Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mermaid

 
The Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks

All these men were there inside
when she entered, utterly naked.
They had been drinking, and began to spit at her.
Recently come from the river, she understood nothing.
She was a mermaid who had lost her way.
The taunts flowed over her glistening flesh.
Obscenities drenched her golden breasts.
A stranger to tears, she did not weep.
A stranger to clothes, she did not dress.
They pocked her with cigarette ends and with burnt corks,
and rolled on the tavern floor in raucous laughter.
She did not speak, since speech was unknown to her.
Her eyes were the color of faraway love,
her arms were matching topazes.
Her lips moved soundlessly in the coral light,
and ultimately, she left by that door.
Hardly had she entered the river than she was cleansed,
gleaming once more like a white stone in the rain;
and without a backward look, she swam once more,
swam toward nothingness, swam to her dying.

~~ Pablo Neruda


4 comments:

  1. Sad. More sad for the men than for the mermaid. She knew who she was, but they had no idea who or what was in their midst. Sad that they missed it. Sad that they were blind. But that's also just.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They didn't even know what they did.

      Delete
  2. I've always loved mermaids, Pisces Girl that I am. ;-)
    I wish it hadn't ended in her dying. I liked that she was impenetrable. Maybe I'll remember the poem without the last line.

    Or maybe just this part:
    "She did not speak, since speech was unknown to her.
    Her eyes were the color of faraway love,
    her arms were matching topazes.
    Her lips moved soundlessly in the coral light,
    and ultimately, she left by that door.
    Hardly had she entered the river than she was cleansed,
    gleaming once more like a white stone in the rain;
    and without a backward look, she swam once more"

    So would that be wrong to chop up his work?

    OTOH, swimming to her dying doesn't necessarily mean it's immediate. It probably is the intent of the writer, but there's wiggle room there.

    And if I had a 3rd hand, I'd say just ignore me and my preoccupation with Death.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't like that she died either. I don't even understand why she had to. I would rather have been left with an open ending. I'm sure people who are better at deconstructing poetry than I am could tell me why this ending was the inevitable ending.

      I'm going with her dying didn't necessarily happen immediately. We all die.

      Delete