Day 202: Mermaids and Mermen

Mermaids and Mermen
Matt Zurbo

I see this as a series of creepy drawings with text to the side. Bedtime rhymes and ditties about the ocean… of a different kind.


Leathery Lips

The pirate cooked eggs for breakfast,
and licked his leathery lips,
but before he could take a bite,
they were eaten by a flying fish.

He tried to kill the creature,
but it got away.
Tummy rumbling, he swore and cursed:
“One day, revenge! One day!”


Bella Knows

Bella was a watery ghost
who lived in the sea bed,
swaying with the kelp,
keeping fish well fed.

“Why should I want to move on,“
she told a passing crab.
“My pulse is the ocean’s waves,
how can I be sad?“

And every century or two
another ship would go down,
bringing with it, for lonely Bella,
more friends to be found.


Beyond Rage

Sometimes I lie awake at night,
looking into the ceiling’s dark space,
imagining it’s the deep ocean floor
staring in front of my face.

Beyond the skeletons that guarded it,
past the mermaids,
and creatures quite strange,
would be the most beautiful, blue kelp flower,
blossoming beyond mankind’s awful rage.


Flying Fish Hands

Imagine if fish flew,
on wings made out of hands,

from there anything would be possible,
life would be quite grand.


The Mermaid Oh So Pretty

When I was a child I fell head over heals
for a tattoo of a mermaid so pretty,
but she was inked onto my uncle’s arm
a man hairy, loud and not too witty.

“Mum, it’s not fair!“ I protested
“Life is very strange.“
“I’m in love with a beautiful girl
attached to a man of awful rage.“

“Strange and cruel, confusing and grouse,“
Mum, with love, said.
“You’d better get used to it,
there’ll be many such problems ahead.“


Deep Sea Suit

If I had a deep sea suit,
I might leave the schoolyard behind,

Explore a place without end,
a landscape beyond time.

Find ravines of jellyfish,
each one shaped like a heart.

Giant squids that softly whisper;
“Let us never, ever part.”

Sunsets, seen from underwater,
made green by forests of kelp.

Traverse ocean’s floor,
not lonely, just alone,

not wanting any help.


All Mandy wanted
was to survive another day.
to save up and build a moat
on which she could forever
sail away.


Inky Swell

The sea dragon
swam down, down, down,
beneath the inky swell.

The one full of its fears
and doubts,
which every man or beast must quell.

I don’t know where such dark tides
took it,
or how long it stayed away,

but it re-appeared
in my drinking mug,
declaring everything


Out to Sea

Out to sea the emu
and the wombat
sailed in an apple cart.

“We might not get too far,”
Emu said,
“but what an awesome start!”

They wanted to get away,
from the everyday.

to find somewhere amazing,
then, perhaps to stay.

Flying fish flew overhead,
whales swam beneath.

Soon enough they both missed
soil beneath their feet.
(Big swell, bailing water from crate!)

Shipwrecked on an atoll,
they confessed to a sea eel,

“Good or bad result, who cares?
as long our adventure’s real.”


What Lies Beneath

The mermaid seemed so pretty,
as she lured sailors to their doom.

Even mermen fell in love,
when she swam beneath the moon.

When they did, she barked:
“”I’l eat you in the thrice!”

To a one the mermen jumped,
then scurried like wet mice!


Jessika’s Plan

Jessika had a plan
to forever sail away.
To somehow escape.
the same old every day.

“Bring me a gift that is not a gift,”
the Sea God one day whispered.
Jessika, surprised,
was all confused and twisted.

Until she came up with a plan,
full of romance and the sea,
writing a poem in the low tide sand,
where most poems should not be.

Sure enough, the tide came in
and washed her words away.
Yet Jessika returned,
and wrote another every day.

All her hopes and fears,
the things that made her cry,
placed into words of beauty,
taken by the tide.

Ignoring the cruel laughter
of the kids on the jetty,
she placed her heart into letters
cast out like wet confetti,

to be taken by the waves,
pulled out every night,
spread amongst the depths,
where romance has great might.

Her every hurt and joy,
keeping dead sailors warm,
letting deckhands feel safe
even in the biggest storms.

Her whimsy and her melancholy,
affected krill to octopi,
every whale and minnow,
making fierce sharks sigh. 

The stuff of salt! The stuff of Sea!
The stuff of waves and storms!
Jessika fed them all,
simply by defying norms.

The sea god smiled and sent for her,
a lovely olive boat,
so full of food from the depths
it could barely float.

She sailed away, as was her plan,
drifted near and far,
stopping every chance she got,
to write more poems on sand bars.

This was, Jessika found, how to become
a legend of the sea;
dream a dream, cast a wish,
and give something for free…



Sometimes I like to go to the pier
and simply walk off.
To land with a splash,
and sink just like a rock.

Especially on still days,
when the water is like glass.
And watch, from the underside,
the patterns I did start.


Bubbly Water

Little Tommy was stuck on a raft
surrounded by man-eating,
hungry sharks.

With nothing to lose, only amusement for food,
he put bum to water
and let out a fart.


The Edge

Have you ever stood,
at the edge of the sea,
and just looked into forever?

Wondering about its history,
myths that would not surrender?

Could you see sharks in its depths,
things that glow,
things that fly?

Things that would freak you out,

if they passed you by?

Might you see waves!? 
Waves as big as mountains!? 

Jellyfish in their thousands,
tumbling through water fountains?

Feel on your cheek the distant echo,
of winds
that whisper of centuries past?

Imagine yourself reflected,
on a surface smooth as glass.

All of it,
its timelessness,
reaching out, pulling at your toes?

The power of the ocean,
as it heaves to-and-fro?

Meteorites, tsunamis,
atolls of violent volcanic
fire, steam and ash.

The slightest breeze,
carrying a turtle’s sneeze,
onto which you could latch. 

Standing there, on watery edge,
could you almost hear
the ocean’s distant

knowing that its waves,
will one day cover us all?




The scary creature from the oceans depths
swam up to the surface,

just so it could skim rocks
with the kid from the circus.



The End





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