It is a sad tale,
the one they tell,
of Undine
the changeling,
who took on legs
to walk the land
and dance
on those
ungainly stalks
before a prince
of the earthfolk.
He betrayed her;
they always do
the landsmen.
Her arms around him
meant little more
than a finger of foam
curled around his ankle.
Her lips on his
he thought cold,
brief and cold
as the touch of a wave.
He betrayed her,
they always do,
left her to find
her way back home
over thousands of land miles,
the only salt her tears,
and she as helpless
as a piece of featherweed
tossed broken onto the shore.

~Jane Yolen

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1 Response to Undine

  1. Annie says:

    Thank you for this poem, a companion to one of my favorite illustrations of all time. I’ve read and enjoyed some of Jane Yolen’s work, but I’d never seen this poem.

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