Wednesday, November 21, 2012

a mermaid's tears (parts six & seven)...

"I have had a tremor of bliss,
a wink of heaven, a whisper."
(T.S. Eliot)
I remember, in dream, no, not dream, a memory...
I remember carrying her, shivering,
both of us wet with tears, gently placing her back in the water. Kissing her, holding her.
I take from around my neck my silver jigsaw piece,
and I place it in her hand.
"Forgive me." There is so much hurt, so much sadness
in her eyes. * We hold each other so, so tight.
A wave crashes around us, startling me. I let her go for a
moment. The water subsides. She is gone...
She is gone.
I awake with a start, in the thick of night.
I sense that I am no longer asleep,
that I am no longer in dream.
My ears are filled with the sounds of the storm;
Lightning fills the room, thunder rattles the walls!!
A terrible wind is crying, and rain and seawater lashes
at the cottage's fragile window pane.
I see waves breaking outside. The glass threatens to break. Another flash of lightning,
and I notice water rushing under my door, quickly
filling the room.
My life,
all my worldly possessions
(my books, my music, my clothes & suitcase collection)
are all floating in water...
Another flash of silver light. I can feel the thunder
move through my very soul. The water continues to rise,
all that I own swirls around my bed.
I feel a sense of panic rise in me...
Yet just as suddenly, I am filled with a sense of calm.
The water is seeping into my bed now, rising higher, ever higher. It is surrounding me...
I feel it, sense it in the darkness,  as it
begins to wet my lower body, my stomach, my chest...
I feel it slowly move upwards, coating my shoulders, my neck.
In the cold and wet and dark, I no longer feel my legs.
Another flash of lightning,
and in the same instant the door crashes open!!
All at once now, bluegreen water is everywhere.
My head is underwater! I taste it in my mouth and nose.
Looking up through the glimmer, through the window
I glimpse a shimmer of silver reflected.
I reach upwards, and the glass pane gives,
showering the room in water & glass...
In fear, and (equally) a last gesture of defiance,
I throw back my blankets.
Water fills my eyes now, but I can see so, so clearly.
More clearly than I have ever seen in my life.
Looking down, where my legs once were,
I can see the tail of a fish!
I smile widely,
open my mouth
and take in water...
I breathe water.
Where once there was only skin, I can now feel
tiny gills all over my entire body,
opening and closing in the cool water...
I thrash my tail, launch myself from the bed,
swirl upwards, the water gliding off my body
makes me feel so alive.
I swim for the open door, my entire world is now
a world made of water. Books and suitcases bob about me.
I shake off forty four years of
earthly desires and cares...
Now I see!
I see what she was trying to show me!!
Why I felt so uncomfortable walking on the beach...
Who I really was all this time.
This is why she had made me feel so safe,
like I had found my way home...
I was the same as her!!!
I had been dreaming all this time. And in this dream,
I thought I was a man...
But I was not. How could I have been so foolish?
Now I finally see why I never felt comfortable with legs.
I thrash my tail again, leave the cabin behind me.
All about me is open sea.
I am going home...
But in the dark, swirling waters
I am unsure which way to swim...
In the darkness, I feel a familiar hand grab tightly
onto my own, gently guide me.
At that very moment, I feel her soul in my hand.
And at long, long last, I am going home!!
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2012.
- For E. x
* This fable was inspired by your incredible mermaid painting...


Sunday, November 18, 2012

a mermaid's tears (part five)

And home,
it isn't a place.
It is people.
The people
we choose to gather
close around us.
And you,
you're the closest I have
got to coming home,
in my new home.
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2012.
(to be continued)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

a mermaid's tears (part four)...

