mermaids (bad tv)

Those singing mermaids–
I want to tell him I have heard them too,
weaving whispers for dolphin ears
where we can’t live, but still crave
a cradle of water and salt, not unlike
where we first learned the mechanics of  breath.

Their sea-floor canticle was never spun
for sailors or anything over the waves,
secret and driving dreams
that sometimes I am weightless in,
openarmed in flight similar to swimming.

I always wake before I remember how
to land, gravity not the pull in those dreams,
but fear.  The feel is as familiar
as sunlight; memory laid down
reptilian, where instinct sleeps:

the things babies know
but have no words to tell us.

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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45 Responses to mermaids (bad tv)

  1. annotating60 says:

    Susan, I am impressed. It needs tightening and a bit more focus but it is beautifully crafted.>KB

  2. stunning – I don’t agree with annotating60 at all

    • Thank you, Paul. That is because I just took out the loose bits about 20 minutes ago. Want to see what I trimmed?

    • Here’s the original. I got caught up in my own joke and lost the poem in the second stanza.

      Those singing mermaids–
      I want to tell him I have heard them too,
      weaving songs for dolphin ears
      where we can’t live, but still crave
      a cradle of water and salt, not unlike
      where we first learned breath;
      the mechanics of it and not necessity.

      The sirens I heard were deep on an ocean floor, recorded
      for one of those aliens-are-real-mermaids-too-
      and-sharks-are-misunderstood-when they eat you specials;
      the kind that make my eyes roll and still shiver
      that five-year-old what if, when no-one’s looking

      how that song weaves through
      dreams sometimes I am weightless in,
      and can push off from earth
      with one toe, openarmed
      in flight similar to swimming.

      I always wake up before I remember how
      to get back down, gravity not the weight
      in those dreams, but fear. The feel is as familiar
      as sunlight on skin, a reptilian memory laid down
      where instinct sleeps:

      the things babies know
      but have no words to tell us.

  3. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    This too stings with its beauty, Susan.

    • Jeremy, thank you. I really can’t believe what inspired it was what the Icelandic Geologic Survey heard on the ocean floor somewhere off Greenland. Mermaids or no (and it’s no for me until Ariel speaks to me personally, because I am arrogant that way), the sound was GORGEOUS. Junk TV, I salute thee!

  4. nelle says:

    Such an intricate exploration… ethereal in subject, earthy in its connection to the human experience.

  5. As you know my comments are ‘lame’ at best and as I have said sometimes what you write confuses the hell out of me and I am lost in the meaning you are giving. I read some of your works to Mr. S who at times has agreed with me – this morning on the way to work I read this to him – I didn’t say who wrote it and he said he really enjoyed it (as did I) …so I’m jus’ sayin’ 🙂 xx

  6. Susan this is just beautiful… I wan’t to be a merman and swim with dolphins, I like the link back to the babies, that have the knowledge they can’t tell us… Great one.

    • Bjorn, thank you so much! I always feel like those clear eyes hold more than they could possibly tell us, even if there were words for them then 😉

  7. markwindham says:

    so, you had the discovery channel on last night too? 🙂 it is amazing where inspiration can be found. Well done.

  8. Gorgeous writing Susan!

  9. aprille says:

    Discovery Channel is something I see listed in the TV guide, but it isn’t ‘Freeview’ over here.
    Still, I can see the effect this had on you and it is mesmerizing. Amniotic fluid like with memories too vague to be voiced by the time there is a voice.

    • Oh, Aprille–I love how you phrased that. That’s it, exactly. Most of the stuff on the TV that I pay for (including this) I wonder why I pay for it…

  10. Mary says:

    I would love it if babies could verbalize all that they know. I do think we would be surprised at their wisdom…which they eventually lose when they can speak.

  11. brian miller says:

    hey we take inspiration where we can get it eh? smiles…that last bit is my fav…the things babies know but cant yet verbalize…i wonder at how much we lose you know before we can…

    • Hahaha–Brian, it is worth sitting through the whole thing just to hear those sounds at the end, whatever made them, they are eerily beautiful.

      I agree with you on that last bit. I think we are born knowing a lot we soon forget.

  12. nico says:

    Marvelous–I think all of us know things that we have no language to express. Here, though, you express it very well! Very nice.

  13. lovely lovely job!!! very well stated! Lyrical in fact 🙂

  14. Grace says:

    I actually haven’t been watching tv lately, smiles ~ Like those ending lines Susan ~

  15. rosross says:

    Profound. I think it stands well on its own feet.

  16. Tony Maude says:

    The last lines are the stars of the show for me; babies know how simple life can be and how little we really need – as they grow we teach them to forget.

  17. Jeff says:

    There is a certain airiness about it, a feather adrift in a breeze . . . writ in language like this, peace inherent.
    It is the poet’s eye takes instinctive notice, inspiration comes and there is a piece as gentle as this.
    I like your poem. I like it a lot.
    Cheers!

  18. I sense two distinct worlds engaging with each other – one full of ocean’s fantasies and the other deep and endless dreams.

  19. I like the original posted in the comments a lot. This presented itself, very nice indeed:

    The feel is as familiar
    as sunlight; memory laid down
    reptilian, where instinct sleeps:

    Nice write, glad I stopped by.

  20. scotthastiepoet says:

    I enjoyed both the beauty and the depth of this piece. In particular: “the things babies know
    but have no words to tell us…” got to me big time… Great stuff, Susan… Thanks Scott http://www.scotthastie.com

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