Now let’s recount a sailor’s tale,
Of a village girl who made her way to town
to come to sit with mayor and crown,
she went to the best balls, swam in a diamond sea of hopes.
She was happy to be free, or so she thought, and so she was momentarily,
Many times, till one night she swam with a dolphin in the bay,
dancing looking at spinning stars,
Who then brought more dolphins to swim with everyone.
The town became rich and famous, drew countless tourists in,
renowned as they left with dolphin swimming accolades,
but the townsfolk thought like economists –
we must never let them go, they said, so they put nets across the bay
To trap them all. And as the curtains parted for the show,
her life was no longer hidden, but famous on display,
she swam like a princess to a dolphin serenade,
so many possible whispered futures could be arranged on a wider stage,
lottery tickets were sold and rented clothes were made,
like the props painted, backdrops for a second chance stage,
nautical worlds, legislation, dream diaries, itineraries for business and romance
for visitors, to make a ceremony of regulated selves, deregulated by momentary stardom,
a catholic mass of swimming angel lovers swallowing their own hosts,
hosted by a pretending Lutheran girl, and so she became a star,
saving the town from boredom, elevating the obvious to the somehow sacred.
But, and I am told, there is always an abutted question,
Of meanwhile, and so, or, and then, conjunctions or disjunctions make a story,
the dolphins were sad with appointed times, unneeded shows,
unable to leave. Slowly their love was dying, they were dying,
and then [and I read somewhere in a story manual never say ‘and then’ in a story?]
and then, entrepreneurs from dolphin parks and canning factories moved in,
she could see a coming atrocity, if not in herself,
so one night, she swam out and cut the net.
She saved herself but had already lost her place in dolphin world as the dolphins left,
save one same dolphin who came back beyond the cut curtain to say goodbye,
a last time to love, it was as if he thanked her,
and perhaps she cried, perhaps he cried,
but their last tears were lost in the open sea.
She went on to be a prefect of the town, her life was her own.
Occasionally a dolphin would watch from afar, but did not smile.
I've had many short stories, poems, and articles published, and a book '‘Dancing In the Waves'’ [Mer 1998].For ten years I was editor of ‘Screenwriter magazine.
Ihave run European writing workshops and lead the MA Screenwriting programme at Birkbeck College,, London University.I founded and am on the board of Euroscript, the UK's premier independent script training company.My full profile is on www.paulgallagher.eu
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