For decades the question had vexed me,
So I travelled the seven seas,
In search of the elusive mermaid,
For I had never seen one of these.
Fixated I had but one question,
Of this legendary aquatic creature,
Yet discovering one isn’t easy,
In the oceans they rarely do feature.
My voyages took me to Hawaii,
Then on to the Bay of Bengal,
To the mouth of the Nile; to the Caspian,
Becalmed and in a light squall.
Then one day good fortune smiled upon me,
Just west of Jamaica I recall,
When there on a rock near the shoreline,
I found the most beautiful mermaid of all.
Her demeanour was one of politeness,
My presence didn’t faze her at all,
She said that whilst a fine swimmer,
She was irked that on land she must crawl.
I told her my name was Roberto,
She replied that she was called Eloise,
It was then that I asked her my question,
“Pray tell if you lay eggs or have babies?”
Taken aback she thought the matter over,
Considered her answer a lot,
Then simply replied, “We are magic,
And when birthing we strain more than squat.”
Informative as the sentence she’d uttered,
Was, I felt incomplete,
Yet when I pushed for a little more detail,
She swam off; she beat a retreat’
So I’ll never know now how mermaids,
Enter this world; how they breed,
No paper to write for a journal,
My life’s quest has now gone to seed!
Some months later back here in Blighty,
A messenger called at my door,
He told me that he had a letter,
To be delivered by hand and what’s more,
It read, “Kind Sir of your question,
Albeit that is was quite direct,
The secret you seek must stay ‘secret,’
That’s my answer with no disrespect,
For you humans do have a track record,
Of blemishing all that you touch,
And like I said at the outset we are magic,
Yet I still thank you so very much.”
To have the words of a mermaid on parchment,
Was more than I’d ever hoped for,
Yet no publisher believed it authentic,
Always I was shown the door.