Fem de la mer – A Sailor’s Sea Story

“Of Note: My inspiration, if you will, for this poem:”

“Those of us drawn to the sea and stories thereof are bound to find ourselves intrigued at one time (or more) with Mermaids and their lore. I was captivated again while doing research for my family’s sailing adventure, now documented in my book From Tampa to the Cape.

A professional military sailor and a husband for that entire 20-year career, I had ample opportunities to struggle with those primal urges men must inevitably deal with. Combining the fantasies of lore with my own experiences made writing Fem de la Mer an easy task. It is a mariner’s tale, as my friend Alfonzo Zilch describes it, and the reader should expect to experience the sailor’s view, tempered only by the grace of poetic license.”

John Louis,
Nov 2009

Fem de la Mer

Beware matey, the lure of sirens, for though brave Ulysses dare,
Ashore or at sea, they’ll bedevil thee by wafting their songs through the air
They’ll play with your mind and stir in your loins that which a woman should take care,
Then steal you away, you’ll nay see break o’ ‘nother day ‘cause to ol’ Hob they’ll carry you away.

Once I too was stolen away to the depths by one of those maidens fair,
Though full of youth, not yet a man, proved my salvation there.
Pay heed to my yarn then and listen with care
That you and your mates may learn from my affair.

Ashore in Malta were we cooling ourselves of the summer’s heat, spread out on the rocky beach,
Refreshed from a night of strong drink and hard play through the depths of a mighty slumber,
Yet not had we known the pleasure of women’s company and thus our passions for the rewards of a warm wench were high.
Talk had started, as want, yet movement had not, as a plan was yet to devise.

‘twas a pleasant sight we took in, then, the vision of young lasses splashing and frolicking on the point of the rocks,
Moving toward us, they were, on swells and breakers, as dolphins do ride a ship’s bow.
Seven there were matched to only four of us and good fortune thought we, had come upon us early this day.
In a moment up we leap and into the surf did we charge, my now less groggy mates were away.

Laughed at me, did the Bos’n, and my mates, when he said, “A fair share of young maids for our crew lie ahead.
Two apiece for us men, and one for the boy! New life he may learn, and new joy!
A man he may be, and a woman may swoon, afore the next rise of the moon!”
“Aye” yelled the others and laughed all the more as they threw their clothes to the shore.

No harm took I from the Bos’n’s call, for his words were true enough.
Young I was and as yet had not laid aside, a lass while the stars shown bright.
Unknowing dreams only had I, through which passion would rise at night, Absorbing my mind, confusing my soul, and leaving its stain upon my bed.
Adept control, of a woman’s hands, was yet to arouse and play on the strong youthful limbs I displayed.

We looked to the sea and the sprites before us, tossing their heads and giving notice to us.
In a moment we were free of our wool and into the surf, the salt and the spray not deterring our surge.
To our waists we were wet when the sweet whispers were let to entice us and draw us further in.
Yet little was needed to taunt or tease, for now full of vigor were we.

Soft as a harp was the music, at first, when they answered our hails and shouts.
To our chests went we forward, yet they were away, and the water lapped up on our faces.
Odd, thought I, for a mere moment of time, that these, though hailing us drew naught closer.
But away towards the rocks did they seem to sway, as the wind and the waves took to move them.

“A redhead for me!” piped the Bos’n as he, lept forth further into the sea.
Yea, all shouted for their claims, even as they swam, to reach the benevolent prize.
Blond, black and brown, their long hair splayed ‘round in the waters about them quite free.
And again, something odd, their hair texture somehow seemed more like the grass of the sea.
A moment only I paused, then again, the music caused to grow stronger than the pounding of surf.

“Are they singing?” I shouted as our troupe now drove ever fervently into the growing sea.
Embraced by one, and then by another, laughter broke out among them,
My mates and these nymphs shared an all knowing glimpse, and engaged in passionate kisses.
Taunting each the other, their tongues intertwined, each mate had succumbed to his mistress.