"It was not, she knew, that night had come, but something as dark as night had come. No, worse than that. It had not come but it had sent that shiver through the sea to say that it was coming. What was it?"
(Linda Goodman)

Another day has passed, with no sea.
As the sun sets, I sit and see for miles ahead of me the vast, waterless desert/shore...
In the disappearing sunlight, I see the gentle glitter
of thousands of pearls in dry rockpools.
They lie, patient, in wait for the crab to come
and collect them. A gift waiting, in
exchange for a solitary tear.
In the darkening sky above me now, the stars
too take on a similar pearl-like sparkle & glow.
With my fingertips, I can just make out & trace
the constellations of Cancer & Scorpio.
And I find Orion chasing Sirius...
This is the only way I know
I am still dreaming.
For, in my dreams
I have been blessed with perfect vision,
and I can still see the stars.
As the night sky turns a deep, inky blue,
I see a beautiful, full (Taurus) moon rise overhead.
It is sparkling and yellow, like a giant sky pearl.
It reminds me of another full moon
that once chased me in a train
(for an entire twelve hours)
from one city to another...
But that is another story.
Out of habit
(and what is it, after all,
that we do most things for?)
and perhaps years of hard-earnt expectation,
I glance down to see the moon's reflection...
But there is (of course) no water,
no tide to offer a mirror to lunar's face.
I am made up inside of so much water.
Somewhere deep inside me now,
as some sort of cruel compensaton,
I can feel my inner tides
pull and twist and churn.
I shiver,
as night threatens to consume me.

There is a sudden flash of lightning
on the horizon. Then another, much closer.
It lights up the barren beach.
Thunder, heavy and close, fills my ears,
rocks the very sand beneath me...
It makes me even more unsteady (than usual)
on these land-locked legs.
Rain begins to fall, light at first, then much heavier.
It catching me off guard, soaking me through.
Another flash of lightning. Another roll of thunder.
I can feel it in my very core and soul.
The moon & stars have gone.
I quickly run for the sanctuary & shelter
of my cabin...
(to be continued)
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2012.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

a mermaid's tears (part three)...

"Lying here on these sheets of blue, I am too /
longing for you.
We are one & the same, but from different worlds:
One from land, one from water /
the fisherman's son & a mermaid's daughter.
Beautiful one, I wish you could have longer stayed /
I am missing (so much)
the art & the love & the world that we made."
(c) Brent Harpur, 22/9/2012.
In a dream (within a dream, now) I am with the crab. It sits on my chest, in the dark. Its shell is slightly aglow from the fire burning in the corner of the cabin.
"Why did the sea leave?” I ask, sensing deep inside I already know the answer.
"It felt shame. For all its ceaseless years of hissing and roaring and wearing things down. It needed to go away for a while; learn again to be calmer, stiller. More gentle, more soothing again.”
"And why do you tirelessly, all on your own, collect the tiny gifts that the sea has left behind, replacing them
with your tears?''
The crab slowly, thoughtfully replied:
“We all need a purpose.
And love is all we really have.
Without love, we are all alone. Adrift, alive,
capable of wondrous and beautiful things.
But, ultimately, alone.
If my tears can have a purpose,
then they have been worthwhile.
We can all do our part,
and slowly bring back the sea...”
I awake from my dream. My dream within a dream. I am still alone in this tiny bed. My cheeks and face are wet, my pillow stained & sodden with useless tears.
I rise, and quickly dress, a dull aching in my legs. It is the middle of the night. Apart from the gentle
crackling of the fire, all is very quiet.
I gently remove the blue pillowcase from my pillow,
take it outside. In the dim light, I find an empty rockpool. Gently, deliberately, I squeeze the tears from the pillowcase into it.
After I have done, I see the tiny shimmer of a pearl.
I reach into the tear-water, and take it delicately in-between my thumb & finger. It is cool yet warm against my fingertips. 
I slip it carefully into my shirt pocket. The moon, not quite full, watches me silently, basking me in its reassuring glow.
In its delicate light I can just make out the crab,
further up the beach, slowly making its way from rock pool to rock pool.
Tirelessly, patiently fulfilling its purpose,
doing its tiny part.
As I slowly return to the cabin, I wonder...
If my tears, and the wonderful, sensitive tears of the crab, are enough?
Maybe (just maybe) if we are patient enough,
these combined tears will eventually encourage the sea to return??
(to be continued)
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2012.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

a mermaid's tears (part two)...

"I am made up of so much water:
And like the sea, I sometimes hiss & roar /
Please believe me,
I've come such a long way to tell you...
I never want to hurt you anymore.”
© Brent M Harpur, 2012.


I awake again in my tiny bed,
but I think I am still in dream.
It has been another night & day without
the sea's gentle lullaby outside my cabin window.
How many nights & days has it been now?
I am unsure.

