"I must be a Mermaid, because

I have no fear of depth and a

great fear of shallow living."

-ANIAS NIN

 

Mermaid Tavern

by John Keats

 

Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host's Canary wine?
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of venison? O generous food!
Drest as though bold Robin Hood
Would, with his maid Marian,
Sup and bowse from horn and can.

I have heard that on a day
Mine host's sign-board flew away,
Nobody knew whither, till
An astrologer's old quill
To a sheepskin gave the story,
Said he saw you in your glory,
Underneath a new old sign
Sipping beverage divine,
And pledging with contented smack
The Mermaid in the Zodiac.

Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?

 

Mermaids Explained

Real Mermaids

Mermaid Myths

From Manatees to Mermaids

Korean Mermaids

Mermaids in Movies

Melissa the Mermaid

Mermaid Myth and Legend

The Mermaid Effect

Mermaid Symbolism and Iconography

 

 

The Mermaid
by William Butler Yeats


A mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown.

 

Mermaids Explained

Real Mermaids

Mermaid Myths

From Manatees to Mermaids

Korean Mermaids

Mermaids in Movies

Melissa the Mermaid

Mermaid Myth and Legend

The Mermaid Effect

 

Mermaid Song
by Kim Addonizio


Damp-haired from the bath,

you drape yourself upside down

across the sofa, reading,
one hand idly sunk into a bowl
of crackers, goldfish with smiles stamped on.
I think they are growing gills, swimming
up the sweet air to reach you. Small girl,
my slim miracle, they multiply.
In the black hours when I lie sleepless,
near drowning, dread-heavy, your face
is the bright lure I look for, love's hook
piercing me, hauling me cleanly up.

 

Mermaids Explained

Real Mermaids

Mermaid Myths

From Manatees to Mermaids

Korean Mermaids

Mermaids in Movies

Melissa the Mermaid

Mermaid Myth and Legend

The Mermaid Effect

 

 

Diaries of a Mermaid
by Zeinab Sherif


Everyday, i roam around the reef and think
Think of the lighted arrows which warm me
I hear above voices of people laughing and crying, so i take a wink
Then i became curious 2 know

the world outside the sea
I thought that their world was

beautiful and  pink
So, i felt jealous, unsatisfied and not free

Sometimes, when the shore

is empty and calm
I get closer 2 enjoy the balm
I find a little girl throwing to the sea

a simple wish
Hoping that it would be caught by some fish

I have too many questions in my soul
I wonder if people are living by a rule?
Are they happy and enjoying this world?
Or are they sad and feeling bored?

 


 

Mermaid Tavern

Mermaid Symbolism

Mermaids and Lesbians

 

But i'm mad from their deeds
Why do they kill my friends

and prohibit me from my needs
We are weak but beautiful creatures
They know that the beauty of the sea is reflected on their features

We love the beauty

and that's why the lord created us here
and serving man is our duty
we never worry about the next hour,

day or year

but at the end of the day
i walk with my friends and we play
i thank god 2 be in this small world
among my friends and family

which are my sword
and i return back and with the waves i sway
 

Mermaids Explained

Real Mermaids

Mermaid Myths

From Manatees to Mermaids

Korean Mermaids

Mermaids in Movies

Melissa the Mermaid

Mermaid Myth and Legend

The Mermaid Effect

 

 

Ballad: The Mermaid
by Renu Rakheja


Quiver of a smile touched her face
She spoke with her emerald green eyes
He was hit by a sudden flash as she gazed
Suddenly comprehending that she was a mermaid in disguise

In a swift moment, clouds besieged the sky
Bolts of thunder and fierce winds

started to blow
As they looked up, angry rain

greeted them out to defy
The lightning gave them

a strange eerie glow

He took her hand and they started to run
Towards some shelter where they

could get an escape
A new chapter unfolding,

a new turn of events had begun
He turned towards her and saw

that her body was all scraped

 



He devoured her with his eyes

from head to toe
Her tumbling black hair, her limpid eyes
Her heaving breasts, her glistening

silvery white skin aglow
Her wonderfully arched back,

her creamy thighs

She looked at him in wonder,

her first brush with a man
A sudden wave of longing

coursed through her veins
Broad muscular chest and lean torso

with a bronzed tan
Close proximity letting their

pheromones reign

He touched her on the arms

where she had got bruised
Don't worry, I will take you home

and put a balm
Tracing his hands on her body,

her cheeks getting suffused
And we shall get some clothes

for this beautiful ma'am

They looked out and saw that

the storm had passed
The sky had become red,

the time nearing five
A tinge of remembrance

of her previous life got overcast
on her face, was this a rebirth?

