The First Chorus
We saw her longing and knew her lost.
Oh little sister, would you leave us for a man?
What has he, that we can’t offer –
come, let us braid your hair
let us sing together
swaying like soft weed to the songs
that loop and flow, ribbons of seduction
velvet handcuffs we lock
each of us fast to the other.
Why would you leave us,
little lost note
in our loving harmony?
We reach for you
but you evade our pale fingers
as though they were sticky tentacles.
This is from a poetry sequence, 'Learning to Tango' which takes a new look at the story of the Little Mermaid. It will be published later this year in the second Tales from the Tower Anthology, gathered by Isobelle Carmody and Nan McNab, Allen & Unwin. The first anthology, The Wilful Eye, was published earlier this year.
The poem I've posted here is the first chorus of the little mermaid's sisters. I wanted them to have a collective voice punctuating this sequence which is also written in the voices of the wicked enchantress, the little mermaid and the prince.