Thursday, 8 August 2013

Summer Story: The Mermaid's Tail

I have found my feet when I thought I had none.
Raised myself up from the depths like a slippery eel,
scales sticking to sand, matted seaweed crowning my head.
The years of waiting to be carried off by some great force,
those longed for arms the highest wave of all, they are no more.
Sailors did like to leer, even grope, reaching rough hands out to touch
me lithe as I swam beside their boats.
Many wrote my name upon their arm, promised to take me with them.
"Rescue me from my desire, oh take me to my desire",
that was my siren song.
I thought they would save me.
It was not that I was young:
I knew the wet satisfaction of other bodies 
and remembered even love (there's a lot you can do with fins you know),
but the desire for what I did not have was oh so strong.
The joy of getting what I wanted,
of not knowing what that was.
I who was naïve and unbroken as a dreaming child,
with my slippery scales
and my seaweed crown.


I had to find my feet when I thought I had none.
Draw myself up onto the sharp pebbled shore, wash myself up like a whale,
so I could sit, blinking, in the hot sunlight.
No one had taught me how to survive this.
To be beached is not to be rescued.
It was all I could do to sit and splutter,
smile with the achievement that made me cry out with fear
of what I could become.
So I taught myself, or rather, I stumbled I sweated
I fell.
I fell into myself, each time falling further,
crawling on my fleshy tail, slowly stretching muscles onto the land.
To expand and divide, to push forth with an urge for more,
the same propulsion that had
dragged me out of my ocean cocoon.
At first I could not abide the sight of grass,
that sickly rasping green
so different to the sweet fronds beneath clear water.
But anything was better than tarmac burns against my fins;
anything was better than the hollow prurient stares of passersby
as I scraped and rubbed,
 flexed myself along dirty pavements
with my gills gaping and torn,
falling further into myself,
falling out of myself.

I stuck to the grass. I was so nude, I had to.
Slithering within it as a snake, sucking the water from dew drops.
Flexing and falling
flexing and falling,
as I tried to move like people do.
And so I began to enjoy the earth,
 the flowers with their elegant sunfaces
kind water pulsing through veins within the soil. 
My silvered tail began to itch.
I was changing.
It was with an inexplicable pleasure
that I looked down to see my flipper split in two,
in its place these misshapen fleshy stumps,
the tiny fins of each individual toe still flexing and flexing, 
not falling.




So here I find myself in my own landly home,
no longer hiding in the grass
but loving it freely
for I am no longer nude,
no longer unbroken like a child.
Clothed in experience I walk with an even stride,
two soft soles placed keenly against the ground.
Only the air of swooping grace
a reminder of my swimming days,
the ghost of a tail flickering in azure shadows.
To stand in long grass straight as a soldier,
look out over the cresting waves
of this golden meadow that blows its rhythm to the breeze,
this is enough
to offer freedom.
Alone as myself,
still alone but not so.
Who can be alone amongst all this fresh wonder unknown?
Growing fond of a certain ancient tree,
I move my feetly roots towards him.



The sea, via 1

Poem The Mermaid's Tail written by me for this post. 

The Outfits:
Vintage 1990s Silver See Through Dress: bought for me by a dear ex boyfriend from his sister's market stall in the 90s.
Turquoise Bikini underneath & Blue Flower Headband: very old from the high street.
Vintage 1970s Handmade Shell Bracelets: my mother's.
Vuntage 1990s Silver Handkerchief Dress: from a charity shop.
Blue Sandals: from a sale at Toast.
Cotton Parasol: from Ebay.
Vintage 1990s Blue Shawl: mine from the 90s.
Vintage 1970s Shell Bracelets: as above.
Vintage 1930s Brown Shot Satin Fish Tail Evening Gown: made by granny Kiki for her couture label Kiki Couture.
Black Heels: old from Hobbs.
Blue Necklace worn as headband: gift from a friend.
The Soundtrack
Tim Buckley: Siren Song   
All beach photographs taken by my mother; photographs in my mother's incredible summer garden taken by me using the self timer; photographs of me in the 1930s evening gown taken by Mr Eve and by myself; all using my little digital camera.
I am delighted to be a part of the next Visible Monday, hosted by the lovely Patti from Not Dead Yet Style, click on the website link to see her outfit and those of many others.
Also linking up with lovely Jane 's Shiny T Tuesday link up, where the theme is The Ocean, click on the link The Flight Platform to see her outfit and others.


  1. Wow, I mean really wow!
    I raced through the images and text on my first reading, wanting to know who the author was. What a breathtaking prose poem Emalina, with outfits and images that perfectly complement and extend the story. Stunning.

