Mermaid & Sam
by Walter De La Mare
This mermaid poem and the next are by Walter De La Mare, poet and author. He wrote poems for children and adults and horror and ghost stories. H.P. Lovecraft praises his stories "Out Of The Deep" and "Seaton's Aunt" as well as his novel The Return. But there's nothing to fear in these lovely poems.
Leagues, leagues over the sea I sail
Couched on a wallowing dolphin's tail.
The sky is on fire, the waves a-sheen,
I dabble my foot in the billows green.
In a sea-weed hat on the rocks I sit,
where tern and sea-mew glide and beat,
and where dark shadows the cormorants meet.
In caverns cool when the tide's a wash,
I sound my conch to the watery splash.
From out their grottos at evenings beam,
the mermaids swim with locks agleam.
When Sam goes back in memory,
It is to where the sea
Breaks on the shingle, emerald-green,
In white foam, endlessly;
He says--with small brown eyes on mine-
"I used to keep awake,
And lean from my window in the moon,
Watching those billows break.
And half a million tiny hands,
And eyes, like sparks of frost,
Would dance and come tumbling into the moon,
On every breaker tossed.
And all across from star to star,
I've seen the watery sea,
With not a single ship in sight,
Just ocean there, and me;
And heard my father snore. And once,
As sure as I'm alive,
Out of those wallowing, moon-flecked waves
I saw a mermaid dive;
Head and shoulders above the wave,
Plain as I now see you,
Combing her hair, now back, now front,
Her two eyes peeping through;
Calling me, (Sam!--quietlike--(Sam! . .
But me . . . I never went,
Making believe I kind of thought
'Twas some one else she meant ...
Wonderful lovely there she sat,
Singing the night away,
All in the solitudinous sea
Of that there lonely bay.
"P'raps," and he'd smooth his hairless mouth,
"P'raps, if 'twere now, my son,
P'raps, if I heard a voice say, 'Sam!'...
Morning would find me gone."
"Sam" is one of my favorite mermaid poems.
Click here to read
another mermaid poem.