Tuesday, 6 April 2010


This morning I found a poem about a swimming pool for the blog. 
Then Mslexia arrived, as I said in my last post. In it there's a poem by Moniza Alvi, which I decided to include instead.
The poem describes a gruesome event, I felt unsettled after reading it. When I looked up the painting Alvi was writing from, it explains the poem's brutality. In the magazine, Alvi talks to Colette Bryce about what motivated her to write the poem.


(after the painting by Tabitha Vevers)

About human love,
                               she knew nothing.

I'll show you he promised.
But first you need legs.

And he held up
                        a knife

with the sharpest of tips
to the ripeness of her emerald tail.

She danced an involuntary dance,
           twitching with fear.

           he slit

down the muscular length
exposing the bone in its red canal.

She played dead on the rock

         dead by the blue lagoon
         dead to the ends of her divided tail.

He fell on her, sunk himself deep
into the apex.

Then he fled
                      on his human legs.

Human love cried the sea,
the sea in her head.

Moniza Alvi

from Europa (Bloodaxe).


  1. that is truly heart-rending.
    thanks for sharing

  2. Have you read any Marina Warner? She has some wondeful and thoughtful pieces on myths including Mermaids, like this poem they make you think of the brutality behind many a 'fairy story'.

  3. Cuts straight to my heart. We ache for what we know is not good for us when we think we are in love. Sea Witch