what we risk in the process

chunks of night in pools
under my feet, i try walking around them,
husband covered– coughing,
with a feather blanket on the couch,
scarf round his neck, steaming cup of tea,
my daughter rolled up, like a cat,

against me. i read fairy tales, H.C.
Andersen, The Little Mermaid, & we’re gripped
by the story of this girl who
set it all on one card, tongue
for legs, for a prince,

no ticket back, & lost everything

tides raise, waves swap high,
roaring wind blows in my face, 30/
40 minutes “didn’t know this was so long”,
i say, “wanna break?”
“nah, read on–“, beyond

the last line, all the pools fall silent,
seaweed washes against my ancles,
ship planks broken on the ground,
“this is brutal”

says my daughter, but you never know the end
until you get there, &
she hugs me, strolls back to her room–

froth creeps up my knees, moon’s
milky face, multiplied in every wave, stares
back at me, (a loud cough
from the couch), i blink

“did i ever tell you,
i’m a mermaid actually?”
“oh, i thought you were, what did you give up
then to get me–?”

“i can’t tell you,
that would break the spell, right?”

“you still have your tongue–”
i roll my eyes, “well observed”,
& i may kiss you wild & passionate, your highness,
germs or not.”


there may be no mermaids and princes over in the dVerse pub tonight, but surely lots and lots of cool poetry and wonderful passionate poets…so make sure to stop by at 3pm EST when Brian plugs in the mic..


90 responses to “what we risk in the process

  1. …ha, this is really cute Claudia…. i like the conversations you had here… true to think how pots of gold were laid for those who dared to follow the rainbow…just like when it reads there: “but you never know the end until you get there”…something magical & fairy-like moment when i read that particular line… really nice feel.. and then the association of mermaid thing to self and the keeping of secrets made the whole scene really appealing and natural… great write… smiles…

  2. So wonderful to have an evening full of fairy tales. And your description is like a fairy tale too, only nicer ’cause it’s real sprinkled with pieces of your imagination. Enjoyed reading this. Hope Hubby feels better, and that you all have a good weekend.

  3. smiles…even with the hubby sick you still make it magic…nice blend of the fiary tale…and then making it your own story as well…the end is heart warming…the reslity in the middle is great as well…life is not all smiles and rainbows…but there is still joy for the day….hope hubs is feeling better now…

  4. This lovely and so very familiar but way in the past, C … I don’t know why I’m crying right now … well, yes, I do know … this too will pass … Love, cat.

  5. So much fun to read those fairy tales at any age, isnt it, Claudia? And true that you don’t know the ending until you get there….Just like life!

  6. It struck me how this fairy tail puts this reality into a child’s mind- how true to life, how exactly it sometimes happens in life, no apologies. It’s respectful of them, more so than the happily ever after ending we’ve morphed to. I liked how you offered us this bit of your family life as well.

  7. you never know the end till you get there…isn’t that the truth…another wonderful moment spent as a fly on the wall of your happy home…the warmth and love of family shines through once again…

  8. Pingback: what we risk in the process « Eric M. Vogt's Blog

  9. This was a fine work of art. You built the theme and word pictures stroke by stroke, line by line. I believe we all are mermaids and mermen of a sort. We may give up some cherished dreams but we gain so much when we do it. The Big Dream called Our Life. Once again a wonderful poem, Claudia! 😀 Eric

  10. LOL! Haven’t read you in a while, Claudia, and I am glad I didn’t miss this. This is wonderful….and genuine….the dialogue is just…well, real and wonderful.

    Lady Nyo

  11. O, I hope the narrator is you because I found the time in the home enchanting–the story, the loss, the pools of night and the milky froth and the possibilities. So nice to be at home and at one with the people in it!

