Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Anderson's Tale

The following prose is a re-telling of Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Mermaid". As you know, I love mermaids. I also love the fairy tales written by Anderson. I wanted to take the beloved story of my childhood and retell it through the eyes of a young adult. Hopefully, Anderson would enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

(c) A.F. 4/12/12

Part I

Lights, thousands of lights, in an ebony sea of sparks.
Colors - glinting, exploding mid-air.
A wooden mammoth slicing the sea-foam,
Blurring the rainbow reflections in ripples.
You, cloaked in a white blouse, riding the sea-beast
As Poseidon guides his golden chariot ashore.
Your black-brown hair, fingered by the wind.
The drops of sky-water beginning to run down your face
Like tears.
Your eyes, smiling, deep as an abyss.
And I am swallowed by your white-sand grin.
The Gods clash, wrathful, at my desire;
How most unnatural for a bottom-feeder to love a son of Zeus.
A blazing light slashes through the dark,
And Olympus quakes in detest.
Aphrodite sides with Thetis, while Dionysus stumbles drunkenly
Into Hera's bed chamber.
The arrows of Cupid are split in two by blades of envy, and anger,
And Fate.
Prometheus laughs at his liver, as flames engulf the wood-beast's belly.
You, you are cast aside, as rubbish, landing among the sea-hurtled debris.
I, I dive - dive into the brackish brine.
You have fallen! Sinking lower into tumbling tides.
Thin ivory, barnacled fingers stretch towards your shadowy shape.
I long to grasp a single fiber of your ghostly shroud.
Together, we break the surface of that tortured glass.
I struggle to keep your head and nose above the licking doom.
I memorize your peaceful face, the way the rain rests upon your eye-lashes,
The sound of your heart beneath my breast.
And as I lie you gently, your head upon the damp earth, silently
My heart breaks at having to let you go.
You will return to your world, I to mine.
And you will never know - these eyes, these lips, this heart.
I, I will never see your eyes look thankfully at mine.
The water pours around my face as I withdraw.
Whether the salt consumes me from the dark sea's throat
Or from my pearled eyes, I will never know.

Part II

I dive, dive into the kelpy depths, propelling to the cave
Of the Grendel's dame.
Bones in sludge; eels slipping through the teeth,
The place where peepers once gazed, long ago.
A liquid Hades as I enter Dante's nightmarish realm.
She - twisted figure of bile-green scales - surrounded by the death
Of the land dwellers.
Black-pearl eyes above a dagger-smile, beckoning,
That I should enter her lair.
What I ask for has a price, known well by Philomina, by Hieronimo,
By the daughter of Titus.
But you - could you, would you, love a fish more than a mute?
I nod; consent.
A million flashes of fragmented-scenes pool before my eyes as oil:
A pain, as knives, in two ivory stems,
The light of your eyes, the warmth of the sun within your palms,
The sound of lyres, and muses, chanting as the tinkle-pop of bubbles,
A demi-goddess floating over sand-dunes,
Hero's shadow falling into blackness,
The rising sun casting rays of glitter across your sleeping cheek,
Ash-scales scattered to the wind,
The roll of the foam upon a sea-green tide...
Red iron fills my lungs as my tongue is slit from my mouth.
The water turns crimson, rolling down my chin.
A Great White, somewhere, lifts his snout; aroused, and hungry.
I, I kick through the bleeding waves.
The pain beneath my lips, filled with burning salt; I try to scream -
But I cannot.
My throat burns, the stinging rawness of my wound-fee, washed
With crill, with weeds, with mulch.
I choke, I sputter. Kicking, kicking, up towards the light!
To the land-life taste.
Suede chaffed digits claw towards that first-breath moment;
The eruption of a blow-hole, the embrace of the wind-tossed sand.
A sliver of doubt where I almost let go, don't kick, don't try...
But then, who would read our story?
A fabled-fate writ in stone.
I break the water's barrier, and the icy-fire kiss of air
Rolls against my voiceless cry.

(c) A.F. 4/12/12


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