The Return of Dorinda Beecher
Restless sailors far from shore seek in the stars, and furthermore,
In deepest seas, hoping to sight some change to break the endless night,
The ceaseless day, the infinite long year’s dull drone, for what’s in it
To charm the man who’s been abroad and has forgot his native sod,
Who knows no home and has no friend, just sailing, sailing to the end
Of Earth, the seven seas, the Known? Yet one such sailor, one alone,
Found in the foamy waves that dream the others sought, caught in a beam
Of phosphorescent, moonlit flash: the slightest bubbling roll and splash
Betrayed the presence of a maid; he started, would have leapt to aid
Her but that she was smiling wide, dolphin and otter at her side
Bearing her up in playful bounding swoops. He did not make a sound,
But smiled back, struck by her grace; and when she saw this on his face,
She beckoned gently, drew him on. Another splash! The sailor’d gone
And dived into the depths to meet this mystery, so grand, so sweet.
Could he? Would she? He fell in love, quite literally, from above
Her water empire, and he went full willingly, no accident
Of fate or fearsome, deathly wish: he’d rather fade among the fish
Than risk to lose this chance he’d seen to meet and mate his mermaid queen.
Once in the water, swift he sank, quite full of joy, and glad to thank
His lucky stars; he saw her swim in swiftest darts to rescue him;
She laid a soft hand on his brow–he thought it felt quite different now–
And gazed on him, and in her eyes, he saw reflected, with surprise,
That he’d become an otter, too. Yet not affronted with this view,
He thought their states a pleasant match; his mermaid queen was quite a catch.
Off, then, they swam, mermaid and men, her willing slaves not seen again.This post is especially for Lindy Lee, who requested on Dorinda’s first appearance here long ago [see the link in the post title] that she might revisit us sometime.