Seal Woman’s Lament

Lulled by a sweet thrum

of waves on shelled strand,

tide running the shimmery reef,

moon full and cornsilk bright,

a shore wanderer on midsummer eve

unearths cockles and lugworms,

plentiful in the sandy bay.


Near waterline where streamlet

meets surf and the sheen sand

connects boulders on the point,

he detects a cry, a haunting keen

emerging from the sea

a groan like tortured slip hinges:

She Who Weeps.


He finds her, his selkie wife,

spared to the land,

cradled in rockweed

eyes desolate and blurred brown

crooning like a daft thrush

pining for her stolen skin:

Away to me, away to me.


He knows her despair

as he knows the sea,

her breath and blood still part of it,

skimming the swells like wind

spilling into her song, his love for her

a groping turmoil,

powerless to free her.


[Reprinted from HeartLodge Journal. 2 nd place poem, Montgomery Branch, National League of American Pen Women Contest, 2005. 3 rd place poem, Poet’s Choice, Missouri State Poetry Contest, Winter 2005. Highly Commended poem, Tom Howard Poetry Contest, 2005.]