The Mermaid's Song (a poem about Sirens)

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Inspiration for the Poem

The inspiration for this poem came from the title of a book in my library, The Mermaids Singing by celebrated Scottish crime and suspense novelist Val McDermid. She is most famous for her Wire in the Blood books featuring Tony Hill. These were turned into a TV series starring Robson Green. I thoroughly recommend The Mermaids Singing.

Sirens

In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous yet beautiful creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.

In his notebooks, Leonardo da Vinci wrote of the Siren, "The siren sings so sweetly that she lulls the mariners to sleep; then she climbs upon the ships and kills the sleeping mariners."

Mermaids are associated with the mythological Greek sirens. Although the original sirens were said to be half woman/half bird, over time they were more popularly portrayed as woman/fish hybrids. Christopher Columbus reported seeing mermaids while exploring the Caribbean, and supposed sightings have been reported in the 20th and 21st centuries in Canada, Israel, and Zimbabwe.

Ever since reading Homer's Odyssey I have been infatuated with the idea of sirens and mermaids.

Source
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The Mermaid's Song

by John Hansen © 2014


Huge waves crash high 'gainst ragged shores,

The small craft rocked and battered.

Both mast and sail have felt the force,

One bent, the other tattered.


The captain pilots 'tween the rocks,

The vessel edges slow.

The storm has blown it miles off course,

His fears and tensions grow.


Then, suddenly the storm surge wanes,

On that his hopes were clinging.

But as he checks the compass settings,

He hears the siren's singing.


He turns the wheel towards the sound,

A voice that's so melodic.

The song invades his mind and thoughts,

So beautifully demonic.


Common sense has long since left,

The captain's in a spell.

What evil lurks within these waves,

He won't be here to tell.


Smashed against the rocky coast,

This small craft meets death's gong.

And others will soon sail this way,

Led by the mermaid's song.

What is your opinion of mermaids?

  • fictional, but I'd like to believe they exist
  • great subjects for writing about
  • purely mythical creatures, and anyone who believes in them is delusional
  • it is possible that they do exist, stranger things have happened
See results without voting

I thought I'd finish the hub off with a light-hearted whimsical song from 1974 sung by a famous Australian radio shock-jock John Laws

More by this Author


Comments 84 comments

Ben Blackwell 2 years ago

This is pretty cool. A good take on an old classic.


Mary McShane profile image

Mary McShane 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

I loved this poem!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you very much Ben. I have a thing about mermaids...lol. An oldie but a goody.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Mary, I can't ask any more than that.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

That is good! I thought she was going to save them, but this is even better! lol Aren't we wicked?


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Wow! I loved this poem! anything mythological I love reading about, nice one!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Jackie, thanks for reading. No, I'm afraid you can never trust a mermaid unfortunately. Yes we are wicked. Glad you enjoyed.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey Nell, yes I thought this may be your type of poem. Thank you for your kind comment.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Oh, my goodness, Jodah, this is amazing and haunting! This is a WOW poem for sure. I truly enjoyed this piece. Bravo! Up and more and sharing. Blessings, Faith Reaper


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

I love it, Jodah ! Mythology is one of my passions, as is poetry. Well done and very spell-binding.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

A "Wow, and bravo!" From you Faith is worth a lot. I am so glad you enjoyed this and really appreciate the vote up and share.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Phyllis, I really like that description, "Spell-binding", so glad this appealed to you. Thank you for reading and the wonderful comment.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

i like the flow.. and the myth of the mermaid theme..voted..awesome :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Frank, an "awesome" vote is always most welcome.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

I voted awesome, too. Up, awesome, interesting, spell-binding. You did not know there is a button for "spell-binding", did you? hahahaha


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Well Phyllis, thank you for the "awesome" and "spell-binding" vote. No, I didn't realise there was such a button, but good old Hub Pages always adding improved features...haha.


Jane Arden 2 years ago

Wow. You really have a talent with words. How I would love to be able to write poetry like you. But I will make do with the satisfaction of reading yours, over and over again. My poems always end up like limericks. Whereas yours rhyme and have beauty like Wordsworth. Love the photos too.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Aw Jane, I'm blushing now. I've never received such compliments before as I am getting for this poem. I guess practice makes perfect, but being compared to Wordsworth....what can I say? Thank you so much. I think the beautiful photos I found helped. You are most welcome to read my poems as often as you wish.


Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 2 years ago from India

John, every poem you conceives makes so wonderful a reading that one is left spell-bound till the last word of it. This poem is also no exception. Though a tiny one but very lethal and potent. You are really a very creative guy. I have become addicted to your poems.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Harishprasad for your generous praise. It is always a pleasure to see you visit my hubs.You are the second commenter who has used the words "spell-bound" to describe their feelings for this poem. I am honoured that you are 'addicted' to my poetry. I hope it is a good addiction.


old albion profile image

old albion 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Jodah. Brilliant I enjoyed the whole thing. Tip Top.

