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At night we go down to the sea,
And drown ourselves.
Peel away our skins to reveal the
Wet, gelatinous mess of our muscle and fat and fin.

At night we go down, down to the ocean,
At night we shed our flesh,
And wear the shards of
Moonlight, sand and spray like shivering, nascent scales.

At night we go down, inexorably to the ocean,
Fold and hide our skins
In the rockpools, in the cold
Salt-water steppe. We play at being, just for a while.

At night we go down to the sea bed,
Curl up on the patterned
Sand, the ridges of our bodies,
Entwine and lose ourselves, in doing so find each other.

At night we go down to the ocean,
And drown ourselves.
In the morning we stitch each other
Back into our malformed flesh.
Rub the sand from our eyes,
Brush the salt out of our hair
And wash it from our lips.
Remove the scent of brine from our
Minds, the feel of
Muscle, fat and fin.
And we play at being human.

Keep my face from the sea, and
Turn my face from you.
If, when we play at being human, we glimpse it, we
Shudder. Like drowning fish.
If I catch your eye, we
Shiver. Like the sea.

Still, we pretend to be human
For a while.
:iconthewrittenrevolution:
so...i'm actually working on an anthology called 'the drowning pages' atm...all about drowning, as you may have guessed...

critique: [link]
well, what do you think this is about? in terms of metaphor and shizzle like that?

does the repetition work nicely? or is it irritating?

does it transcend the visual; can you smell the salt, feel the sand?

and do you feel it's a beautiful poem, or an ugly one? if so, why so?

please feed my comment monster. it's already eaten my right leg out of boredom. seriously. send help
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:iconazizriandaoxrak:
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Just wanted to let you know this wonderful piece has been featured!: [link]

Keep up the beautiful work!
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2012
thank you! i'll be sure to have a look :D

hahah i'll try :P
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:iconazizriandaoxrak:
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
:)
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2011
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DailyLitDeviations in a news article that can be found here [link]
Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article.

Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2011
oh how wonderful! thank you!! :D
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2011
You are very welcome!
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:iconvigilo:
Vigilo Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2011  Student Writer
I love this! I saw this in =bowie-loon123's Daily-Deviant article, and it's a beautiful piece. I love - "we/Shiver. Like the sea." and your ending, and a lot of other things. I'll write you a critique - properly - later, but this is gorgeous. :heart:
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2011
hahaha thank you! aw, only if you have the time :P
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:iconvigilo:
Vigilo Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2011  Student Writer
Already done! - it's below my comment, see? :P :heart:
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2011
hahah, so it is :P
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:iconvigilo:
Vigilo Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2011  Student Writer
Here goes!

What do you think this is about?
It reminded me extremely of selkies - those Scottish selkies you see who dally with humans and then, decide, in an extremely good show of sensibility, to go back to the sea, just because. It also reminds me of children playing pretend - especially the shuddering when they look at the sea - it reminds me of why/how humans fear the sea and how the creatures in the sea can mock that fear. ... but yeah, it reminded me of children and selkies. :P

Does the repetition work nicely? or is it irritating?
Yes; no. I like the repetition of "at night", it is very soft and .. chilly.

Does it transcend the visual; can you smell the salt, feel the sand?
I can imagine the salt, yes, probably the sand, but - I can't smell the salt of the sea. I don't know if it's just me - it's because I don't sense enough water imagery, if that makes sense? I mean - I can see the salt in their hair, but not smell the saltwater in the air. Does this make sense? It's a very - fleshy poem, as in the imagery is very dedicated to the "mermen" of the poem, the "we". But I don't get a strong sense of the sea.

and do you feel it's a beautiful poem, or an ugly one? if so, why so?
Like the others said - the imagery of flesh and muscle and stitching is ugly, well, not ugly, just a bit, gross, really, but with beautiful purpose, and there's no way "Shiver. Like the sea" cannot be anything but beautiful.

Also a small quibble: I don't like the line "We play at being, just for a while." just because of the "just for a while" as it seems a bit - unnecessary? Added on? It's probably just me, but it feels - extraneous?

Apart from that, lovely, beautiful, in a harrowing kind of way. :heart:
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:iconlindzh2000:
lindzh2000 Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
This is beautiful. It has so much meaning to it. I wish I could do poetry like that. I just write stories. Sorry, off track. The greek mythology was used amazingly and it just really gave off so much emotion! I couyuld totally turn that into a story. Basically, it's an amazing poem told with emotion and a storylike plot.
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:iconvigilo:
Vigilo Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2012  Student Writer
Okay, I don't know how this comment ended up here, but I'm guessing it's in reply to Coppersmith? Anyway, thank you so much for the lovely words! I'm a huge fan of prose - I think it's way cooler than poetry, so I'm completely jealous. I'm so glad you enjoyed reading; thank you very much for the lovely compliments! :heart:

PS. If you want to reply, please do it on Coppersmith [link] , I don't want to spam ~PrettyThings9's work. Cheers! :D
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:iconazizriandaoxrak:
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
This has been featured in my journal!!! [link]
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:iconazizriandaoxrak:
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
well, what do you think this is about? in terms of metaphor and shizzle like that?
Clearly, there is an element of transformation here. I think the most significant lines are at the end, though:
"Keep my face from the sea, and
Turn my face from you.
If, when we play at being human, we glimpse it, we
Shudder. Like drowning fish.
If I catch your eye, we
Shiver. Like the sea."
There's a relationship that doesn't work anymore. Why? Dunno. But I LOVE the "shudder" and "shiver" lines :)

does the repetition work nicely? or is it irritating?
I really like the repetition. I think breaking from the pattern for the last two stanzas makes them stand out all the more.

does it transcend the visual; can you smell the salt, feel the sand?
This poem is very tactile to me. I love the descriptions of the slippery, gelatinous, fleshy fishiness :) It grounds the poem but in a...creepy, almost Lovecraft-esque way.

and do you feel it's a beautiful poem, or an ugly one? if so, why so?
I think you've captured the eldrich beauty of the mermaid well. Is it beautiful? Yes, but in a very raw, eerie way. To me it has this...sense of that real awkwardness of puberty, that sense that our skin doesn't fit quite right. Not that that's solely a puberty feeling, but.......anyway. I can't decide whether I like the capitalizations on every line. There are some lines where I feel like it gets in the way a bit, stops the sentence in my mind and makes it choppy, but then there are places where it does that in JUST THE RIGHT PLACE, and it's perfect. It creates this extra pause. Like in those last two lines, it just works beautifully. I dunno, maybe that's more of an enjambment issue? If nothing else, I feel like capitalizing the "and"s doesn't quite work.

Overall: love it. lovelovelove it. :)

PS. I apologize, the internet spell-check is CONVINCED "eldrich" isn't a word, so I might have spelled it wrong 'cuz I can't remember if it needs a "t" >_<
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011
ooo, i love all your various interpretations! it's wonderful seeing what others get out of your work. and yes, all those theories are very interesting :)

ah, yes, i did that deliberately, glad to see it worked! :D

good, i'm so glad it immersed you! yes, i was going for a sort of shuddery effect :)

that is a wonderful idea, actually, yes! there is a definite sense of the misfit, i think... i see what you mean, yes...hm, perhaps i shall go back and mess about with those :P

aw, thank you! i'm so glad you enjoyed it! and thanks SO much for the feedback, i appreciate it like a crazy person :P hahaha, i think it may have a 't', yes, but dw, i knew what you were on about :P
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:iconazizriandaoxrak:
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
:)

:heart:
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:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2011  Student Writer
There's a lot to love about this piece. I love the very tactile sensations this gives me; it feels gritty, like sand or scales. I love the last line, that brings the point of the poem into focus. Most especially, I love the lyrical repetition of the lines. You use them just enough times, and change a few just slightly enough, that the poem feels rhythmic instead of repetitive. It feels a bit like a folk song.

In fact, the imagery you used reminded me of folk tales I've read--but not of mermaids. The idea of shedding one's skin, coupled with imagery of the ocean, relates more strongly to selkies. This is just a suggestion, but it might be neat to use them as the base of this poem instead of mermaids--or perhaps you could use selkies in another piece in your anthology. At any rate, it might be worth a look. :)

Finally, a few little suggestions:

-at first I wasn't fond of the enjambment, but it's grown on me. It might help to use it again in the last line of the fourth stanza, to help it match the first three stanzas.

-the first two lines of the second-to-last stanza (Keep my face from the sea, and
Turn my face from you
) don't feel like they fit properly. Sorry if that's a bit vague; it just feels a bit abrupt--a sentence fragment coming out of nowhere. You might want to put in a tiny transition there.

All in all, a lovely piece! A little gritty, a little uncomfortable, but beautiful all the same. :heart:
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
ooo, what a lovely comparison! yes, i was very inspired by old sea shanties and such, it's nice to see that they've come through :)

yes, they were an inspiration, but i specifically chose the title 'the mermen' for a metaphorical reason :P but yes, i'd like to explore that further

ooo, i'll give it a go :) no, no it's fine, i love feedback :D yeah, it was a difficult ending to sort out...

aw, thank you so much! i really appreciate the feedback :D
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:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Student Writer
You're welcome! It was my pleasure. :heart:
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:iconmisconstruedcarousel:
AH! Love folklorish stuff! And the way you play with sound in this poem is so good!
I am a little frenzied so I am probably going to answer your critique questions all out of order and throw in some of my characteristic gushing, haha.
This poem was very sensory, and it was because of that that the images that could theoretically be horrifying ("fold skin" "shed flesh" etc) just remain grotesquely beautiful, like somethign from a half remembered dream. The sense you appeal to the most is tactile: "wear" "skins" "bodies" "entwine" "muscle" "rub" "shiver". Through these words you make the reader very aware of their own body so you become very engaged in the metamorpheses of the speaker.
The repetition works because you begin to understand that (in the context of the literal, word-for-word surface story) these people need to continuously pretend to be what they are not. The change from what they are must always happen, and they will always be an outsider or a pretender. They never get to comfortably occupy someone else's skin to the point that the reader doesn't need to be reminded that they are playing a charade. And this in turn really helps the tactile, transformative images.
And your sounds! First stanza:

Peel away our skins to reveal the
Wet, gelatinous mess of our muscle and fat and fin.