Or was it an end of a life?

 

Mermaid Tavern

Mermaid Symbolism

Mermaids and Lesbians


 

Little Mermaid
by Premji Premji


O Little mermaid!

I still live because of you
and I am still in love,
just because of you!

I met you last summer vacation,
on a sea shore…
Remember the lovely breeze
playing with your black cascade
and the sun lost in your eyes!

Alone in thoughts, I live in this city
and the winter pierces my woolen clothes.
Afraid of my eyes losing vision,
but even in any stark darkness,
I can see you through your eyes!


My ears melt in noise,
but even in any ocean of noise
I can listen to your heart...
You know it beats for me...
The sweet melodies you were singing,
make waves in my mind,
though I couldn't understand,
love made it clear!


When feeling your face in my mind,
me being on the top of a mountain,
watching the lovely moon,
floating on the lake down,
playing with the ripples,
but my moon is bitter
without you!

 



In nothingness everything exists,
but in you: the whole world!
Cosmic sound echoes in your silence,
and I know you are nothing but love!
Sometimes I pilgrim through your mind,
that makes everything pleasant,
that makes me feel cared
and your love is something
that soothes my soul!

We love and live for love,
we love and live for the world!
But the wounds they give,
who is going to heel?

I am going to tell the world,
You are love…love...love...
We love and live for love,
we love and live for the world!
O Little mermaid!

 

Mermaids Explained

Real Mermaids

Mermaid Myths

From Manatees to Mermaids

Korean Mermaids

Mermaids in Movies

Melissa the Mermaid

Mermaid Myth and Legend

The Mermaid Effect

 

 

Myth of Mermaids
 

Mermaids (or Sirens) are mythological water creatures (or spirits) that have appeared in the folklore and popular culture of almost every sea fearing civilizations during the last few thousand years. Often depicted as beautiful women with lower portion of body resembling fish tail, these legendary creatures managed to create around them both the atmosphere of romantic myths and horror stories. In the beginning, mermaids represented the unknown of the sea, dangers of open water, and unexplored water territories, but as our culture and science evolved to modern state, mermaids and sirens took a firm hold in our imagination and became part of art and media.

As the early human civilization formed around the rivers and seas, their religion often had a great focus on the dangers and wonders that were hid in them. Because of that some of the earliest known gods were depicted as some combination of men and fish, with 7000 year old Babylonian god Ea (bringer of knowledge, arts and sciences, later known as Oannes by the Greeks) being first one. As the time went on female sea gods appeared, and the first one that had the greatest resemblance to the mermaid was Assyriangoddess Astargatis, who decided to hide herself from the mortals after she accidentally killed one of them. After diving below water to become fish, sea refused to hide her beauty and decided to not transform upper half of her body. Greeks adopted some parts of her origin, morphing her into Aphrodite. The clearest example of merfolk in Greek mythology was the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite called Triton, who is most often shown as mermen who blow the conch shell while riding the sea waves.

 



 

Stella the Siren: Real Life Mermaid

Watch Real Mermaids Swimming

Mermaid Melissa: Swimming With Dolphins

Stella the Siren: Do You Believe in Mermaids?

 

As the myth about mermaids spread across the world, various cultures adopted many traits to them, sometimes creating creatures with vastly different attitudes toward the mortals. Greeks for example feared mermaids, and they called them sirens - dangerous creatures who lured the sailors to the sea with their songs and drowned them. Similar superstition was present on British Isles where sailors regarded mermaids, sirens and sea nymphs as evil spirits of the sea and bad omens (sighting the mermaid represented the coming of the storm, sinking of the ship and almost always eventual death of the person who saw them).


