Church of the old mermaids

 Harbour lights

A lonely stretch of grey-damp shingle, roofed only by the endless night
Is altared and hallowed by the vestal flame of the guiding harbour lights
Secret and sacred, in each moon’s darkness, slipping sideways from the foam
The ancient mermaids gather to celebrate the endless world they roam.

There they lounge upon the shore, seductive, salt-scaled and single
Voices soft above the sound of the wave-shifted shingle.
Sharing quietly their tales and trophies from their scouring of the deep –
The wildness of the ocean surge, the softness of a man asleep.

Shedding their tails, they proudly arise, and in the guise of an innocent maid
Each shares her deepest nature’s gift with a sailor (who’ll boast of getting laid).
The sacred service duly completed, their hearts yearn for the ocean flows
Where each mermaid wanders, leaving a trail of beauty wherever she goes.

While the waves caress an empty beach, strewn with glinting scales
Where the hard stones lie in sensuous curves, hollowed out by mermaid tails.


I came across the phrase “Church of the old mermaids” on Endicott Redux, and thought that it would be an interesting idea for a poem. And then I came across the picture above on Rick Mobb’s blog and decided that it was a poem I had to write.


7 responses to “Church of the old mermaids

  1. Hello. It’s not a phrase–it’s the name of one of my novels! You might want to check out the article Terri wrote about the novel (on Endicott Redux) and my website Church of the Old Mermaids/Old Mermaids Journal.

    Take care,


  2. oh that was fun… and i loved the line about who will boast about getting laid… to be a mermaid and only have to deal with men for prerequisite amounts of time,, and perform “necessary” functions… what a glorious life that must be,,,,

  3. Hi Kim – I’ve read Terri’s article, so I know it’s a novel title – but it was as a phrase that I was intrigued by it! Will definitely check out your website in more detail when I can… busy, busy!

    Paisley – glad you enjoyed it. There are many ways of living a single life!

  4. I like the photo and esp your poem and your use of alliteration.: ….shore, seductive, salt-scaled and single for example.

  5. I just think it’s beautiful.

  6. Pingback: new arrivals, new arrangements « the storybook collaborative

  7. I thought you might like this book about mermaids that I found.

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