The Lesson of the Sirens

I cannot hear the sirens’ song.
My ears have been clogged for too long
with endless drivel, mindless stuff;
but I can see them well enough.
Their mouths are moving, and it’s tough
to lip read, but I still can do it:
“He’s not listening, so screw it!

Why are we wasting our time
on fools like this? We are divine
in purpose, and this role demeans
the stature of all other queens.”
They loose their talons from the rocks,
and slip them into shoes and socks;
then swim off to the nearest shore
to charm the devil from some poor

demented poet, who is cursed
to think he’s what they claim, their first.
He buys them drinks, ten bucks a round,
and doesn’t notice when the sound
of their sweet voices starts to fade;
and at the jukebox, I hear played
some song of love’s last promise made.

When he next looks, the girls are gone,
and in their place sits Xenophon,
who tells him, “They have gone stone mute;
they cannot speak save in pursuit.
You’ve made their game too simple, son,
and so their purpose is undone;

They’ve gone back to Odysseus,
who’s laughing now, at all of us.
There is no song without an ear;
now, pony up. I need a beer.”

And so the sirens have returned,
their course adjusted, lessons learned.
They’ll sit and sing, while I transcribe.
The worth of which, you must decide.

12 APR 2004

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