Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sand & Water

"Solid stone is just sand and water, baby; sand and water, and a million years gone by." --Beth Nielsen Chapman

They say that if you love a Selkie,
she will leave with the tide, and not return for seven years.
Lovers of Selkies walk the beach collecting shells
and other empty things, here...and here...and here.

They say that if you love a Selkie,
to keep her, you burn the seal-coat she's shed.
Then you'll have a Selkie wife
silently crying in your bed. 

Here I've been, since who knows when,
Drawing pictures in the dust on the sill while you slept.
Don't say you believe, in me, in us
anymore; what's been burned can't still be kept.

Down through the town, past the fields, to the water
with my seal-coat stitched from paper and leather,
I slip back home, on my back I'm carried
by the change in the waves, in your heart, and the weather.
_______

for Margaret's Artistic Impressions at Real Toads.



 


19 comments:

hedgewitch said...

However many times you swim with the selkies, you never exhaust the metaphor. I love the simplicity of the second stanza especially, and the ending is delicate, sweet and heart-breaking. This breathes with the sea wind of change and restlessness.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I think I once was that Selkie wife, crying in a bed somewhere. I adore this poem, especially the closing stanza. Sigh. Bittersweet reading.

Martin Kloess said...

And so another legend joins the waves of a tear. Well composed.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Shay--Quite wistful.

Victoria said...

So deeply beautiful , it has been wonderful visiting your magical world..gorgeous poetry! Very soul-stirring.
Victoria

Toni Spencer said...

what's been burned can't still be kept...but yet, the selkie keeps going back to the sea...Looking for shells among all the empty...So much to grab hold of in this poem, to read and to savor.

Sarah Russell said...

Shay, this is a beautiful combination of the contemporary and the mythic. Love it!

Margaret said...

Love lived, love lost. You do it best with this love letter sent adrift type of poem...

Margaret said...

Oh... and the quilt I'm making which rotates around this piece of fabric is going to be so awesome (I hope)

Kim Russell said...

I love that song (indeed the whole album) by Beth Nielsen Chapman! I'm going to play it now! Thanks for giving me the nudge! I also love stories and poems about selkies - written a few myself - and yours sparkles! Sorry about all the exclamation marks - I got a bit over-excited.

Brendan MacOdrum said...

Tangy with salt and the boom of the deep. Once a wave has splashed into the heart, one can only be half of land ever again.

Old Egg said...

The sadness is we always want to take selkies and mermaids out of their environment. I've found a back yard pool is just not enough. Beautifully written poem Shay.

angieinspired said...

you've really worked out the sand and stone (baby)!Empty things carried back by the waves, metaphorical and meteorological.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I adore this poem. I've been fascinated by the selkie myth since my youth (what can I say? I've always been a sucker for unrequited love) and the viewpoint you offer here blows me away. Oh, that paper and leather coat - so poignant.

Mama Zen said...

That closing line is just breathtaking, flawless.

Sara McNulty said...

Absolutely gorgeous, especially that haunting ending. I feel restless for the ocean.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I love the Selkie legends too – and I particularly love the way this one reclaims her power and freedom. Most of all I love the way you tell the tale.

Outlawyer said...

Especially lovely last stanza and wonderfully woven throughout. k.

Paul John Dear said...

Delightful re telling of a Selkie story.I'm not in the camp that says love is destroying a skin. Never.