  12. ‘froth creeps up my knees, moon’s
    milky face, multiplied in every wave, stares
    back at me..’ – i adore these lines so much. amazing imagery as always Claudia..much enjoyed this sparkling piece~

  13. Love this, it reminds me of those horrible wet days when my mum and dad would sometimes read to us and we could end up listening to a whole book if we begged hard enough for them to carry on 🙂

    • John, just letting you know (by using Claudia’s Word Press) that I made a comment in your blog. The first time I comment on someone’s it seems my words go into spam. Please check your spam and ‘approve’ me.

  14. A charming juxtaposition, the interplay between the real and the fantastical. Plus, that bedrock of intimacy, of everyday magic (the best kind), to keep it all flowing on. Lovely, Claudia.

  15. hmmm…you do still have your tongue 😉 …one that tells wonderful tales.. as well as reads them…we had a Sunday of the old Danny Kaye movies here beginning with HCA…the man’s stories were such a part of my childhood….

  16. tried to comment last night on my phone, wanted too many passwords 😉

    but basically, really liked the blend of imagery, the background cough that would make itself the foreground, even if for an instant, and the line about your girl,

    “says my daughter, but you never know the end
    until you get there…”

    all in all, so good to read 😉

  17. I do love how you’ve opened here with chunks of night in pools under your feet. Great image. I don’t know that I’ve been able to maintain that same magic I used to feel with reading when I was a kid, but I’d like to get it back. You make me want to grab another world and jump in 🙂

  18. Wow, this one is deep. The things we sacrifice to pursue our own fairy tales, price charmings, etc…having a hard time summing it up, there is so much to it. I really liked how you didn’t reveal what you had to give up because it would break the spell. Just brilliant. Probably my favorite of yours so far.

  19. just lovely, Claudia, i like how the fairy tale gets woven into a tapestry called living reality… the final exchange added a nice touch, & put a smile on my face as well

  20. the little mermaid — that us the original non Disney version — has always been a favorite of mine. I actually have an animated version of the tale; it’s definitely not the happily ever after version.

    your words really conjure up some intriguing images. I love the end.

  21. You weave that spe cial magic of yours even in the ordinary…and I love that notion of never knowing the end til u get there. Reminds me warmly of my childhood and my mom reading from the Blue Fairy Book. Hope hubby is mending. I enjoyed this 🙂 xo

  22. oh, i LOVE this, Claudia! definitely one of my favorites! especially love how you interspersed the fairy tale imagery with that of your actual surroundings! and the ending ain’t bad either! {smile}

  23. fantastic Claudia. Dialog is crisp, love it. The origin allusion to the foam and the water, brilliant wove. And perhaps minor, yet I love how the 30/40 stands out in how you chose the numerals over the words, just adds another something to what is quite an excellent piece. Thanks

  24. So beautiful Claudia… and that cold weather feel at the opening of the poem made me long for a cool change… sweltering here!

  25. “froth creeps up my knees, moon’s
    milky face, multiplied in every wave, stares
    back at me” — fave bit (like my sis Shawna said too…). And love teh dialogue at the end

  26. I love the non-Disney version of the Little Mermaid. Love the ending to this, but since I just got over the worst soar throat of my life, I don’t recommend it 🙂

  27. Doesn’t sound like germs get him much, do they. Mermaid, indeed. You have that wonderful sense of humor I am all too familiar with…my own! Love this and if I were you I would stay away from the germ until he is better. 🙂

  28. “did i ever tell you,
    i’m a mermaid actually?”
    “oh, i thought you were, what did you give up
    then to get me–?”

    “i can’t tell you,
    that would break the spell, right?”

    “you still have your tongue–”
    i roll my eyes, “well observed”,
    & i may kiss you wild & passionate, your highness,
    germs or not.”

    Hi! Claudia…
    Another [very descriptive] family moment…wrapped up in the reading Of tales Of a mermaid, Of hubby on the mend who don’t mind sharing germ…in a very descriptive poem entitled:
    what we risk in the process
    Thanks, for sharing!
    deedee 🙂

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