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.