Graham.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Graham. So glad you enjoyed this poem. Hope all' swell in your part of the world.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Excellent story telling through verse.


sligobay profile image

sligobay 2 years ago from east of the equator

Excellent poem Jodah with your demonic mermaids. Loved it.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

@Flourish, thank you for reading and the wonderful comment.

@sligobay, Good to see you buddy, glad you liked the mermaid and poem. Thanks.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I love this poem, Jodah! The rhythm and flow, the rhyme and the plot all work together very well.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

I fully imagine the spell of the mermaid. Beautiful poetry.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

@ Alcia, thank you for reading and your kind comment. Glad you enjoyed this poem.

@ MsDora, Thanks for your kind comment. I'm glad I made the mermaid's spell believable.


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 2 years ago from Louisiana

He turns the wheel towards the sound,

A voice that's so melodic.

The song invades his mind and thoughts,

So beautifully demonic.

Loved this verse. Really good poem, about a siren/mermaid. I love the idea of mermaids and whereas I'd like to imagine them more like Ariel and nice I believe they would be more vicious and indifferent. and definitely not as pretty as we imagine.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading Nikki, and for your interesting comment. Yes I'd prefer mermaids to be sweet and beautiful too, but we never really know do we. Glad you liked that verse especially.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I loved this poem about the infamous mermaid's song. The rhythm is lyrical and melds with the message of the poem beautifully. Voted up and sharing. :-)


wayne barrett profile image

wayne barrett 2 years ago from Clearwater Florida

I have spent many days at sea, watching the water and wondering; what if? Nice work.


jhamann profile image

jhamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

Love the artwork you chose, and how you succeeded with the feeling as if the story was being told by an old sailor bard. Jamie


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Genna, thank you for the vote up and share. Glad you enjoyed the story and rhythm.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Good to see you Wayne. I'm glad this poem appealed to an experienced seaman like yourself. Sorry you never actually encountered a mermaid, but if they are like this one that may be fortunate.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Jamie the art work definitely fit the story well. It's interesting that you got the feeling it was being told by an old sailor bard. Thanks for the compliment.


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Very suspenseful poem Jodah and thanks for commenting about the green beet leaves.


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Loved the The Mermaid's Song and the image which I pinned onto my short story and poetry pinterest board with the link to this page.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

An interesting slant on the sirens' story from the ancient legend. It is so well written - love it!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Word55, glad you enjoyed the suspense. No problem about the beet leaves...lol.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Nadine, thank you for the compliment of pinning this on Pinterest and linking. Glad you loved the poem.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for the kind compliment Blossom. I am pleased you enjoyed the read.


Ryem profile image

Ryem 2 years ago from Maryland

I'm really glad that I read this. The poem flowed just like a song for me. I'm voting up and sharing for sure.


Romeos Quill profile image

Romeos Quill 2 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

Hi Jodah,

Great rhyme and rhythm in this here piece; an entertaining tale from the mythology of the sailor's demise by such a fishy babe; you'd make a good drummer!

All the Best in sunny Oz,

R.Q.


SandCastles 2 years ago

You're a good poet! I like how your poem tells a story; those are my favourite types of poems. And your poetry has a very nice, even rhythm like the waves of the ocean. And not too long; just perfect and so descriptive!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey Ryem, I'm glad you read this poem too. I'm glad you found the rhythm flowed like a song too. Thanks for voting up and sharing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for your kind comments R.Q., glad you liked the beat, and the fishy babe.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Good to see you again SandCastles, I do like to tell a story in most of my poems. I have always enjoyed ballads. Thank you for you generous comments.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

Very well done my friend. You have used an old myth to your advantage...the best part is your writing of course. You have us following along to the crews' demise and rhyming all the while!

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles

Good morning, Jodah. Glad to see a fellow fan of mythology ! I enjoyed the images of the wood nymphs and dryads from your Jenny Camacho story, and have been fond of the stories of the bird-like sirens and the mermaids since reading

The Odyssey in school. I remember how the sailors put wax in their ears and tied Odysseus to the mast to avoid the alluring death songs. Very well done! You've quite a knack for poetry. :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading tillsontitan. Thanks also for the vote up, I'm glad you enjoyed this tale in poetry form.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Cat, thanks for your interesting comment. I loved Homer's Iliad and Odyssey when at school, and yes was enthral led by the sirens and their death songs. Had to use it in a poem eventually. Glad you liked the images from the Jenny Camacho story too. The use of good images really enhances the writing I think.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Beautiful Jodah!