The rhyme and the sillibants! The "mess/muscle" "fat/fin" was just so beautiful.

I can hear the ocean almost with all the "sh/s" sounds you use throughout the rest of your poem :D Good going there!

At night we go down to the ocean,
And drown ourselves.
In the morning we stitch each other
Back into our malformed flesh.

Beautifully tortuous :)

LOVE it! Please keep up the good work with diction and sensory vocabulary! I'll look out for it in your other work too :)
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2011
hahaha, frenzied is the best way to be ;)

oh brilliant, i was SO hoping it'd transcend the visual :)

i do very much like your interpretation there! yes, that is a very large part of this...

how wonderful, i like the pervasive nature of the sea :)

ah, thanks very much! and thank you for the fav.! :D
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:iconaiyemoran:
aiyemoran Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
hello! I actually thoroughly enjoyed this poem. I was intrigued from the first verse (which is also my favorite I think, but I don't know) I really like the visual image I get of the mermen returning to the sea and coming from the sea underneath moonlight. I can truly smell the sea and feel the sand as well.

Rub the sand from our eyes,
Brush the salt out of our hair
And wash it from our lips.


I live by the ocean and can sense the salt and sand in my eyes and hair. truly wonderful.

I think the concept of the poem is fabulous and beautiful. I like the repetition, making this drowning and changing and pretending to be human cycle almost like routine that they love and hate at the same time.

so I hope you like my critique/praise of your poem!
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
hi there :P

oh, i'm so glad you did! yes, that's what i hoped would happen! :D

ah, yes, interesting interpretation! i like it :)

i do! i do very much :D thanks for taking the time! and thanks so much for the fav., it's most appreciated
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:iconaiyemoran:
aiyemoran Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
you are very welcome!
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:iconmeerkat14:
meerkat14 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
i love the repetition in this. it completely pulls the poem together, it is fantastic. even though it is repetition, it doesn't get repetitive, if that makes any sense at all!

it transcended the visual, in the manner that i could see it behind my eyes (so i guess it was still visual but in a different way). but then again - that's the mark of a good writing, in my eyes, that it plays a movie in my mind.

it is a beautiful poem and an ugly poem. the imagery is ugly, but in a beautiful way, and the concept is beautiful in an ugly way. again, if that makes any sense.

has the comment monster been satisfied? love this poem.
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
ah, thank you! yes, i think so...i like to think it's kinda like waves on sand :P

ooo, how interesting! i'm glad it wa sso vivid for you :)

yes, i see what you mean. i guess it's the unnaturalness of it all?

hahahah, indeed it has. THANK YOU. still, i don't know what imma do with only one leg D:
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:iconmeerkat14:
meerkat14 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
become a merman/maid! that's what i'd do.

drowning is a very unusual topic for an anthology. are the poems all literal drowning and water, or are some metaphorical in nature?
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2011
hahaha, this sounds like a truly excellent plan!

well, i've had a very strange relationship with water and drowning for a very long time...i was born in water so being in it feels like coming home in a lot of ways...and i find my poetry turns back to it again and again.

some are, some aren't. all are metaphorical though, even this one; some are just more obvious than others :P
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:iconmeerkat14:
meerkat14 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2011
ah, i kind of understand what you mean in your relationship with water... in regards to snow. although i don't tend to write about snow. but snow feels like home more than any building, or person, if that is what you mean?

these sound like very interesting poems and a very interesting anthology!
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2011
oh wow, how come? if you don't mind me asking... yes, it's a very primal feeling, i think...

hahah, i hope so! thank you!
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:iconmeerkat14:
meerkat14 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2011
i'm not sure why i don't tend to write about snow... but i feel so close to snow because i've been a snowboarder since i was six years old, and everytime something bad has ever happened, snowboarding has fixed it. i guess i don't tend to write about it because it's almost too personal, eh?
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2011
ah yes, i see... this is very true... i tried to not write about drowning/water for a while cos it's such a wierd fixation and few understand it. but you can always harness the emotions it inspires? :)
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:icondarkpriest11:
Darkpriest11 Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011
i really like the idea of mermen pretending to be human, you could write a story about it.

i also like the sound of 'the drowned pages' just a thought but maybe include something about the death of Frederick Barbarossa who drowned while on crusade.

would you mind if i write a poem on the same concept but with different themes? i would of course link it back to your original.
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011
thank you! and thanks so much for the fav. as well :D

yes, it'd be a very interesting novel...

i just had a little google and yes, a very bizarre/ironic death; i like it!

i would quite frankly be honoured :) and i'd love to see the finished product :D
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:icondarkpriest11:
Darkpriest11 Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011
[link]

there is the poem i made, it probably has some errors i only just finished it but once the ideas start i had to write.

please tell me what you think.
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
will do :D
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