The fisherman trawled the empty sea,
silently praying to the great god Llyr
to keep the ocean storms at bay
as he cast his nets by night and day.

In the heat of the sun
and the glow of the moon
he hauled in rotting, barnacled hulls,
and filled his decks with sailors’skulls.

Drawing his nets aboard once more,
heading for the distant shore,
a voice behind him softly said,
'I’ll tell you why the fish have fled.'

He turned around and saw her there,
tangled seaweed fronds for hair,
pearly skin of shimmering scales,
instead of legs, a fish's tail.

The Mermaid brushed away a tear,
her surf washed tones were cool and clear,
'Human beings are blind with greed
and rape the seas in selfish need.

Gone the playful dolphin schools,
no otters in the briny rock filled pools,
no puffins dive for golden eels,
no herring for the sleek grey seals.

The haddock and the cod are gone,
the rivers see no salmon born,
no flocks of noisy, shrieking gulls,
all victims of the trawlers' cull.

Fish then human, fish in vain
for fish you'll never see again,
fish through all the seven seas
and never learn the ocean's mysteries.

Salmon feeding in the sacred pool
fed the hero Finn MacCoul,
gave him wisdom unsurpassed,
wisdom humans cannot grasp.

The fish have gone to the Fisher King,
beneath the rock where the Sirens sing
of empty seas and harvests spent,
telling the tale of the Mermaid's lament.

©Doreen Hopwood