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 2 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Imagine that; a man losing his common sense to a mermaid. Not a bad way to go if one has to go. Thanks for the beautifully crafted poem and story, Jodah.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Audrey, glad you enjoyed this poem.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Cam, just imagine that. I don't think I could resist, even though I know better. Thanks for the kind comment.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

Ah! How often has this happened? Sailors lured to their deaths by mermaids or sirens or the Lorelei Rock. Such is the female's power!!

Great poem and superb illustrations. Ann


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey Ann, yes it seems to have been a regular occurrence. I guess it's the reason I chose not to be a sailor..lol. The power of the female true, though they say dugongs and manatees were mistaken for mermaids. Boy those sailers must have been sea a damn long time. Thanks for your comment, glad you enjoyed.


artsandlearning profile image

artsandlearning 2 years ago from 1518 Brookhollow Drive, Suite 15, Santa Ana, CA, 92705

Great! Both hauntingly beautiful and mysterious all at once! Love this narrative of the song. It leaves me intrigued, wanting to know more. It would make a fabulous opening to a story..Thanks for sharing. Do anyone have the lyrics of the song?


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi artsandlearning, Thanks for reading this. I am glad you enjoyed this story/poem. I think the song is by Secret Garden, so you may be able to do a search for the lyrics online.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

This was almost like a mini-movie as I read the poem and looked at the photos. It held my interest to the end.


ocfireflies profile image

ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina

Jodah,

I hope you will forgive my absence of late--have been dealing with medical issues--so still not ready to be back regularly...

In the meantime, what a delightful poem to read upon my short journey back. I especially love the stanza four. Great work my friend. I can tell you have been busy, and I look forward to reading more.

Best,

Kim


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hello Kim, I hope you health issues sort themselves out and you can soon become active again here on Hub Pages. You are greatly missed Thank you for taking the time to read this and I'm glad you enjoyed. Your health is more important than anything else so look after yourself. Hugs.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 2 years ago

I usually get sea sick very easily. Your words were fantastic and even though I felt the mighty ocean underneath my feet and I rocked with every wave I survived even thought the ship didn't. Well done.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Haha Dream On, sorry about the seasickness, but as long as you survived the voyage is the main thing. Thanks for your kind comment.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 2 years ago

I am not sorry.I came back to see if it was luck or maybe your words took me to a different place and time.I know the answer since your words still moved me and the poem had a powerful affect.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks again Dream On, it is a real compliment when a reader revisits one of your poems. Much appreciated.


Beth37 2 years ago

What do you think they had against the poor sailors?


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hmmm good question Beth, perhaps it is a female power thing...lol. Or maybe one of their friends got caught by a fisherman and filletted. Ouch, hope not. thanks for visiting.


Bk42author profile image

Bk42author 2 years ago from New York

Beautiful. I've recently developed an interest in mermaids so I very much enjoyed reading this. I love the pictures you posted!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks again Bk42, great to have my writing appreciated. Yes mermaids have always interested me too. Glad you liked the pictures too.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Can't believe I missed this. This is absolutely wonderful. I do believe in a way I have always believed in mermaids or have wanted to think they live there under the sea. Passing this on.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Better late then ever Gypsy. I think I wrote this before you started followng me. It has been one of my more popular poems (comment wise anyway). I too have always wanted to believe in mermaids. They are one of the most popular creatures embedded in folklore, so who knows. Thank you for your kind comments and for sharing this hub.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM

So beautiful a poem, so sad the ending. This reminds me of the Lorilei in Germany, which I have been to and it brings back such lovely memories. I love the lore of mermaids - even the movie "Splash". I love all those old stories. Thanks for bringing back great memories for me!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

My pleasure to bring back those memories Suzette. I have always been intrigued by mermaids too. I remember 'Splash' well, with Darryl Hannah and Tom Hanks. Fun movie. Would,love to see the Lorilei in Germany too. Thanks for your kind comment.


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Hey Jodah, this was a cool poem. I'd like to run into a mermaid one day.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Haha, you and me too word55. Thanks for reading.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 18 months ago from Nashville Tn.

Love this poem john. Ive always been intrigued with mermaids. Will shate everywhete.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 18 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading and sharing another of my poems Audrey. Glad you liked this one. We willl always be intrigued by mermaids I think.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 12 months ago from Dubai

Beautifully expressed! Mermaid's magnetic voice leading to the captain's doom. Great write.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading and the kind comment Vellur, glad you liked this.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading and the kind comment Vellur, glad you liked this.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 11 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

Loved the poem and the so very sad ending.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading Reynolds, and glad you enjoyed this Poem.

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