Stepchild

A brown-haired girl my father wed
When I was four years old
She kept the hearth and baked the bread
And kissed away the cold
She sang a melancholy song,
A sea song sad and old,
And all I wished for was a mother’s love
When I was four years old.

The sage green sea The spring sea
The wide and endless April sea
The sage green sea The spring sea
Oh–It’s calling me

She bore two sons, my brothers both
Before my seventh year,
And though her eyes were bright with hope
No girl child could she bear.
She brushed my hair and decked my clothes
And sang the moon’s round year
And all I wished for was her happiness
Before my seventh year.

The emerald sea The June sea
The wide and endless summer sea
The emerald sea The June sea
Oh–it’s calling me

At twelve years old, I sneaked behind
And watched my father hide
An auburn sealskin, slick with oil
Before the rising tide.
Oh, mother, mother, what’s that skin
My father keeps aside?
And I wished at twelve that she would never leave
But knew she must decide.

The gray autumn sea The October sea
The wide and endless October sea
The gray autumn sea The October sea
Oh–it’s calling me.

And all that night, I watched her watch
The water brush the beach,
Distracted from the house’s sounds,
My brothers, and from me.
At midnight, when the tide went out,
She kissed my father’s cheek,
Then found where father hid the skin
And swam home to the sea.

The sky-blue sea The December sea
The wide and endless blue winter sea
The sky -blue sea The December sea
Oh–it’s calling me.

My brothers grew to selkie men
And I a woman grown
I keep the house and tend the hearth
And live my life alone.
My mother and my brothers share
A life I’ve never known,
And I, the selkie’s stepchild, watch
And tend my sticks and stones.

Oh, endless sea Unreachable sea
The wide, forbidden selkie sea
Oh, endless sea Unreachable sea
I cannot escape the sea
And yet it escapes me.

 

Words by Gwen Knighton
Music by Gwen Knighton

source: http://www.gwenknighton.com/stepchild.html