Water Song – #DVersePoets

I want to sink bells into the pond.

Plant them just below the waterline,

where the ripples look like scales

lifting out of the shallows slowly

on the back of an endless snake.

Then at night when the moon lifts,

turns her face to watch,

I’ll slip out onto the decking,

strip down to my silver skin.

Drop like a stone or a witch

into the quiet cold of a place

not quite what I wish of it.

Wonder as the bells ring out

if anyone else may be listening.

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There’s a lot of Shropshire Folklore about women and water. The River Severn is often characterised as female, and there are tales of women (or women-like creatures) inhabiting lakes and ponds. Another image in Shropshire folk tales, is that of church bells falling into water and being lost forever, but the sound of their ringing being heard at night.

I’ve always been in love with myths and legends, but more often than not it was the classic Greek, Egyptian, and Norse myths that I turned to as a child. More recently I started to look into the tales from my native county, and one of the poems in my collection was inspired by this research. During the lockdown I’ve been trying to read more books to keep myself occupied. I ended up purchasing ‘Shropshire Folk Tales’ by Amy Douglas. The one off poem on Shropshire Folklore that I included in my collection now looks like it might grow into something more.

 

 

 

 

24 Comments

  1. A very exotic and a bit scary ride here. Your images gently seduces us before the hammer comes down at the end.

  2. Girl I just want you to know you had me up all night pondering the words “syrup thick” from your last poem! Of course, I love this one too. But SYRUP THICK! duuuude! you took a cliche “thick as syrup” and turned it on its flippin head and I’m obsessed with it. You have me gobsmacked.

  3. I love the mood of this, Carol, and the idea of bells underwater that continue to knell. Also you’ve made me curious about Shropshire folk tales. I’m heading over to Amazon.

  4. I like the atmosphere and the images within it. The idea of swimming with a silver bell snake and hearing it underwater is dreamlike and pleasant.

  5. I love the magical mystery of selkies and your poem reminded me of them. I had not heard the story of the bells, but it will remain in my thought bank!

  6. This is gorgeous!

    I especially like:
    “I’ll slip out onto the decking,
    strip down to my silver skin.
    Drop like a stone or a witch
    into the quiet cold of a place”

  7. I enjoyed your bells in the lake an the snakes rippling across the water.
    Tonight is the night to go skinny dippin’ It is a full Super Moon that will be watching!!

  8. There is something magical about this. I really like: “Then at night when the moon lifts,
    / turns her face to watch, / I’ll slip out onto the decking, / strip down to my silver skin.”

  9. Wow! The underwater bells remind me of Dunwich and a church that disappeared in the sea along the coast not far from here. This is a haunting poem, which pulls the reader underwater. I love the ripples that look like scales ‘on the back of an endless snake’, and the wonderful shift into moonlight and the ominous dive ‘into the quiet cold of a place’, which makes me wonder if the speaker will rise out of the water again. She wants to be heard or seen for what she really is. I suspect she is a mermaid or a selkie.

  10. I love the way you capture the lure of myth folklore and fairy tales. The poem seems like a metaphor for that attraction to magic and mystery which I also share. And yet the poem stands alone, a story in itself. My favorite line is “a place/ not quite what I wish of it.” IT’s so important in Faerie to speak precisely and be very careful of what an dhow we wish for things. In addition NOTHING is ever exactly as we would wish it – I like that acknowledgement – it grounds the poem in reality. (Reality meaning the way thinss are- NOT lack of the liminal.)

    1. Thank you Christine. I’ve been lucky enough to find a vibrant community who share my love of local folklore, so I often find interesting links and recommendations through their facebook page. I think writing quite often opens people up to magic and myth in such a unique way. When you look at churchs in the countryside you can also find the ghosts of older beliefs tucked away.
      Thank you again for dropping by and hope you’re keeping well.

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