The Turtle and the Rusty Mermaid

I bring you all tidings of Spring! I had the opportunity to visit my modern-day Walden over the weekend, and my family even took the boat out on the choppy water.

I was so inspired by the beauty of nature (but depressed about events back home), I scribed a poem while in retreat. It is both literal and allegorical. You figure it out.


The Turtle and the Rusty Mermaid


A turtle was sunning on a smooth, water-worn rock

As soon as it glimpsed me, it hit the water and swam away to the dock.

Hiding in its shell with nowhere to go,

Mr. Turtle keeps himself close to his essence and ego.


Do you remember the day we chased ducks with the motor of the boat?

We were alone on the lake without any plans except to swim, relax, and float.

I took the mermaid décor off the boat’s window latch this afternoon.

She has rusted and served her purpose, guiding from July until June.


But I carried the rusty siren to the tiny house in the middle of the forest;

Hung her up on a wooden beam to lure new friends to the hut for rest.

Perhaps the shack in the woods serves as my terrapin shell;

It safeguards me from enemies and those of whom inflict the most hell.


I allowed the sun to dry my hair like the mermaid’s waves;

Solar energy recharges one after a bitter Spring and the water saves.

The glistening lake offers a buffer between my boat and the shore;

Far away from cruelty, this paradise will never bore.


Once we’ve docked for the evening, we retreat to the special nook in the dark;

The walls encircle us with their simplistic grandeur of bark.

Being in nature allows the soul to tap into the cosmic vibration

Yet too long away from civilization yield the turtle and the mermaid to ruination.


As I journeyed back to town, I realized the embattlement of my generation;

It took crossing the pond to sense our intimacy had gone the wayside in the modernity of civilization.

I hide in my turtle shell, a rusty mermaid longing for the next lakeside vacation;

And pray the Lord restoreth his flock and protects us from intimidation.


To poke one’s head and tail, braving each urban day before friend or foe,

Our bonds cement like the dock at sunset beneath the wings of the crow.

Wood, steel, and fishing nets withstand the squall on the water’s surface,

The boats and passengers are the variables, and whatever luxuries they purchase.


If dam-keepers were to drain the savage watery machine would they find

Corpses, aviators, glass bottles, broken sharp-plastic too tough to grind?

Or perhaps something more spiritual manifests at the bottom of the lake,

For how many men have lost their souls aboard a ship floating on the jetty’s wake?


A part of me will never be the same again, though my rusty mermaid did I save.

Flotsam and jetsam of tallied sin I’ve mired will I take to my sea grave.

The buoyancy of time’s degradation makes it easier to escape to the cabin on the lake

Believe it be the age’s corruption which cannot penetrate on a sailor’s shoulders the sun baked.


I haven’t penned a poem in years! Here’s a picture of my lovely turtle, Ellie. The poem was inspired by true events, like actually seeing a different turtle on a rock at the shore this past weekend.

Ellie the turtle

Next time I go to my sanctuary in the woods, I will take a picture of the actual rusty mermaid for this blog. I’m planning a trip for this upcoming weekend to celebrate my birthday while in awe of nature.

“There are also a clean race of frogs and tortoises, and a few mussels in it; muskrats and minks leave their traces about it, and occasionally a travelling mud-turtle visits it. Sometimes, when I pushed off my boat in the morning, I disturbed a great mud-turtle which had secreted himself under the boat in the night.”-Henry David Thoreau, Walden



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