Sestina: Mermaid Juliet

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 21:41 -- ali23


United States
47° 44' 23.3736" N, 122° 22' 4.8468" W

“One step at a time,” she says to me.
“Just a few more steps and you’ll be free.”
As she speaks we draw closer to the roaring sea,
and I wonder what this woman could want me to see.
I met her this morning by the dark old tree,
but to her long known I had to be.

I had no sense what her plan could be
or what she had in store for me.
All I knew was what I’d lost at that gruesome old tree.
My beloved, they said, could not ever be free.
Saying final farewells, he had whispered, “You’ll see.
When she asks you, just go. You’ll find me in the sea.”

And so here I stand on the pier by the sea,
longing only to see him and with him to be.
Through the tears in my eyes I just cannot see
anything in the water. Does the fault lie with me?
As my doubts begin rising, I hear, “You’ll be free.
You’ll be rid of the sadness you found at the tree.”

And so thinking back to that dying old tree
where I met this odd woman, who brought me to the sea,
I remember them saying, “He’ll never be free.”
“By his side is all that I could want to be!”
I exclaim to the one who is standing with me.
Then she smiles and she says, “Wait, my dear. You will see.”

So I look and I search but I still do not see.
And I cry for the heartbreak I gained at the tree.
But the woman, she sees, and she motions to me,
then together we step off the ledge, to the sea.
The cold water swirls and the stars become black. How could this be?
I wonder as we sink. How could this make me free?

As I swim I remember, “He’ll never be free.”
Then just up ahead there is someone, I see.
It cannot be him, I think. It can’t be.
It can’t be the one whom I lost at the tree.
Yet he said that I’d find him right here in the sea.
“It cannot be him,” the fish say, mocking me.

The moment I realize how I’ll become free is the moment I find him, as still as a tree.
I see him there on the floor of the sea.
To be with him I know I must do as he did, so I join him in silence, and the water takes me.



Writing a sestina is (at least for me) really hard, because the form is pretty rigid. Still, I really enjoyed writing this and would love any feedback you have :) Thanks and I hope you like it!

Loosely inspired by Annabel Lee (Edgar Allan Poe).

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