As I went down to the coast of Iona and as I looked out upon the turquoise sea, there on the rocks shining in the clear light was the shimmering form of the mermaid queen. Her tail was aglow with a thousand rainbows and her silver hair with shells and jewels adorned. She looked at me with eyes of emeralds and said I am the spirit of the ocean. I am the mother of mystery. And you as all humans are born of my children for as you know all life comes from the sea. Remember my child that the sea is within you and within you the knowledge of all that life can be. For I am at the heart of your divine destiny. Oh, great goddess of the ocean, Grandmother of the sea. You who are the keeper of the ancient mysteries. I honor you and the wisdom you carry. I honor the part of you that is in me. And with that she smiled and vanished beneath the waves. Through her form was gone the light. I'll think of Iona, remembering the words of the mermaid queen. We are all one.
We are of the ocean
This, our home is a water planet.
From space it is a lovely cerulean sphere of glittering liquid,
iced with frosty clouds.
Our hearts beat in a cadence set by the waves that wash up on the shore.
The sea is our great mother who nurtures and cradles all life
in her still, deep bosom.
To be in the ocean, to dive beneath the waves,
to return to the sea
- Valan Evers
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there used to be children in the water, and mermaids too,
and mermen. I saw them all in a picture at home, of a
beautiful lady sailing in a car drawn by dolphins, and
babies flying round her, and one sitting in her lap; and
the mermaids swimming and playing, and the merman
trumpeting on conch shells; and it is called The
Triumph of Galatea; and there is a burning mountain
in the picture behind. It hangs on the great staircase,
and I have looked at it ever since I was a baby, and
dreamt about it a hundred times; and it is ever so
beautiful, that must be true."
-- Ellie, of Charles Kingsley's Water Babies
Herbert Draper, 1864-1920
City of Manchester Art Galleries, Manchester
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Once I sat
upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back
uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres
To hear the sea-maid's music.
beds in the sea, then Neptune should I be, the laird of every
leaf and cherished bud; Forget-Me-Nots -forgotten not- I'd scoop
them by the flower-pot. Like brimming cups of azure from the
flood! From fairy bondoliers or little spiral piers, a fleet of
sky-blue petals puts to sea. And falling in my water-pail, above
thy mirrored smile they sail; across the tiny lake in search of
J. W. Waterhouse
What mortal could resist the gaze unscathed into the wild eyes of a water nymph? In Greece lived one who could not - Hylas, an adventurer and a voyager who sailed the blue Aegean Sea. One day, he put ashore at the island of Chios and, leaving his companions, went to search for fresh water. Deep in the forest he came upon a woodland spring where nymphs played among the rushes and water lilies. They beckoned when they saw the beautiful young man, and he approached, kneeling at the spring's edge to fill his pitcher. One of the maidens fixed him with eyes so ardent that Hylas paused, unable to move or look away. Upon his arm he felt hands that were soft but strong, and deathly cold. Before he could speak or cry out, he was pulled from the bank into the weed-choked depths of the spring.
Hylas never was seen again. His companions searched the island for days, shouting his name in every grave and grotto. At last, they came to the spring, and there they were answered: As though from a great distance, Hylas called out, reaching hopelessly toward them from a watery world that he would never escape.
Time Life Books: The Enchanted World; 1984
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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.
To where I watch on the yellow sands, and they pluck sweet music with sea-cold hands. They bring me coral and amber clear. But when the stars in heaven appear, their music ceases, they glide away. They swim for their grottos across the bay. Then listen only to my shrill tune, the surfy tide, and the wondering moon.