Editor’s Note: In response to last week’s feature, Saturday Poetry Series favorites Erin Lyndal Martin and Elana Bell introduced me to two more fabulous mermaid poems. These poems have been swimming through my mind all week, and are too fantastic not to share. Get a taste here, then follow the links below to read each of these stunning poems in full.
from FABLE OF THE MERMAID AND THE DRUNKS
By Pablo Neruda, Translated by Paul Weinfield
But having come from the river, she understood nothing
She was a mermaid and was lost
Their insults flowed down her perfect, smooth flesh
Their filth enveloped her golden breasts
But not knowing tears, she did not weep tears
(Read the complete poem as translated by Paul Weinfield.)
from LATE SUNDAY MORNING
By Elana Bell
the puckered lips, taste
ocean breath and remember
myself, slippery and long
under sun-slanted depths, swaying
to the whine of boats overhead.
I did not need you then, my scales
shining in their pristine sea.
(Read the entire poem in Winter Tangerine.)
Want to read more?
“Sunday Morning” in Winter Tangerine
“Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks” as translated by Paul Weinfeild
“Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks” in English and Spanish via Susan’s Place
“Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks” on youtube, as read by Ethan Hawke
Today’s selections appear via Fair Use.
3 thoughts on “SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: TWO MERMAID POEMS”
Oh, Neruda! Wow!! And mermaids ~~ this poem tops the concept of Women are from Venus/Men from Mars, or as Leonard Schlain postulates, a species split into two subspecies 100,000 years ago! But then, here’s Neruda writing a bilingual piece of poetry! I can feel the river, it’s where I long to be.
So glad you posted these! I like the Neruda translations that say “She was a mermaid who had lost her way” rather than “She was a mermaid who was lost.” I am writing a series of connected short stories about a mermaid, so I reach often for these poems. And for Edvard Munch’s paintings of mermaids and of women with long mermaid hair.
Thanks to you, Erin! There is so much awesomeness going on in your comment!