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Paintings › View › A Mermaid 1901   
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  bullet  1901 . Oil on canvas
  bullet  Royal Academy of Arts - London, England
Actual Size (W x H): 67cm x 98cm [ 26.40" x 38.61" ]
John William Waterhouse: A Mermaid - 1901 John William Waterhouse: A Mermaid - 1901

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The Mermaid
She must just have left the sea.
Her hair and lips
Smelled of the sea till the morning.
Her rising and falling breast was like the sea.

I knew she was poor -
But you can't talk of poverty all the time.
Gently, next to my ear
She sang songs of love.

Who knows what she has learned and experienced
In her life fighting the sea.
Patching fish nets, casting fish nets, gathering fish nets,
To remind me of spiny fish
Her hands touched my hands.

That night I saw, I saw it in her eyes;
How lovely the sea has risen in the open sea.
Her hair taught me about waves;
I tossed and tossed around dreams.
Orhan Veli


As a part of Waterhouse's diploma work for the Royal Academy of Arts, A Mermaid is one of his "most delicate conceptions, and understandably he had lingered long in bringing it to perfection." - Anthony Hobson



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