A Story from the Shoreline

I was walking on the beach one night when I saw a selkie bathing 

She lay upon the rocks

bright though the moon was waning 

I’d been taught to fear the human seal and so I turned and ran

Along the shore and up the path till I stood on the headland

And there I looked down at the beach but nothing I did see 

Nothing but the wind and waves – no sign of that fair selkie

Now I am the kind of man who waits and never goes out in storms 

But one day I was caught up in one with no hope of staying warm 

I struggled and I battled 

against the tide and waves 

And nothing was there to help me— except a deep and seal-y gaze 

When I fell she pulled me from the current and dragged me to her home 

Never once did I dream I’d see such a cave of rock and bone 

When she drew me down beneath the waves, I thought that I would drown

But when I looked down at my feet, blubber did abound

There was no toes but only fins, no knees, but only seal

Instead of dying I’d become the very thing I feared 

It was a lesson this new life 

Though one that was hard won

I’d payed the price for life at sea

And been changed in a great storm

We ate of fish and ate of crabs and all manner of tasty things

And I found that I was faster, worked less, and I could sing

We sang of the moon and sang of the sky and sang of lives who’d drown’d 

We sang of loss and we sang of hope and the sea that did abound

I learned the currents, learned the tides 

Better than I’d known them before

I never again got in a boat, but I must say I liked it more

This life was sweet, I came to find

 Swimming with the tide

I rescued sailors and ate their fish

and found that what made me run in fear and hide

was truly greed for what I could not have,

and for what I did not need. 

I learned that dying is just living a life that’s changed,

And for those of you who walk on land, of my words you must take heed—

For if you wish a dish of fish to grace your wooden table 

then you must give thanks and share with us, even when you feel unable.

Photo by Daniel Torobekov

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