Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
The Mermaid
By Archibald Sullivan (1886–1921)
THERE is a Mermaid in the Bay
And she hath called me forth to sup
To eat the white flesh of the moon
And drain the tide from out her cup,
Her table is amid the rocks        5
And all the day her arms swing free
A-gathering in the threads o’ foam
To weave a supper cloth for me.
There is a Mermaid in the Bay
And she hath trapped the phantom gulls        10
And caught the silver fish that dart
Like coins through the ship-wrecked hulls.
But loud she calls ‘What boots a feast
That shows no cloth whereon to spread
The scarlet sunset of my wine,        15
The pallid starlight of my bread?’
There is a Mermaid in the Bay
And from this golden lip of land
I watch her labouring ’mid the foam
With seaweed hair and pearly hand,        20
Though all the waves like caravans
Bring silver threads and tapestry,
Each one draws back its merchandise
And seeks the desert of the sea.
There is a Mermaid in the Bay,        25
But till her supper cloth is done,
Pale fringed with tassels of the dawn
Gold hemmed with threads of summer sun,
God wots I wait her on the land,
Until I hear the seaweeds stir        30
And know it is His saintly will
I should go forth to sup with her.

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