Last week on holiday I decided to write a little fairytale for my daughter to soothe her in the deep black of the Brittany night. This is what emerged.
My daughter required of me a mermaid’s tail
To froth the spawny bubbles of her bath.
I found a textured rubber one for sale,
At John Lewis – it summoned forth her wrath.
And so I ventured out in search of one
Whose fishy loins would satisfy my child.
I caught a dolphin, spinning in the sun,
And lopped its flukes: they left her unbeguiled.
And then I chartered an unholy barque
And years I lived on cold beans spooned,
Until I found her on a barren rock,
And her white flank I tenderly harpooned.
When I returned, my daughter had outgrown
Her mermaid phase (she now liked boys),
The rotting tail out with the trash was thrown,
Abandoned with her other childish toys.
And in old age, alone, no siren here
To murmur ocean music in my ear.
The seasmoothed scallop shells that were her bra
Now catch the falling ash from my cigar.