A Poem by Scott De Buitléir

After Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

His scales  - 
fair yet fragile, like sequins  - 
glistened as he swam 
in waters of sapphire and tourmaline. 

How he'd dance with dolphins 
and giggle, emulating their play, 
he'd place his heart on their fin.

Who knew his scales could grow? 
For they did indeed thicken; 
until his shimmer slowly became his shell. 

Tucked in tight in his darker seabed 
as shoals of fish-folk passed idly by, 
soft gills closed over, like forgotten old wounds; 
healed against will, suffocating in tide and time. 

No longer was the sea the merman's stage, 
no more would each wave be his next thrill. 
Now, fins of flint had failed to find 
the current to bring him to warm oceanic climes. 

Soon, his cry to Poseidon was heard, 
as cracks appeared upon his stone-scaled tail, 
turned to sand, and fell from his body evolved; 
new legs to take him towards the sun and the air.

© 2021 Scott De Buitléir

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Added on January 11, 2019
Last Updated on February 2, 2021


Scott De Buitléir
Scott De Buitléir

Cork, Ireland

Hello! I write poetry on a range of themes, from identity to relationships, and from languages to LGBTQ history. I use Writer's Café to publish new poetry, but I also have some books publis.. more..