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The Mudcat Cafesj

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(Andrea Aldridge)

Young woman by her window watched the seals one day;
In merry sport they swam about, happy in their play.
She watched them leap and tumble in freedom bright and gay;
And they saw the bright-eyed lady, the Woman by the Bay.

She listened to their voices, pure and sweet as milk;
She gazed upon their shining fur, smooth and soft as silk.
And `twas her lonely vigil that caused the folk to say,
"`Tis well indeed we've named her `The Woman by the Bay.'"

She had a favourite singer among those in the sea:
A milk-white lady in among the brown, and fair was she.
But on that fateful morning, she heard her white one say,
"I'll take the laddie lover of the Woman by the Bay.

"For twenty-one long year ago, one I remember well
Had stole from me my true sea-love with her false land-woman's spell.
So I'll woo young Will and lure him, and drown him for my way
Of revenge upon her daughter: the Woman by the Bay."

She listened there in horror as she heard the white one's tale.
Her hand was pressed against her cheek, which under it grew pale:
For her mother died twelve year ago, but she'd heard the people say
`Twas a silkie was the father of the Woman by the Bay.

Then from her chair she rose in haste to warn him of his fate;
Yet as she reached his empty house, she feared it was too late--
For she saw him walking slowly to where the white one lay
Singing, "Join me, Will, beloved of the Woman by the Bay."

She stood there for a moment, and knew what she must do:
Ran to the house, returned, in hand a knife, sharp steel and true,
And followed to the hidden cove wherein the white one lay
To save her love--this brave lady, the Woman by the Bay.

And there she saw her love entranced, stepping t'wards the sea,
The white seal there awaiting him--and the devil's own was she.
She watched him come--his death was nigh--she'd waited for this day--
When on her came, her knife in hand, the Woman by the Bay.

She leapt into the waters, her knife wielded on high.
The white seal met her, ready--she'd live to see Will die.
They struggled fierce upon the shore--(slow)--and when `twas o'er, there lay
The white seal dead, and near, her foe, the Woman by the Bay.

(cont. slow)
`Twas then the lad, young Will, awoke, and op'ed his eyes to see
The white seal dead upon the sands, and near, his own lady.
He ran to her and held her close, and heard her last breath say,
"Remember, Will, who loved thee well: the Woman by the Bay."

(slowly pick up)
They buried her beside the sea, the blue she loved so well.
But the seal they burned, and the smoke it reeked of the acid fumes of Hell.
Young Will, he died soon after; the old ones all did say
That he'd gone to join his lady, the Woman by the Bay.

And even in these modern times, they gaze at sunsets red,
And say the white seal dyed them with her blood when she lay dead.
But they see the golden sunrise, and then be heard to say,
"That's the joy of William with his love: the Woman by the Bay.

copyright 1991 Andrea Aldridge

@silkie @myth
filename[ WOMANBAY

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