• POETS SALON

      – 7/24/19

      Hosted by Kath Abela Wilson

      Being a poet, my father made me feel I could do and be anything I wanted. I could swim. They thought I could dive. It was true that I made graceful motions at the deep end of the pool. But really I felt a shiver about the hard bottom and the cold depths. I never shared that. I just danced and smiled Somehow no one ever noticed the difference.

      summer job
      teaching the diving class
      I was the mermaid

      ~ Kath Abela

      Ο Ο Ο

      a wood carving of a beautiful mermaid

      Contemplative Mermaid, wood carving by Peter Larsen

      Elisa Theriana

      Mermaid

      They say being an orphan is tough, imagine being an orphan with leukemia. It’s like being struck twice by lightning. But Rossie never complained. Only 5 years old, she was my favorite patient.

      She loved the princess story and lived by it. We used to play pretend, I would play the witch step mother, coax her with an apple and as the princess Snow White she would eat a bite or two. Sometimes that’s all she could eat.

      I read her the little mermaid just last week. Oh how she loved this story! She said to me, she no longer wanted to be the Snow White. She wanted to be Ariel the little mermaid. “You know Doc, one day when I’m healthy enough, like Ariel, I would go and find my prince”. I laughed and said, “Yes! you would, my little mermaid”. Since then I called her my little mermaid.

      Now I’m sitting by her empty bed. My little mermaid is gone. Free…

      how pretty
      this little girl
      confined in bed
      the little mermaid
      she pretends to be

      Ο Ο Ο

      A head of a mannequin filled with sea shells

      Mermaid, taken at an antique mall (Photo – DW Bender)

      DW Bender

      tidepool seagarden…
      anemones softly wave
      their pink tentacles,
      again telling me mermaids
      are too good not to exist

      Ο Ο Ο

      shirt with mermaid prints on it and blue waves

      My mermaid shirt (Photo – Vince Gotera)

      Vince Gotera

      On this sea-blue shirt
      schools of sleek mermaids swim, pause,
      waves crashing on rocks.

      Ο Ο Ο

      a vase of a mermaid and blue sea

      Blue Mermaid Vase by Toti O’Brien

      Kathy Uyen Nguyen

      songs from Vietnam…
      the mermaid in myself
      who traded her fishtail
      for a walk along
      a thousand broken seashells

      Ο

      what it means
      to be human–
      in grandparents’ old shed
      the purest white conch
      snared in tattered fishing nets

      Ο

      summer ending
      just where I left
      the conch shell
      at grandparents’ old shed
      my voice no longer a child’s

      Ο

      a sculpture of two mermaids

      Double Mermaids by Toti O’Brien

      Mermaids: Quotes and Credits

      Elisa Theriana, from Bandung, Indonesia, works as a computer programmer. She has been an ardent reader of fiction since childhood days, including the princess stories. With a tint of feminist spirit, her favorite princess character is Ariel the little mermaid, who instead of waiting to get rescued by the Prince charming, could be the one to rescue her prince.

      Debra Woolard (DW) Bender aka Debi, once lived in Hawaii, long before she began to write haiku, tanka and other poetry of various genres. A non-swimming beach was a couple blocks behind her home, where she would walk with her babies and they would look for puka shells, gaze at the natural sea life gardens in the tide pools, brown themselves in the sun, and see what the net-casting fishermen were catching that day. Sometimes they would be gifted a small bucket of little fish to fry up and eat for lunch. Her pictured “mermaid” bust, seen in an antique mall, recently brought those olden days to mind. Years later, she would produce and publish a large online magazine for the World Haiku Club, founded by Susumu Takiguchi. She would serve as Editor in Chief, “A Wave of Moonlight: Japanese Women Poets,” column, and “Short Verses” Editor for World Haiku Review for a number of years, as well as being WHC’s Deputy Chair, facilitating international haiku groups and poetry activities on the old eGroups/YahooGroups listserve.

      Vince Gotera says: “When I first got the shirt I thought it had an abstract design. Then the mermaids just seemed to appear. Maybe mermaids are like that…they’ve always been there but we couldn’t see them somehow. Magic!” He recently published The Coolest Month, a collection of April poems; other poetry collections include Fighting Kite, Ghost Wars, and Dragonfly. Vince blogs at The Man with the Blue Guitar.

      Kathy Nguyen is an athletic trainer (sports medicine healthcare professional) and a yogi-athlete. She dabbles in art, writing, and adventures. These tanka were inspired by one of her grandparents’ houses from her childhood. It was a white wonderland with piles of seashells everywhere. Sadly, her grandparents moved the next summer, and that magical house became a memory and perhaps to a certain extent, a mermaid’s tale.

      Artist Notes

      Peter Larsen, Tujunga, California: Contemplative Mermaid, September 1996. Honduran mahogany on walnut, 17¼ inches tall. The tide came in and she disappeared. [Work time: 18¼ hours.]

      Toti O’Brien, Los Angeles, California: “I have grown up facing the straight of Messina, with eyes full of ocean and ears full of fabulous sea-creatures. Mermaids were natural companions to me. I have never met Disney’s Ariel during my childhood, but I have loved Andersen’s little mermaid—she is such a strong, determined, brave and alas tragic character. Once, an uncle went to Copenhagen and sent me a postcard with a bronze girl sitting on a rock, guarding the entrance to the harbor. In the harbor of Messina, a Madonna welcomed the traveler. I like her, but to have a mermaid instead seemed such a marvelous thing! Build a monument to a fairy tale heroin—a young girl, at that—make her the symbol of town, what a great idea! So I wished to make more and more ‘sirenette’, of my own.” See Toti O’Brien’s work on her website.

      Ο

      We welcome and encourage your response, especially in the form of a short poem, by leaving a comment below.

      End of article

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      Contributor

        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      Comments

      1. Alex nNdopaka says:

        I fished for mermaids
        when my puberty began.
        But the use of pimples
        for bait wasn’t good
        enough to catch any.

      2. Pauli Dutton says:

        I love the images and poetry shared in the beautiful posting. Thank you for keeping poetry so wonderfully alive via the Poetry Salon.

        The mermaid/man within draws us to the sea, to the unknown, to the beauty and life that lies beneath

      3. diannemoritz says:

        Would You Like to Be a Mermaid?

        Would you like to be a mermaid,
        And live beneath the seas?
        Make friends with deep sea creatures,
        like giant manatees?

        You could swim and dive with dolphins,
        Take sails on whales’ tails,
        Jump rope with octopuses,
        Play hide-n-seek with snails.

        You might craft a crown of seashells,
        To wear on your soft curls,
        Dress up in sunken treasure,
        And bright, white oyster pearls.

        You could sleep in swaying seaweed,
        Or rock on a seahorse….
        Waves gentle, lapping rhythms
        Would help you dream, of course.

        Would you like to be a mermaid,
        And live beneath the sea?

        No I’m happy being ME!

        a kids’ poem (never published)

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