Friday, February 18, 2011


I have always been fascinated with sea tales. An early childhood notion, I hoped I would see a mermaid or perhaps meet a Selkie. Either my Great Grandfather or Great-great Grandfather was an Irish Sea Captain; I often wondered what stories he would share with me if we could have lived during the same period.  My Scot/Irish bloodline has always piqued my curiosity, it is their legends I wish to inherit and in particular the legend of the Selkie. Little wonder my favorite exhibits at Sea World always involved the seals.

Selkies are stealthy seal creatures that come from the sea. They are capable of shifting from seal to human and back again. They are dark, lovely, and irresistible. For a man, a Selkie woman makes a wonderful wife. They are assiduous, amenable, and gorgeous without trying. They raise beautiful children. Those men are usually the envy of the village. However, if the husband wants his Selkie wife to stick around he better hide her seal skin and never ever give it back to her. If a Selkie finds her skin she will leave her family forever and return to the sea. The allure of the sea is magnetic and all that keeps them from it is their missing skin.

Sweet Vaporous Gloam
Fair Selkies Shifting Ebb Tide
Her Sheltered Vestige

In 1994 I was introduced to the Selkie legend when I watched John Sayles film The Secret of Roan Inish. I fell in love with the folklore of the Selkie. There are other films such as Ondine, music The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry  and stories about Selkies. My personal favorite is The Secret of Roan Inish; this one is especially sweet and enjoyable with a very happy ending. However, if you want something really romantic go for Ondine. That film is down right mystical with Colin Farrel playing the leading man, Ooo La La!

Movie Trailers for The Secret of Roan Inish and Ondine


Buddha3074 said...

It is nice to see your inspired by your heritage, I cannot say that myself! My family also comes from a sea fairing country, Portugal. The only thing i can think of is port wine and sardines,lol. Beautiful, heartfelt Haiku Kristen!!

lightverse said...

How cool that you have a (and share your) fascination with the magical faerie world! I loved reading both your process description as well as your poem about the Selkie. Irish mythology is fascinating!

Several years ago, I had another blog and my name there was the Unseen Undine. As undines are elemental water faeries, I totally relate to your work here today!


Lolamouse said...

Thank you for the fascinating info about Selkies! I love the haiku too! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Margaret said...

Wow! Thank you. This is MY surprise of the day. I watched both trailers and added the top of my Netflix cue. (and Ondine is a "watch now" if I can find the time) I have never heard of Colin Farrell, but I like what I see ;)

Thank you!

bodhirose said...

Thanks for setting the stage for your wonderful haiku, Kristen. I saw that film myself and loved it.

The myth of the Selkies is fascinating to me--I remember hearing of it at some time in my life.

What an enjoyable visit! Thank you.

lynnaima said...

Interesting read :)

liv2write2day said...

Oh, I love this. I'm an Irish hybrid, too and am just discovering Celtic mythology. Did not know about the Selkies...thanks for the introduction.

Someone is Special said...

cool, I love this to the core.. Thanks for all the smiles..

Someone is Special

Dishilicious said...

nice work. :) i am facininated by sea tales too :)

ladynimue said...

This was such a wonderful tale .. I love the word selkie :) Beautiful !!

trisha said...

thanks for sharing this marvelous story. loved it.

the haiku is magical.

i too love ocean, with and without its mystical creatures.