David Lewis Paget
Merman - Poem by David Lewis Paget
The wind crept in from the southern gulf
And it rustled through the trees,
As clouds flew over, covered the sun
In some vast conspiracy,
The light was dimmed to an eerie gloom
And the wind began to squall,
Whipping the crests of the breakers up
The length of the Great Seawall.
A single cottage sat at the shore
And it showed a feeble light,
Where Mary D'Arcy sat in the gloom
To peer, in a sudden fright,
For a man rose slowly, out of the sea
His body covered in scales,
And roared like a monster from the deep
Cast up by the winter gales.
‘Come out! Come out! Wherever you are! '
He roared, as he reached the shore,
His eyes were dead in a fish's head
‘Come out for your just reward! '
But Mary's face in the window, lit
By a single candle there,
Was pale and white in her sudden fright,
She could only sit and stare!
The wind began to shriek at the eaves,
The waves crashed over the wall,
And sudden debris littered the beach
That had been so clean before,
Then lightning arced from the surly cloud
And thunder rattled the pane,
Of the glass in the cottage window there,
And then it began to rain.
The size of the rolling breakers grew
And crashed, white foam in their fall,
They vomited up an oil slick
That stuck like glue to the wall,
‘You think you can dump your slime on me, '
He roared, and stood in the foam,
‘You think that you have a bottomless sea,
That bottomless sea's my home! '
The water lapped at the cottage door,
The debris swirled at the rip,
‘I'm giving you back your junk for free
And the wrecks of your sunken ships!
See how you cope with the slime and filth
That you dump on the ocean floor…'
But Mary D'Arcy tightened her lips
And opened the cottage door!
‘Why do you spend your rage on me
When the world out there's to blame?
I'm just a single, innocent soul
On this beach you thought to claim! '
‘For every time you empty your sink
With grease, and bleach, your drain
Runs out to the pristine water's edge -
You're one, but you're all the same! '
The oil poured in, and over the floor,
Dead birds were caught in the slime,
And fish that gasped at their final breath
Lay strewn at the shore's define,
The Merman turned, walked back to the sea
‘I'm putting you to the test!
You've seen what your future shores may be,
You'd better go tell the rest! '
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