26 - Fragile Water

Words by Nancy Kerr
Tune by Nancy Kerr

Nancy Kerr generously gave us permission to reproduce lyrics of her original sea songs. Fragile Water, from the album Instar, explores gender fluidity, transition and transformation, inspired by Orkney folk song 'The Grey Selkie of Sule Skerry'. In folkore, selkies shed their seal skin to become human on land.

I am a man upon the land
Cold and slender as a secret river
And glamour folds within my hand
Like a salmon skin of beaten silver

My little fish slip off your skin

\

And leave it in the tide for gulls to plunder

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And if you wish to walk or swim

\

Let there be nothing in the world to hinder

I cannot walk among your kin
For after water, land seems so much harder
But I will fall from wandering
To land on beaten sand and fragile water

My little fish slip off your skin

\

And leave it in the tide for gulls to plunder

\

And if you wish to walk or swim

\

Let there be nothing in the world to hinder

There are other gifts than silver
Like another word for lover
If we only hold each other
We are beaten sand and fragile water

You know the ocean will bleach our bones
You know the burning sun will melt the boulders
Don’t mourn my shadow among the stones
For after winter, spring seems somehow colder

But as the ocean courts the strand
'Til he becomes the grit that surges in her
So generations may understand
We are all beaten sand and fragile water

My little fish slip off your skin

\

And leave it in the tide for gulls to plunder

\

And if you wish to walk or swim

\

Let there be nothing in the world to hinder

My little fish slip off your skin

\

And leave it in the tide for gulls to plunder

\

And if you wish to walk or swim

\

Let there be nothing in the world to hinder

There are other gifts than silver
Like another word for lover
If we only hold each other
We are beaten sand and fragile water

There are other gifts for silver
Like another word for lover
If we only hold each other
We are beaten sand and fragile water
We are beaten sand and fragile water