Updated date:

The Mermaid's Song (a Poem About Sirens)

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.

the-mermaids-song

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.

the-mermaids-song

The Mermaid's Song


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.

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

© 2014 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 13, 2020:

Hi Tiyasha, thank you for checking out one of my older poems. I am so glad you enjoyed this.

Tiyasha Maitra from Gurgaon on March 13, 2020:

This is a beautiful and melodic poem John. I am too fascinated by the idea of mermaids and sirens. I associate sirens with a dark and sinister but incredibly interesting aura. Glad you picked this topic. Awesome creation.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 27, 2019:

Thank you for reading this Miebakagh. I appreciate your interesting comment too.

Miebakagh57 on April 27, 2019:

Hello, John, they are clues in your poem that mermaids exist. One word is "demonic." But the song is not inspired beautifully. It was originally demonic. In fact, mermaids are demons. They become so after they join Satan in rebellion against the creator God. This was in the "dateless past" or billions of years ago.

But they continue to seek relationships with human beings, to deceive them. Music is one of they tools for deception. Thanks for sharing.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 21, 2015:

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

Reynold Jay from Saginaw, Michigan on October 21, 2015:

Loved the poem and the so very sad ending.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 03, 2015:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 03, 2015:

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

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 03, 2015:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 23, 2015:

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

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on March 23, 2015:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on June 12, 2014:

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

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on June 12, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on June 09, 2014:

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.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on June 09, 2014:

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!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on June 03, 2014:

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 from Daytona Beach, Florida on June 03, 2014:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on February 04, 2014:

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

Brenda Thornlow from New York on February 04, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on February 03, 2014:

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.

Beth37 on February 03, 2014:

What do you think they had against the poor sailors?

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 30, 2014:

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

DREAM ON on January 30, 2014:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 30, 2014:

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 on January 30, 2014:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 23, 2014:

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 from North Carolina on January 23, 2014:

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

Dianna Mendez on January 19, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 19, 2014:

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.

Debora Wondercheck from 1518 Brookhollow Drive, Suite 15, Santa Ana, CA, 92705 on January 19, 2014:

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?

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 16, 2014:

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.

Ann Carr from SW England on January 16, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 16, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 16, 2014:

Thanks for reading Audrey, glad you enjoyed this poem.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on January 15, 2014:

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.

Audrey Howitt from California on January 15, 2014:

Beautiful Jodah!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 15, 2014:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 15, 2014:

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

Catherine Tally from Los Angeles on January 15, 2014:

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. :)

Mary Craig from New York on January 15, 2014:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 15, 2014:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 15, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 15, 2014:

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.

SandCastles on January 15, 2014:

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 from Lincolnshire, England on January 14, 2014:

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 from Maryland on January 14, 2014:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 14, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 14, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 14, 2014:

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

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on January 14, 2014:

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

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on January 14, 2014:

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.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on January 14, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 13, 2014:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 13, 2014:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 13, 2014:

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

Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on January 13, 2014:

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

Wayne Barrett from Clearwater Florida on January 13, 2014:

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

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on January 13, 2014:

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. :-)

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 13, 2014:

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.

Beautiful Garbage from Louisiana on January 13, 2014:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 12, 2014:

@ 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.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 12, 2014:

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

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 12, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 12, 2014:

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

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

sligobay from east of the equator on January 12, 2014:

Excellent poem Jodah with your demonic mermaids. Loved it.

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 12, 2014:

Excellent story telling through verse.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 12, 2014:

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

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on January 12, 2014:

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

Graham.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 12, 2014:

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.

Harish Mamgain from New Delhi , India on January 12, 2014:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 12, 2014:

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.

Jane Arden on January 12, 2014:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2014:

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.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on January 11, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2014:

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

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on January 11, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2014:

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.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on January 11, 2014:

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

Faith Reaper from southern USA on January 11, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2014:

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

Nell Rose from England on January 11, 2014:

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

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on January 11, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2014:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2014:

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

Mary McShane from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on January 11, 2014:

I loved this poem!

Ben Blackwell on January 11, 2014:

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