The Lure of the Sea

She has been spotted many times
Heading towards the reefs
Many have sat on the beach
Watching her and waiting for her return
But the woman only visits at low tide
Always going in the water
Until the mist swallows her
Nobody has ever seen her return
They say there is a curse on her
That she can only be happy
Under water with the fish and crays
They say she goes to hide
In some dark recess in the ocean
Like the shy crustaceans
They say divers have unexpectedly
Come across her and gone narcotic
Some have even seen her turn into
A parrot fish of the brightest green.

A bit about the poem

This poem was inspired by the diving experiences I had while living and diving in Australia.

The mermaid myth.

Do mermaids exist? Whether they do or not, the question remains : why are we so fascinated by a woman with a fish tail? What about male mermaids (they are called merman). Not much is mentioned about the male version.

In Singapore they have the merlion, a lion with a fish tail and it is the symbol of Singapore.

Are mermaids cursed if they ever existed? Can they be happy outside water?

This poem was about taking a familiar setting to me ( a diving experience) and turning it into something mysterious and magical. A good dive does not need a mermaid to make it magical. But when writing poems I find it is better if there are several layers in one poem.

Although poems can be very short, they can still tell a very long story.

It is actually real fun explaining the poems because you have to delve really deep into their meanings.

This woman is never seen returning. She obviously returns but maybe she does not want to be seen returning. Or maybe she is washed back to the shore during the night.

There is a curse on her…that she can only be happy…! Is it a curse if she can still be happy somewhere? Some people are not happy wherever they are.

When I was diving in Australia my favourite experience was finding a rock lobster who would come out from behind a rock and move its feelers gently along my fingers. There was a connection there. They knew I would not hurt them. Yet whenever other divers turned up with nets, they would disappear so quickly. They can sense if you will harm them. This woman/mermaid is representing the need for these happy sea creatures to beware of us humans. We are the ulitmate destroyer of everything that we discover.

Diving is such a mind blowing experience that you forget totally that you cannot survive like the sea creatures and there are dangers. Once, instead of diving to 20 metres depth we found ourselves at 30 metres and I felt so happy. Everything was great and I looked up and saw other divers floating above me and the sun rays reaching me through the water.

When we got out and I said, “That was my best dive…everything was great” and my instructor informed me that I had an overdose of nitrogen in my blood due to the depth and I was narked! So when a diver gets narked or goes narcotic, he can easily see a woman turn into a parrot fish.

Author: Chaya Parme

Chemical Engineer Author

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