The Sirens

I don’t often attempt to write poetry, and this piece was originally intended as an exercise in descriptive prose. However, a rhythm gradually infiltrated the writing, so I tried laying it out as a poem and worked on it in that form. Whether that makes it a poem, I leave for you to judge! BTW It helps if you know the story of Odysseus and the Sirens.

Siren 171120

The Sirens

A nightingale that heard them sing

Would blush for shame.

The lines of melody intertwine,

The words blend, rhyme.

Oh, to be whole, free from the pain of loss!

So many heroes dead, friends hewn by sword,

Skewered by spear, or crushed by rocks.

Now peace. The voices offer peace.

“Helmsman, steer to shore!” I beg,

But wax-stopped ears are deaf.

I struggle with my bonds.

My vessel’s oarsmen beat the waves to froth and past we go,

Past surf that breaks on rocks like knives,

And on the rocks the Sirens feast

On rotting flesh and broken lives.  

7 thoughts on “The Sirens

  1. ohhh what a twist. The voices offer peace but they do not land with their ears stuffed and handcuffed. A very brilliant idea, Penny. Wrong actions because of wrong thoughts. Mistrust, worry and fear block the happy end …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Anie
      Thank you for reading and commenting. The story comes from the Odyssey, written around 800 BC by Homer. Odysseus, a Greek hero of the Trojan War is struggling to return home. He is warned of the bloodthirsty habits of the Sirens by Circe, a demi-goddess; their song is overwhelmingly appealing, but everyone who follows it is shipwrecked and killed. She says that Odysseus can listen to their song, but only if he has his men stop their ears with beeswax (so they can’t hear the Sirens) and tie him to the mast (so he can’t interfere with the steering of the ship). They do this, and Odysseus hears the song; and because he’s taken Circe’s advice, he and all his crew survive.
      All the best
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you very much Penny, I already knew the story and was therefore very surprised that this “trick” in your story of course worked, but was not necessary, since ever “peace” prevailed. So, turning away from people because of fear is safe but the love between each other is lost and the feelings on earth become ice….hahaha, I see Ivor has a different opinion…he does not trust the peace!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your poem is wondrous, and I hope I’ll never be enticed by those “Sirens”, and have the inner strength to row on, or maybe just plenty of earplug wax…. hmmm, starting to sound like our real every day life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ivor,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. “Starting to sound like our everyday life.” That’s very perceptive. Although Homer wrote the original of this story nearly 3,000 years ago, he was describing an archetype. It’s astonishing, isn’t it, how much truth there is in stories like this, and how much we still like telling them and hearing them?
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Anie and Ivor
    Your comments combined have woken me to a better understanding of what the story can tell us of human life. I shall need to think about the whole symbolism of this story in a modern context.
    Thank you both very much!
    Penny

    Liked by 1 person

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