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THE MERMAID’S PURSE

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For Evie Chapman

 

She fetches me a mermaid’s purse she has found

among the seaweed where the sand

meets the mound of pebbles the waves have built

and rebuilt over the centuries.

The small black pouch, with tendrils like broken straps

and firm as dried leather, is an empty

egg case, from which a shark or a ray hatched

on the seabed, probably between here

and Ireland. Tides detached and chance brought

this empty womb, wafted by the currents

like a wrecked black sail, or a lost coracle.

 

Children in bright colours scramble on the mound,

their calls like seabirds lifted on the air.

Mer-people are amongst us, their fishy flanks

invisible. From the future’s gritty depths

she fetches me another gift, a white stone,

large enough to need two carrying hands –

an amalgam of crustaceans calcified,

preserved aeons ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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