The Mermaid's Comb

Wrecked upon a stormy sea,

grasping for a white foam rock,

a sailor prays for clemency,

beneath the gulls that swoop and mock

A singing voice now fills the air

without a sight of ship or sail

a mystic girl:  her angled stare

her golden hair, her fish's tail

She brought him bream and tender sole

bounties from her ocean home

a rainbow gift, a coral bowl

the sweetest ocean honeycomb!

The sun split through a clearing sky

her singing voice filled the air

she held a studded mirror high

and combed her wispy windblown hair

A fulsome sail soon reappears

the rescue boat to take him home

the frightened girl now disappears

he steals her pearly mermaid comb

For half a year she swims the sea

Through calm of day and night of storm

To regain her ancient property

She'll change to footed human form

She knocks upon his wooden door

The mermaid feels the comb is near

Has he seen this girl before?

A warming smile, is she sincere?

Their child is now the age of ten

A mermaid's earthy family,

She longs to hold the comb again

And solve this land locked mystery

Hidden in a wooden chest

Locked with a shadowed key

Near a salty tasting breast

She sleeps with equanimity

A rocking day, a wall fell down

The chest splits open to the floor

She runs the street of an earthquake town

The comb is hers for evermore

No more a pair of five toed feet

Again an aqua fish's tail

Her mermaid friends again to meet

And greet the tern and basking whale

Her daughter swims yet every day

The father does not understand

A joyful child in every way

Who swims above the rippled sand

Every dawn the child is free

Amidst the green and rolling water

No sense of loss or grief has she

Embraced each day, a loving daughter

A longer swim to a distant rock

And taste the ocean honeycomb

To talk of distant Antioch

Then through her hair, a mermaid's comb.

Poems and photos by Peter Woodard

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