Siren Song: Daily Dose of Poetry and Art

Ulysses and the Sirens by John William Waterhouse

Ulysses and the Sirens by John William Waterhouse

Siren Song

By Margaret Atwood

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:

the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls

the song nobody knows
because anyone who has heard it
is dead, and the others can’t remember.

Shall I tell you the secret
and if I do, will you get me
out of this bird suit?

I don’t enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical

with these two feathery maniacs,
I don’t enjoy singing
this trio, fatal and valuable.

I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song

is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique

at last. Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time.

Margaret Atwood, “Siren Song” from Selected Poems 1965-1975.

One Response to Siren Song: Daily Dose of Poetry and Art

  1. Enbrethiliel March 3, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    +JMJ+

    Nice and tricky. And it has a good question at the end. Why can the banal prove to be so enticing?

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