- Books, Literature, and Writing
The Mermaid's Song (A Poem about Sirens)
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.
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.
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.