Perdita, mermaid of the cold North Sea, who loves to swim away to the Med. and the wild Sargasso Sea.
Gt Bernard, ancient mariner, finds her and tries to discover the way to the Land of Forget-Me-Nots...
if it exists at all, the starting-point is the Norfolk Broads, and Cromer pier (near Poppyland).
Perdita lives in the cold North Sea, swimming freely through the seasons of the tides. She lives in neverwhere, a magic land where she can lose her mermaid-tail and walk on land. Her eyes, great seals, lagoons, awash with fish, that swim in flashing turquoise in the shallows. She floats in warmth, but her deep eyes are drowning, and when she cannot sleep she sings across the ocean where tails flash dimly.
She moors in every harbour, every quay, for Perdita is the key that opens doors, to the darkest land where Pluto reigns. The land where sailors storm, or drown. The mermaid’s melody sings where coral grows. She lives, she sings, and every sailor sees her, when leaving pubs and clubs late at night. She rocks the underside of boats, and dives and thrashes out of the corner of their eyes. She calls, but only one in three will pause, until their heart slows as they look to sea. Then she captures hearts inside real books.
Great Bernard, the hero of this tale, saw her tail flash brightly in Epidaurus. Stumbling along the quayside, after dark; carrying matches/candles during power cuts. He stumbled, but could barely see the drop, or spread of ocean vast as ancient Greece. Full of moussaka, salad, wine and squid, his stomach was a wild Moor (he wanted more).
From the darkest depths (and burping outrageously), he looked seawards and, there, a ghost of pale shades: boats reflecting in the pitch dark! A broad shape of sail, greater than a dream (or white elephant). It floated away and trembled on the edge of sight.
The mermaid’s eyes were like seal-pups, all innocent white and deep. She did not speak, but shapes collided around her like parallelograms. Shapes like the Big Bang. Perdita, the mermaid lost in ForNevers, sunk and drowned in the spark of morning, of larks rising (or larking around) in the ocean of silence. Where words are lost and found. She spoke to Bernard:
Poor sailor, do not value your dry life,
come to my deep that chills you to bright dark.
She spoke in riddles and always in rhyme, as Bernard stumbled along beside the pitch-dark harbour. There was no splash! He slipped into the quay, skinny-dipping in the waters, so still and warm.
Such butterflies can’t bear the great of water,
you need a diving bell to sink moth-brighter.
The mermaid’s eyes sang louder than her voice, which was filled with the tang of brine and breathed in whale-booms. Great Bernard could never explain how he heard her, except by talking about the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London. Bathers behind partitions, to separate them from the greater lake of ducks and geese. Partitions hid the light and density of water; no scales flashed so close to dry land.