Tuesday, 4 March 2014


A Fisherman
By a painted lake
Caught by chance
In his tangled net
A Cormorant-Maid:
Drawn up
And panting
On the land
Wild and strange.

The Cormorant-Maid
Twisted under
The Fisherman's
Gentling hands;
Kindness deceived
And the serpentine
Lovely sinuous thing
Parted it's beak:

"You have saved
So for a Moon
I will stay and dive
And bring all
You may need
To repay this boon.
But only, only for
This one Moon."

Now the sly
Fisherman agreed,
And for a Moon
She brought to him
From that deep
Silver, pearls
Jade and the
Cold fire
Of Burma rubies
Red as her blood.

That last night he spoke
Of love and touched
Her long black hair
And whispered her fair
And the Cormoran-maid
Cold and afraid
Trembled and laid on
The Fisherman's bed
Rubies, Burma rubies
Red as first love.

In the morrow
The Fsherman-lover
Begged of her:
"Oh stay and love
For yet another Moon
And a day, one day
and another..."

But the Cormorant-Maid
With her long dark hair
And gold mad eyes, cried
"I cannot, must not delay..."
And the Fisherman sighed
As if in sorrow
And made such play
On bitter sadness
That the foolish
Bird-Maid, Mad-Maid
Did say "I love thee,
And will return..."
And bent down
To drown
His frown
With a hundred

He wiped a tear
And vowed to wait,
And offered as pledge
A crown...

He held in his hand
A silver circlet
Of water-brightness
Offering glass-clear
And sparkling love.

Now the Maiden
Trustingly knelt
To accept the
The love-token
He made to bind
Upon her forehead,
And found herself
Collared instead.

And that, so it is said,
Is how Fishermen
Came to bind
And tricked
To dive endlessly
For  treasure-
Choked by love
Deceived to deliver
All the precious things
They find
In hopes of earning
The freedom
To search for love
From a mind
Of a like kind.

Manuela Cardiga

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