• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 08

The Pond Dweller’s Story

Limestone is a clock, its degradation
the slow tick recording ancient events.
Old stories. Ice age, flood and retraction.

Seashells crackled under geologic weight:
compacted into rock, bedded down
even as the great ocean retreated.

Far from the kiss-me-quick chatter of coasts,
rain scarred escarpments tell a history
of desertion in bluff tongues of limestone.

Those shells weren't the only ones left behind.

Other castaways stayed – my kind were such,
clinging grimly to growling rock pools.
If we'd sense we'd have gone with the ocean,

stayed with our multitude of mer-people.
Instead we remained loyal to small pools
turned our back on the blue and starry sea.

Adapting through the evaporation,
precipitation, desalination,
we learned to feast in floods, sleep in the mud.

Secure in our wish for isolation.

There are no seasons to the seven seas.
No drought or plenty. Unlike stagnant ponds.
Ponds are where running water goes to die.


The Pond Dweller’s Story

We have many names: Nix, Naiads, Nymue,
Coventina, Abandinus, Sulis...
The inbred cousins of sirens: pond sprites.

We are the ancient mud and reed dwellers.
You hear our voice in squelch and ricochet;
smell our breath in nostalgia and decay.

Perhaps we are the oldest in your land?

We won't be seen – we're camouflaged too well.
Not gaudy like extroverted mermen
swimming this way and that at liberty!

We'd rather wriggle down in warm pond ooze
to wait and see what comes along to eat:
a green frog, dry toad, slippery newt,

maybe a silty tasting tench or carp?
We live in mud – and we're soiled by our choice
to isolate ourselves from all others.