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The Mermaid's Song (A Poem about Sirens)

Updated on November 8, 2016
Jodah profile image

John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded "Poet of the Year 2014" Hubby Awards and has had two poems become songs.

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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.

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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?

See results

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

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    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Loved the poem and the so very sad ending.

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

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

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

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

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • word55 profile image

      Word 3 years ago from Chicago

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

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 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
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 3 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
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      Brenda Thornlow 3 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
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

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      Beth37 3 years ago

      What do you think they had against the poor sailors?

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 3 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
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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 3 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
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 3 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

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      Dianna Mendez 3 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.

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

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      Debora Wondercheck 3 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
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 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
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for reading Audrey, glad you enjoyed this poem.

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      Chris Mills 3 years ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      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.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Beautiful Jodah!

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      Catherine Tally 3 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. :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 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.

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

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      SandCastles 3 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!

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 3 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.

    • Ryem profile image

      Ryem 3 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.

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

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

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 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.

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      Word 3 years ago from Chicago

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

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 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

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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

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

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      Genna East 3 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. :-)

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

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      Nikki Wicked 3 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
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      @ 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.

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      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

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

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      Linda Crampton 3 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.

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 3 years ago from east of the equator

      Excellent poem Jodah with your demonic mermaids. Loved it.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Excellent story telling through verse.

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

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

      Graham.

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

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      Harish Mamgain 3 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
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

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      Jane Arden 3 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.

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

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      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 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

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

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

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

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      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 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.

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      Faith Reaper 3 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

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

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

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      Jackie Lynnley 3 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?

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

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      Mary McShane 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

      I loved this poem!

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      Ben Blackwell 3 years ago

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