Many however accepted mermaids as the good willed creatures that are extremely shy but also very curious about life above the sea. Chinese legends speak that tears of elusive sirens form the most beautiful pearls on Earth, Chinese sailors thought that sirens can grant immortality to the worthy man, and Irish held belief that mermaids are calling the sailors to the sea with their songs as the sign of love. Persian viewed mermaids not as half fish, but also as complete human beings that were able to live in the sea. In the many stories that were written about them (even in the famous collection of folk tales One Thousand and One Nights) there are depicted as beautiful men and women who can have children with ordinary people, and their children can also live in the sea if they want so.

 



Another source of mermaid popularity was their elusive nature and constant stream of sightings that was promoted in media. Dozens of highly publicized sightings from all four corners in the world kept the myth of the sirens fresh in the public minds, and even fake or manipulated findings of dead merfolk bodies did not managed to shatter their popularity.

The biggest driving force of mermaid popularization came in 1836 with the fairytale "The Little Mermaid" written by Hans Christian Andersen. This work of fiction that describes the quest of mermaid princess to come to the land solidified mermaids as the popular mythological creatures, and all the future media work had this fairytale as their basis.
 

[Source: Real Mermaids]

 

Mermaid Tavern

Mermaid Symbolism

Mermaids and Lesbians

 

 

 

 

 

Mermaids Explained

Real Mermaids

Mermaid Myths

From Manatees to Mermaids

Korean Mermaids

Mermaids in Movies

Melissa the Mermaid

Mermaid Myth and Legend

The Mermaid Effect

Mermaid Symbolism and Iconography

 

 

"She is a Mermaid,

but approach her with caution;

Her mind swims at depths

most would drown in."

-J. IRON WORD

 

Mermaid
by Shel Silverstein


Hey when I was a lad in fishing town

an old man said to me
You can spend your life your jolly life

just sailing on the sea
Now you can search the world for pretty girls

till your eyes are weak and dim
But don't go swimming with the mermaid son

if you don't know how to swim
If you don't know how to swim
For her hair is green as seaweed

and her skin is blue and pale
And I tell you now before you start

you can love that girl with all your heart
But you're just gonna love the upper part

you're not gonna like the tail

So I signed onto a whaling ship

and my very first day at sea
I seen a mermaid in the waves

reaching out to me
Come live with me in the sea said she

and down on the ocean's floor
I'll show you a million wondrous things

you never seen before
Oh you never seen before
So over I jumped and she pulled me down

down to her seaweed bed
And the pillow made of tortoise shell

she placed beneath my head
She fed me shrimps and caviar

upon the silver dish
From her head to her waist she was my taste but the bottom part was a fish
Oh her bottom part was a fish
Oh her hair were green as seaweed

her eyes were blue and pale
And I loved that girl with all my heart

I vowed we'd never part
But I knew the back was not too smart

cause I did not like the tail

 

And then one day when I looked up

I saw a sailin' ship
And I met the stare of a millionaire

out on a fishing trip
A diamond ring he tied to a string

and lowered it down to the water
And my love divine she went for his line

and that was the way he caught her
Yes that was the way he caught her
So I sat and cried to the tide same

to the clams and whales
How I missed my love her seaweed hair

and the silvery shine of her scales.
Just then her sister swam on by

and set my heart awhirl
For her upper part was an ugly old fish

but the bottom part was girl
Yes the bottom part was girl
Yes her knees are pink and rosy

and her toes are small and frail
Her body it's a work of art

and I love that girl with all my heart
And I don't give a damn about the upper part and that's how I end my tale

 

Mermaids Explained

Real Mermaids

Mermaid Myths

From Manatees to Mermaids

Korean Mermaids

Mermaids in Movies

Melissa the Mermaid

Mermaid Myth and Legend

The Mermaid Effect

Mermaid Symbolism and Iconography

 

Mermaid Quotes
 

"I must be a Mermaid. I have no fear of depth and a great fear of shallow living."
-Anias Nin

"She would be half the world away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by the moonlight."
-Janet Fitch

"Who says that my dreams have to stay just my dreams?"
-Ariel, The Little Mermaid

 

 

"Come on down to the mermaid café. And I will buy you a bottle of wine. And we'll laugh and toast to nothing. And smash our empty glasses down."
-Joni Mitchell

"She is water, powerful enough to drown you, soft enough to cleanse you, deep enough to heal you."
-Adrian Michael

"She is a Mermaid, but approach her with caution, her mind swims at depths most would drown in."
-
J. Iron Word

 

"I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me."
-TS Eliot, Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

 

Mermaids Explained

Real Mermaids

Mermaid Myths

From Manatees to Mermaids

Korean Mermaids

Mermaids in Movies

Melissa the Mermaid

Mermaid Myth and Legend

The Mermaid Effect

 

The Mermaid
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

Who would be a mermaid fair,
Singing alone, combing her hair
Under the sea, in a golden curl
With a comb of pearl, on a throne?

