“The merrow then went down to the strand. The sea was lying calm and smooth, just heaving and glittering in the sun, and she thought she heard a faint sweet singing, inviting her to come down..” Thomas Crofton Croker, Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland, vol. 2 (London: John Murray, 1828), pp. 3-13
The Merrow Wife
Up above sun sears the salt
and a man in a boat sings:
Diddy Diddy Dum.
I swim up to meet his music.
His song is a hook.
A rough net waits.
I lie in his boat, gasping.
How strange his man hands, rough and dry.
How strange his eyes, blue gems
in the earth of his head.
“You are white as a pearl.
Your hair is green as kelp.
Look what a baby you are,
squealing in my net!”
I do not cry as he removes my scales
with a blade, as if he's whittling wood,
whistling the while.
He pulls a lace gown over me
and tightens the bones of dead whales
about my ribs.
“Aren't we a pretty sight,” he says.
Fish and Skyscraper by Katherine Sanderson