seven suffering years on land
two spheres holding babes

hidden in a trunk
her Selkie fur pelt holds

the secret to her past
the key to her return

to her Selkie family and

and to her loss and shame



A Villanelle based on Selkie Myth which is inspiration for my Mermyth novella

Selkie Wife

Trading pelt for so much pain
A Selkie bride in masquerade
Mortality the only gain

Searching for a mate in vain
Playing a part in a charade
Trading pelt for so much pain

In love with him, no need to feign
Sacrificing all for a last crusade
Mortality the only gain

Ending up, just staying tame
Waiting for the next tirade
Trading pelt for so much pain

Tears for seven years, like rain
Husband, children, a family made
Mortality the only gain

Trapped in a hide and seek game
The missing coat of Selkie maid
Trading pelt for so much pain
Mortality the only gain

*Based on the Irish Selkie myth in which seal women who have ventured on land to explore have their fur pelts stolen by landsmen who want them for wives. On land they are torn between their new mortal family life and the sea spirit life, destined to cry seven tears for seven years until they can find their pelt, which their husband has hidden, and return to the sea, tragically and painfully leaving her babies behind as well.

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About Melpomuse

Reader, Writer, Poet, Teacher
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  1. Ernur says:

    Looking forward to reading this one, maybe before it’s even published ;)

  2. Rob Kennedy says:

    Excellent poems, which hold great depth and mystery. Both have a soft distant feel about them, something untouchable about both. Love the images also.

  3. Melpomene says:

    Thanks Rob! That’s exactly the feeling I want to get across. It’s a terribly tragic myth of the struggle between two worlds/identities/lives. The novella I’m working on keeps shifting from one mermyth to another. May end up being a mash up of several. May end up a verse novel as poetry is my preferred method of expression. I’m enjoying experimenting and going with the flow. No pun intended. :) Yes, the art is beautiful isn’t it?

  4. Meg McNulty says:

    Both are haunting, but I particularly love the first poem. The first two lines

    seven suffering years on land
    two spheres holding babes

    captures so much about how torn a selkie woman must be. There is no right place to be. Very beautiful.

  5. Melpomene says:

    Thank you Meg for taking the time to appreciate the myth, the ,magic, the tragedy.

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