Today, I go for a walk along the shore;
It has become a never-ending shore, for there is no water.
I see skeletons of ships long since lost,
now exposed & landlocked for all to see.
I have discovered a series of rock pools.
But without water,
this word no longer seems to fit.
In the shadows,
in the tiny holes in the rocks,
I see movement.

Crouching low, I see a large, solitary crab
gracefully making its way (sideways) across the rocks.
I am excited,
because it is the first life I have seen on the shore
since the sea disappeared.
The lone gull I had seen
didn't seem to hang around,
when it realised there was no fresh fish on offer.

Intrigued, I hold my breath
and quietly watch the crab.
Every once in a while, it disappears into a hole;
and when it re-emerges, it has something tiny
grasped firmly in its claw.
Whatever it is, it seems to catch the sunlight,
sparkling briefly, before the crab hides it from my view.

I decide to approach the crab,
and watch more closely what it is doing.
The crab looks up at me with its stalk-like eyes,
unafraid of my intense stare.
It continues about its work, ignoring me.

Now I am closer, I notice
that someone (or something) has
carefully, deliberately tied to the crab's upper shell
(by a single blue ribbon) a paua shell.
It is turned upright like a tiny bowl,
its insides glistening in the early morning sunlight;
it gives off an almost electric shimmer
of blue, green & purple.

Looking again, I notice inside the tiny bowl...

A tiny collection of pearls.

The crab slowly, patiently
moves to another hole. I watch incredibly
as it reaches inside and pulls from its depths
another tiny pearl.
Delicately, with its claw, the crab carefully
reaches up and drops it into the tiny paua bowl.
Afterwards, the crab leans in closely to the rock hole,
and its tiny stalked eyes curl slightly downwards...

What I see next (both) surprises and delights me!!
Tiny tears drop from the crab's eyes,
filling the rock hole slowly to its brim.
Until finally, it becomes (once more) a rock pool.
The crab begins to slowly move on.
I am mesmerised (and more than a little in awe).
I too am moved to tears
by its silent, solitary vigil.

Night is beginning to fall.
My legs ache from kneeling
and watching the crab at work.
I rub them to try and get the feeling back,
for my long walk home to the cabin.
Along the way,
I collect some driftwood to light a fire...
(to be continued)
(C) Brent M Harpur, 2012.

a mermaid's tears (a fable) part one...

"The only thing I know for certain now
& have learnt in forty-four long short years /
Is that sea water is only salty
from all these mermaid tears."
(Brent Harpur, 11/11/2012.)
I awake one morning, but I have not awoke.
For I am still in dream. But I thought I was awake.
In my dream, I sit up in my tiny bed, alone. I reach for familiar, cool shiver & stain of silver on skin. But it is not there.
My fingers linger for a moment on hairless chest,
my quiet heart stirs underneath fingertips.
For as long as I can remember now,
her smile has been the last thing I think of before
I fall into dream. And the first thing I think of
when I awake. This morning, there is something
I hear that worries me, more than a little...
It is not what I can hear,
but an absence of what I usually hear.
I cannot hear the familiar hiss and roar of the sea
outside my cabin.
Rubbing sleep from my eyes, pulling clothes on aching bones,
I Ieave my cabin to visit the sea.
But the sea has gone.
The rocks, shore, sand, (& now somewhat redundant looking) man-made jetty and lighthouse are all still there.
But for as far as my eyes can see,
all of the blue green water, all of the sea,
has disappeared.
The fish have gone too, and the birds.
All except a lonely gull, its loud cry echoing across a beach that now resembles more of a desert.
Here & there, in the sand
are a few stranded starfish, and the odd blanket of seaweed.
And an occasional deserted rowboat and empty net.
All is quiet.
I sit down in the warm sand, feel the sun's warm caress on my forehead. I close my eyes, just for a moment...
I recall the mermaid's first kiss.
I remember her taking me by sweet surprise!
Breathing life into me!!
I remember not wanting to break contact,
and as she tried to gently move away,
my following her;
our lips staying together,
our mouths & tongues becoming one,
like water.
I felt her kiss in my
entire body & being.
I could not feel my legs. I leant into her,
so as not to fall over.
I felt our souls touching.
I open my eyes,
but the sea has still gone.
(to be continued...)
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2012.