you can read this and this.


  1. What a great poem. And you're so welcome for the photo - it was my pleasure. Wish I had been able to credit the sculptor, but I can tell you it was someone on McKenzie Beach.



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