Mer Made

mermaids. Mer Made. George Willoughby Maynard (1843 – 1923)

Mermaid and Minotaur meet on the shore of a strange sea.

She, cast ashore by a wave
of green and gold.
She, rejected of illusion.
She, bereft of fish form and armor.
She, pursuer of a task
that must needs completion.

No longer afloat – erect –
her lost flukes, feet now,
each grain of sand, a needle.
Behold, new made legs; bones creak as she walks.
She. Hips flare where fin once waved.
The dreadful possibility of birth,
lays on her heart like a stone.

Minotaur wanders the shore chasing
a thought forgotten.
Unclean unkosher monster
tears have dried in salt encrusted pools beneath soft eyes.
The lances of picadors, have rent and scarred his cruel back.
O Bull, how has a beast been brought so low?

The rumor of the Minotaur’s approach
now silent.
Where the echoing tramp in stone hall?
The approach of a cannibull.
Devourer of man and his dreams.
Gone in a clatter of collapse
the foundation stone cracking…
Naked, his buttocks and groin
flaunt that power unfounded.
Ill-conceived beast, sterile.

He:  You are stranded. I will bellow and you will die.
She: Would you bend me to your will? I may bend, but you will break.
He: I am unbreakable. Man’s flesh and god’s flesh. Bull’s bone and hide. Sinew taut and muscle bound.
She: I am of the sea and not. I sing storms and raise waves. How many have followed me and foundered?
He: I see but a fish ashore. I see unsteady feet. I see nakedness unaccustomed. Wherenow your armor? Perhaps I am come to clothe you. Perhaps I am come for you. I am a mountain of strength.
She: I am she who swims alone. Your strength is my weakness. I see not demigod but steer.

afar, seen now distant a wall of green rises charges the shore
then rising crests white foam flecks torn away spindrift streaming
iodine reek
rising, crests and falls
falls with hollow mountain boom
falling rebounds steams atomized ozone molecules
falling, fallen, gone
the suck of the undertow
the pull of the sea.

She: rising, reaches for a bowed bull head. Unrelenting.
He: bending, rigor vitae. Unyielding.



4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I love this poem.

  2. Stephen D. O'Leary says:

    O beauty full of life, O ever-blossoming flame, O seed of bull and god whose labyrinthian rage overflows in the blood-dimmed tide of history, O full-breasted fishwoman whose stormy siren song calls us into deep waters and up to starry heights above all clouds, Now spewing and spitting water from sore lungs, now with strong bellows gulping and gasping for breath of air that sustains and inspires: in your union we find ourselves, divine beasts, monstrous gods, trapped between the celestial and the bestial, exalted by our potential, abject in our wretched fawning fleshly torment; never sure of who we are or of how to become more than we have been….O beastgods spawning godbeasts, with what pictures shall we prove ourselves, what webs of words will we weave into our prayers, what temples must we build and and worship in and destroy to discover what we must learn from the lesson of your congress?

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