  2. So many pretty outfits, though I have to confess that my personal favourite is the black one... it's like a 1950s sort of chic at-home gown worn to entertain friends elegantly. :)

  3. Oh this is so fabulous! You really have an eye for presenting photography like art. I love the mermaid idea and the setting is just perfect! Every young girls dream to be a mermaid:)

  4. Oh My Goodness! Your poetry is magnificant! Truly brillliant! This poem engaged me from the first line. So well done Emalina! It's now no surprise how your photos match so perfectly the poetry. So beautiful. be a mermaid. I know an artist, she plays the harp, who makes mermaid tails, yes really!, and she teaches kids how to swim with them on, and it's magic, and everyone has such fun.

  5. What an incredible poet you are, my dear friend. I love those words and the silvery mermaid dress and you emerging from the ocean are images to treasure.
    I'm sure I used to own that handkerchief hem dress in the 1990s! xxx

  6. Oh Emalina! what a talent you have - I love the poem and I'm getting good at grasping the subtilities of your magnifique poem ma très chère Emalina! My blog reading is all english so i guess my comprehension is getting better than it was -
    Your pics are so,so extraordinaire ! I wish i had more time to be creative - I'm watching photoshop tutorial these days - I got an idea for my next post, hope it goes well!

    I was so thrilled to see your grand-maman designs, Kiki couture! the dress is so beautiful

    Have a great weekend

    Ariane xxxx

  7. Stunningly beautiful and tremendously moving - like Rosalind above I was immediately captured by the voice in the poem and thrilled to find that it was YOU! Of course! Flows swimmingly with your over-the-top lovely images, and outstanding all around, dear Emalina.

  8. If a blog post could be hung in a gallery for all to admire for the rest of time, this exceedingly beautiful, ethereal, sublimely lovely one would deserve, beyond any whisper of a doubt, to be.

    Enchantingly amazing costume, gorgeous outfits, and some of the most engaging, enjoyable poetry I've read in a very long time, dear gal. You are simple and completely incredible!

    ♥ Jessica

  9. So beautiful. So very beautiful. Thank you. XXOO

  10. Love the idea of covering the parasol with a scarf!

  11. That's a beautiful poem, I was wondering as I read it how you managed to find one which was so perfectly appropriate for your post! Lovely dresses...the third one is especially stunning.

  12. WOWOWOWOW!!!!!!!!!! Lady, you are so beautiful and talented. I am just in awe!!

  13. Dear Emmalina, do you know that I'm a mermaid fan since long, to be true since the time I took part in an Aquarius themed party. For inspiration I had searched the internet and I found photos of mermaid parades all over the world and was so impressed by the creative costumes. But I didn't sew a dress for me but I crocheted a hat, a necklace, a jellyfish ballet and some other accessories to go as a living coral reef. Look here:
    So I'm in love with your mermaid costume of course but the best is the lovely poem you wrote. I take my hat off to you! That's really great.

  14. You wrote that wonderful, magical poem???? My goodness Emalina you took me on a wonderful journey, to a place where the heroine gets to wear shoes and Kiki's beautiful frocks! You are an artist. Absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for taking me to the beach where the hot mermaids hang out, then to the places they can run and hide. xoxoxoox

  15. Oh, today you are a mermaid! Amazing photos and a very beautiful poem. And you wrote it yourself! Wow...

  16. What a gorgeous mermaid you are! I am savoring all these wonderful photos, and applauding your talents as well. The 30's gown is simple exquisite! Thanks for sharing all the beauty with Visible Monday!

  17. You are a magical mermaid and your many talents move me. The poem that you wrote for this post is as elegant as you. The 30's brown evening gown looks like it was made especially for you, as you honor your grandmother Kiki by wearing her creation for all of us to admire and enjoy.

  18. With your long wavy locks you really are the perfect mermaid! That garden is simply incredible, you spend your life in the most beautiful surroundings which is fitting for a fairytale creature such as yourself :)

  19. wow look at you, you really look like a beautiful mermaid of a fairy tale, only that your ending is much happier ;) absolutely magical and wonderful, you are out of world with your beauty and grace!

  20. You make such a beautiful mermaid and I loved watching your metamorphosis! I thoroughly enjoyed your poem - so exiquistely and beautifully written. What a marvellous poet you are!

  21. I LOVE the mermaid photos. That light periwinkle colour is amazing on you. you clearly don't live in Scotland, because that level of exposure to the water up there would have killed you :) LOve that photo of you sitting ton the beach.

  22. awesome post! the mermaid dress is lovely.
    my fav dress -as it is always- is the 30s gown made by your granny. it looks stunning on you!

  23. I LOVED THAT!! what a love story of a powerful woman! This is how life is so often and women need to be this strong...i suspect you are, infact i believe you may be a mermaid! ''To be beached is not to be rescued.'' loved that line...sure does some up life! love love love!!! You so need to come and link it up to the ocean prompt week over at my place! i would love readers over at the flight platform to see it xxxxx

  24. oooo and in response to you photography question, all the effects are done on picmonkey...very simple to use x

  25. Haven't seen this until now! Beautiful.


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