Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Smugness of Sirens

The smugness of sirens
is both heavy and intangible.

Easy in their enormous house,
they sing and sailors fall.

What do they want with me, a woman,
surely a sister of sorts?

The mother of mermaids
is the moon, and though all her tears have settled on them,

She still commands.
They have everything except authority.

The sirens smile
and beckon me down to join them--

It is a casual cruelty when they invite, saying,
"Please sing with us, sister,

Sing like anything, the way you've always longed to;
it won't kill you."

(It is the instinct to breathe again, after,
that will.)

For (Non--)Fireblossom Friday with Hedgewitch, at Real Toads.

Image: Moonrise, Beaumarais by Clarice Beckett.



Sioux said...

Shay--The parenthetical phrase at the end is a killer (in more than one way ;).

hedgewitch said...

Yes, this painting surely shows the house of the sirens, and the fog from which their singing echoes so piercingly and compellingly, like yours always does, though fog is generally not the background for your deep well of clarity where emotions sparkle darkly. This is haunting from first couplet to last, and also ironic in that the seductive and so powerful magic of the sirens still must be shaped by and answer to a stronger feminine. (I LOVE 'The mother of mermaids/is the moon, and though all her tears have settled on them/ She still commands....')You make me wonder what kind of being sings others to their death through lust and longing...and exactly what sort of reward they are left with.

Thanks so much for contributing this beauty to the challenge.

TexWisGirl said...

agree with sioux! awesome!

Kerry O'Connor said...

I really like the way to you have set out the poem in couplets. It gives the whole a lightness of airy in between spaces filled with the sound of sirens' voices heard over water.

Mama Zen said...

Love that ending; cutting and totally unexpected.

. said...

"all her tears have settled on them"

This is brilliant, making the ocean consist of the mermaid mother's tears. Gorgeous. And probably true.


"She still commands."

Stillness IS a commanding force.


"The sirens smile
and beckon me down to join them--

It is a casual cruelty when they invite"

Love this.


See, I think your other readers are missing something in that powerful closing. I wonder if many of them might perceive that your answer is no, out of common sense and a desire to breathe (i.e., "live with yourself" and your tendency to enjoy the wooing process, even if it causes pain; isn't the pain worth their pleasure?) ... as if maybe you're taking a jab at the sirens. But no, your last word is "will." You know how painful the suffering will be at the end of it all, but the bliss and magic is just too powerful to dismiss. You've already decided to go. You're just penning this one last (dry) poem before your body follows your feet in.


"when they invite"

It sounds like this has happened to you multiple times. That's how you know how you will feel, during and after. And yet, you keep going back. You know what you were born to do. What is a poem, after all, if not a lure? You can't do it ALL the time, but you just can't fight the urge to be one of them, can you? I see it ... in your poems. You know how to draw them in. You're a master(mind) at it, and you know it.