I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
And still as I comb'd I would sing and say,
'Who is it loves me? who loves not me?'
I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall
Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown
Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold
Springing alone
With a shrill inner sound
Over the throne
In the midst of the hall;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate,

and look in at the gate
With his large calm eyes for the love of me.
And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.

 


 

Mermaid Tavern

Mermaid Symbolism

Mermaids and Lesbians

 

But at night I would wander away, away,
I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks,
And lightly vault from the throne and play
With the mermen in and out of the rocks;
We would run to and fro, and hide and seek,
On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson shells,
Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea.
But if any came near I would call and shriek,
And adown the steep like a wave I would leap
From the diamond-ledges

that jut from the dells;
For I would not be kiss'd by all who would list
Of the bold merry mermen under the sea.
They would sue me, and woo me,

and flatter me,
In the purple twilights under the sea;
But the king of them all would carry me,
Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
In the branching jaspers under the sea.
Then all the dry-pied things that be
In the hueless mosses under the sea
Would curl round my silver feet silently,
All looking up for the love of me.
And if I should carol aloud, from aloft
All things that are forked,

and horned, and soft
Would lean out from the hollow sphere

of the sea,
All looking down for the love of me.

 

 

Mermaids Explained

Real Mermaids

Mermaid Myths

From Manatees to Mermaids

Korean Mermaids

Mermaids in Movies

Melissa the Mermaid

Mermaid Myth and Legend

The Mermaid Effect

Mermaid Symbolism and Iconography

 

Mermaid
by Hazel Durham


She holds the concave shell to her ear,
Listening to the sea breeze whistling so near,
Relishing the sea soaked ambience,
As time takes a step backwards,
To many years ago, to her ex-fiance,
His complex nature of arrogance,
With his soul always ready to dance,
Through the silk sheet's of her mind
Full of their romance,
He had the power to put her into

a captivating trance,
She had found in him, her father's steely, foreboding charm,
That chased her insecurities back to their darkened farm.

The wildness and strength of her beloved sea,
Held the key to her past,
But she couldn't outrun it's destruction that fast,
She was here to compete first with her sibling's,
Then later with the world which she made sing,
It was all about her,
Like a cat ready to pounce or purr,
She traveled to her overseas retreat,
Of a hot climate with plenty of men to meet,
Judging them against her father's

stoical command,
Searching for a part of her

that had gone missing,
And it couldn't be found on land,
A sense of belonging in a world

that doesn't understand.

 



Blue seas of unpredictable behavior,
White surfy waves vanishing

on the sandy beach,
All again within her reach,
Looking for a lover to lead her

back to the beginning,
Of never feeling at home anywhere,
And the end result she was never winning.
She is a mermaid of the deep watery depths,
Where the vastness soothes

her impulsive soul,
Of freedom of deviance so bold,
Allowing her into the sanctuary

of the sea's mighty fold.

 

Mermaids Explained

Real Mermaids

Mermaid Myths

From Manatees to Mermaids

Korean Mermaids

Mermaids in Movies

Melissa the Mermaid

Mermaid Myth and Legend

The Mermaid Effect

Mermaid Symbolism and Iconography

 

Mermaid History

Originally, Greeks considered Mermaids half woman and half bird, but, considering that all mythical stories are constantly changing along tradition, then we find that Mermaids become half fish and half woman after a dispute with the Muses, their aunts from the genealogic point of view. In ancient texts, Mermaids appear not alone but in a group of two or three and not only in the water but sitting on reefs waiting for the arrival of ships. The description of the Triton is similar, son of the sea God Poseidon for the Greeks and Neptune for the Romans. Triton was a creature with the upper part of the body with the shape of a man and the lower part with a fish tail. Triton had the power to tame the turbulent waters blowing a shell.

If we look back at history, we see that the first Mermaids appeared for the first time painted on caves in the late Paleolithic (Stone Age), about 30,000 years ago, when human beings had a strong control of the land and began to sail the sea.

