The seal people – the Selkies, have been long in the mythic history of the people living along the Celtic coasts. They are magical beings capable of changing from seal to human form by shedding their skin. Most of the myths involving Selkies recount the tales of female Selkies who were forced into relationships with humans by someone stealing and hiding their sealskin.
When Duncan cut a seal with his knife,
out sprang a girl that he took for his wife.
And though they lived he thought happily,
he sometimes caught her looking out to sea.
A year passed by and she was with his child,
so, he kept her secure by lock and key,
less she returned again back to the wild.
When her time came she was not to be found,
for she had heard the seal-people calling;
so, he followed her footprints to the sound,
where he stood, gazing – out to sea.
There he saw a group of seals gathered round,
a young female, who before leaving turned
to look back at him – full into his face.
Thereafter he wandered that lonely shore,
the memory of her his only grace,
as he mourned his lost love now nevermore.
Until, years later, now old and wrinkled,
his gaze went out to where he saw a ripple.
They had returned, bringing her to him
so he stripped – and set out to swim
© D G Moody
Forced marriages, eh! Very easy read, but I am wondering that this is very one sided – the man’s perspective. Perhaps you will balance this by a follow up poem that shows hers.
Thanks for the comments; and that is not a bad idea – to do a mirror poem from the female perspective. And of course, I deliberately chose language to emphasise the mans controlling, albeit a futile exercise, he may as well have tried to stop the tide. I did the poem after a opening line came to me, and I’m aware that it is somewhat weak as a result.
Love stories with legendary creatures. Made me wonder if there was a child.
Sorry for not replying sooner CW; I’m sort of off-grid at present; and yes, a good question; as I did say ‘with his child’; I wonder, would ‘with child’ be more apt? As I hinted above, the story shows the male human seeking to dominate ‘feminine’ nature, in the shape of what may be a shape-shifter; so did she give birth to a human, seal, of merman or mermaid?
Now updated 18.06.2021