Two months had we been on the decks of our ship, two months since a woman’s touch felt.
Short time did it take for the strength of man to arise, undeterred by the chill of the tide.
For beauty was before us and quickly we learned of the skills of the fair maids close aboard us.
The touch of a hand on the flesh of a man, and the ladies soon were to have us.

A fair blond took to me, only one lady free, as I trailed the troupe through the surf,
Green were her eyes, and yet blue like the skies, they were youthful and full of myrth.
The flow of her hair, on water and in air, enchanted and misted my mind.
Soon all I could see were those sapphire eyes as I left shore and senses behind.

Her hand on my back was as the wisp of silk, as she drew me into embrace,
I, for my part, reached clumsily forward, not knowing quite where to start.
Where they landed felt odd, like the skin of a cod, at once all rough and oily and smooth.
Still I drew in, my mind in a spin, the first kiss of a woman I would win.

A shout through the air! Like a shot it was there, and suddenly silenced by the foam of the sea.
‘twas the Bos’n in fright and an terrible fight, only him could it be,
Pulled from that first kiss with a start, I surveyed where he’d been, a great tail saw I of a fish,
Gone it was, swiftly, and the Bos’n now too, only a swirl where the three had embraced on the sea.

A shark, or a whale?! I had no time to know as more shouts road the now harrowing wind,
Three more flukes saw I as the now darkened sky showed of a rising storm.
No sign of my mates, no splashing nor wakes were left in the place where they’d been,
She turned me back to those sparkling eyes, only fear had taken me now.

Her embrace became tight in an instant and her legs again oily smooth,
Yet rough again now as we rose with the wave and a sensation I’ll never forget.
Then down she drew me, under the waves, her tail wrapping tightly around me.
Naught a breath had I drawn before being under by this witch so enticing before me.
Mixed sensations had I as she looked to my eyes, encouraging me to follow.

Beyond her I saw the Bos’n’s head fall to his chest as his last breathe left him,
My other mates, too, turning to blue, their struggles and fights having been lost,
Their partners, acting so gay, took them and swam away towards the deep and the dark of the sea.
Trailing behind were white whisps of a kind, that which gives rise to life anew.

Whether youth on my side, my body’s signals all crossed by first her touch then those sounds and sights,
Or her wiles amiss, her own youth engaged and enchantment not yet perfected.
I had not time to know her nor her to capture and take me,
A’fore the wailing of friends put and end to the spell that would make my soul hers forever.

I fought and broke free, and she fought to keep me, my lungs were burning for air,
My hands caught her hair, now seaweed, not fair, I had but moments to untangle,
A swish from her tail pushed me away, and to the surface I quickly rose,
Gasping for life I breathed salt and air, slapping the surface with frantic fear.

I reached for a rock and pulled myself out of the tormented and tossing sea,
Waves broke on the point and nearly knocked me back in, the sky thundered above.
A hand held me up, ‘twas hers on my hip, keeping me out of the tempest water.
Strange countenance I saw as she looked up at me, both a smile and yet sadness was there.

Away then, she’s gone, to the water so dark, the wind and the sea still holding strong,
I clung to the stones, cold jagged and sharp, fearing more for the water than shards,
Naked, chilled, and stunned at the loss of my friends, and the wonder of maidens so fair.
‘t was hours, it seemed, ’fore I would move, and return to our vessel and crew.

She haunts me, that witch, that beautiful nymph, her touch, her form, and her eyes,
Not a woman to be had, nor a prize to be taken, her spell entices me still,
Those sapphire eyes steal into my dreams and her voice mesmerizes my mind,
Her beauty arouses my heart in my dreams, and calls forth my manhood in time.

Maids of the Sea, mermaids if you will, enchant and cheat all men for their souls,
Fair be their looks and wondrous their voices, to draw us into their arms.
For though we may see and imagine our prowess driving deep into their nest,
Atop, a woman’s beauty, enhanced by our longing, below, simply fish is the rest.

Preview From Tampa to the Cape at http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000065847/From-Tampa-to-the-Cape.aspx

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