 



The Greek name “Seirén” is related in meaning to a rope, and Mermaids would be something like “the ones that tie or grab”, mainly sailors tempting and enchanting them with the sweetness of their songs. Those songs were irresistible and they fascinate anyone as their melodies were full of promises, hence the literary expression “Siren song”. Throughout history, we can see that such attraction was not only united to a tuneful singing but also to their femininity. This being is always characterized by living between two worlds, sea and earth, or between life and death because we also find Mermaids as funeral emblems accompanying with their singing those who began their journey to the afterlife. It is clear that the first written text talking about Mermaids is the Odyssey, but as a legend or oral story, we find more Mermaids in other parts of the world. In the Middle East, the first stories where Mermaids appeared are found in Assyria in the year 1000 BC where Atargatis, a Syrian goddess who ruled the seas, was consecrated and worshiped with fish in temples full of large ponds. In China, many Chinese mythology tales talk about Mermaids as wonderful, skilled and versatile beings, whose tears become pearls. Mermaids are also found in Romanesque columns, sharing prominence with the Nereids and the Harpies.

 

Mermaid Tavern

Mermaid Symbolism

Mermaids and Lesbians

 


In Ireland we find the Merrows, a species whose females are the equivalent of Mermaids, excepting for membranes in their hands. In the Scottish mythology there is the Ceasg, the “maid of waves,” a special mermaid whose lower half is a salmon. In Wales a legend says that in the sixth century a mermaid called Murga, which means “woman who comes from the sea”, was captured. She was taught to speak the native language, and she learned to sew and talk, but she never lost the ability of living in the water. In Spain, there is a famous legend about the “Sirenuca” from Cantabria, a mermaid that had once been human. Her mother was fed up with her disobediences about the ban to go to the cliffs screamed “God grant that you become a fish” and that’s the way it was.

One of the most famous sighting was done by Christopher Columbus himself, who wrote in his logbook that he had seen three mermaids, but they were not as beautiful as they are represented, which somehow they had the face of a man. This assessment is ideal to illustrate the theory that the alleged sightings of mermaids have usually been sightings of manatees, walruses and other animals.


But the literary text that introduced Mermaids in history was the “Odyssey” written by Homer, who explains how the hero Ulysses had himself tied to the mast of his boat in order to listen the mermaids songs without any danger, although he is not the only one who managed to be uninjured, the Argo ship crew commanded by Jason was also unharmed. They managed to escape from the bewitching melodies thanks to a great musician called Orpheus, son of Apollo, who traveled with them and who with a magical song managed to avoid Mermaids.

 



 

Stella the Siren: Real Life Mermaid

Watch Real Mermaids Swimming

Mermaid Melissa: Swimming With Dolphins

Stella the Siren: Do You Believe in Mermaids?

 

That seductive singing was considered by Christians as an incitement to lust. Later, the Mermaids seduction stopped being something people could hear in order to become something more visual. Now, the images that represent Mermaids are the ones of Ladies of Water, very beautiful and showing provocative gestures to those who glimpsed at them. With all that, German Romantic poets, used to talk about monsters and wonders found in Mermaids a new motif. It is at that time when lonely mermaids were discovered solitary in Germanic rivers, and they were also confused with the Naiads and Undines. Sometimes they kept using their voice as a seductive weapon but other times it was their beauty that was attracting as one could see them in a corner while looking themselves at the mirror and brushing their long hair. Instead, the post-Romantic painters imagined them more aggressive, jumping themselves over the sailors from the sea; it was the typical image of “Femme Fatale” of the nineteenth century. In contrast, romanticism also created a kind of amorous mermaid desiring to change and become a woman, changing her tail for legs. The story of “The Little Mermaid” written by Hans Christian Andersen is a clear example of this.

So when modernizing, mermaids become an echo of the old seductive creatures, everything mythical evaporates and even trivializes, therefore from the ‘Sirenas Mediterranean Academy’ we want to give to that figure of mermaids all the lost magic and mysticism, as a vehicle for teaching the marine world and the history and stories of the “Mare Nostrum”, the Mediterranean Sea.

[Source: Sirenas Mediterranean Academy, 2015]

MERMAID TAVERN  Creative Project of the Queer Cafe | Q 2020