Folktober Challenge, Day 13

Image, 1.13, Selkies, Faroese Stamp


She shed her skin,
to walk on sand.

He took the skin,
then took her hand.

She bore him children,
but could not withstand

the call of sea,
the waves’ command

to find her skin,
to leave the land—

and then one night, she found it,
my mother walked across the strand,

abandoned us and father’s plans
for true heart’s call, left cold northland.

Now in every seal we see her,
her eyes set in sleek selkie fur

My heart seemed without a beat
like a frozen drum

yet now it stirs and feels complete
as the sea-wind whispers, “come.”

Paul Brookes is hosting a month-long ekphrastic challenge using folklore images to celebrate the launch of his new poetry collection, “As Folktaleteller.” You can see the images here and also read the other responses.

Ekphrastic Challenge: Day Twenty-One

For Day Twenty-one of Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge, I’ve responded to two images below.

The Selkie and her Daughter

In my dreams, you’ve returned to me,
from flowered bands and gold-sun sand
to swim beneath the cold blue sea–
daughter mine, away from land

we’ll swim beneath the seaweed blooms
and leap with spindrift from the waves–
we’ll slither into sea-ship tombs
and flitter through the Fish Queen’s caves.

Gone now, the peacock’s feathered plumes,
gone butterflies, and human arms
enclosed in sleeves inside of rooms–
farewell to cities, towns, and farms.

In sea-light, there’d be no regret–
the tide has always pulled you
from the world above, you’d soon forget
the birds and trees in deep-sea blue.

I wake to the reality—
I’m in water, you’re on land,
and I no longer have a hand
with which to hold yours. But I long to see

your face, your smile, your bony knees
And what will happen, what will be?
I’ll send you songs in an ocean breeze—
hear them and remember me.

I’m sharing this with Open Link Night on dVerse.

Constant the Sea


Guillermo Gómez Gil, “Moonrise,” [Public Domain], Wikipedia Commons

And did you see my lover fly

as sun set and the stars did rise?

Bound to go, but I wondered why.

Hands clasped fast, we said our good-byes,

now the leaves rustle, the moon sighs.


The sea whispers, and he would go,

his family calls from ocean deep.

Before the cold of winter snow,

he would go, his promise to keep.

Sleep, my love, he said, dream and sleep.


Summer leaves wither and then fall

but my belly swells, what will be?

I wonder if he’ll hear my call

return again for child or me?

Tides ebb and flow, constant, the sea.


And did you hear a love-felt cry

as sun set and the stars did rise?

Hearts torn twixt, under midnight sky?

Hands clasped fast, we said our good-byes,

now the leaves rustle, the moon sighs.


Grace has asked us to write a Quintain for dVerse. Mine uses the English rhyme scheme, but perhaps it is a cross between English and Spanish. I was in the mood for a ballad– it was only after I started writing it, that I realized it was about a Selkie.









The Selkie’s Lament: Haibun

In the wild water I thrive. I remember this. When I rise from the cold deep, the waves rock and cradle me. At dawn, the grey northern sea turns to fire. When darkness comes, the moon silvers the water, and I watch the stars twinkle and drift across the sky. I didn’t know how happy I was then, watching the days pass in light and shadow across the ocean. My brothers, sisters, and I danced our sleek bodies amidst the waves, laughing and singing our ancient songs. But I had glimpsed you from afar, and I was curious. When the summer sun lingered long and languid, I swam to the shallows, then walked ashore, my human form dripping dulse and smelling of brine. Love, I thought, but possession I became. And now— my true skin gone–I am marooned here, grounded, the sea forsworn forever more. And yet still it calls to me—come! Oh, my brothers and sisters–do you know my sadness? Do you hear my cries?


Tears under moon-glow

fall, drift, mingle with the sea

carried with the tides


Guillermo_Gómez_Gil_-_Salida_de_la_luna (1)

Guillermo Gómez Gil, “Moonrise,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


This is a haibun for Colleen Chesebro’s  Weekly Poetry Challenge. The prompt words were happy and sad. Sometimes my inner romantic pours out in a brain-tide. 😉