Muse for Monday

Mantra has been a fixture around here for almost the entire year. She has grown to be a driving force, have a voice of her own and broach subjects we otherwise would leave in the fugue.

By far, Mantra is the feature the M3 Readers voted and advocated loudest to keep. Over this year, she has grown up to be someone you can identify. Some of you can even hear her. A few of you can see her.

As I have let her out of the lantern, you have gotten a few different glimpses of her. When I asked for input for the blogoversary edition of Muse for Monday, the overwhelming result was something from the new book. The apparent acceptance of the poem Val posted at Tilted Tiara is spilling back to M3 in requests for the darker images.

In what is an unusual turn of events, row after row of very even, legible print made its way to Mantra’s notebook. It came compliments of water.

The sound of running water is a powerful stimulant to creativity. If you think we are going to rhyme about some lovely natural scenery or waterfall, you are not in tune with Mantra’s darker side. Sirens. Think sirens.

But officer, I was just…

No, no. Not that kind of siren. Something entirely different is in the picture the incessant fairy is painting for us tonight. Try this image. It is our setting.

Destroyer USS Jason Dunham

We are going to take mythology out for a bit of a tour.  Or is it the other way around?


Her voice drifts over the waves.
On the deck of the destroyer,
He tilts his head for the sultry sound
To seep through his consciousness
And take root in his soul.
Beside him, the lieutenant calls
Not once, twice, but three times.
Failing to answer is to be struck down
Below decks in the dismal galley
Peeling sacks of potatoes into a bowl.

She breaks protocol and grabs
First his arm, yet he does not turn
His face away from the rolling sea.
Next his chin, turned to face her,
But his eyes simply do not see.
She calls for a medic to take him
Below to the ship’s hospital ward.
She wonders what it could be
When she spots two more men
Heading to the deck’s edge blindly.

Her barked orders are drowned out
By a cacophonous racket,
But she hear a yeoman say,
“That silken voice! I must have the woman
Who can sing to my heart this way.”
Training be damned, she hasn’t a clue
How to wrest her crew from the fate
Of hearing a siren out on the bay.
The bodies bob on the cresting waves.
Their talents lost in the water today.

She calls to the bridge to swing the bow
Forty degrees starboard and full ahead.
Through the scope, she finds her target,
But casts the glass away to lean
Over the rail, her stomach turned inside out.
The harpy on the rock does sing,
But her looks are as vile as the sound
The lieutenant hears. Both she’ll not forget.
Misshapen and unclean, raucous and loud,
Surely the men must know what she’s about.

Orders to the gunmen echo,
For they’ve abandoned their posts.
She grips the triggers carefully,
Aiming at the siren’s head,
But before she can fire a round
A bayonet slides between her ribs.
The captain hurls himself into the waves.
The destroyer’s adrift on the sea.
It smashes against the now empty rock
Taking all who remain onboard down.



What do you know of the siren myth? Have you ever been on a military class vessel? Could you live on a boat? Is the call of the sea another incarnation of the siren’s song?

(c) Red Dwyer 2012
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  1. How do I keep missing things…..wave riding?

    Love this one, Red. Mantra needs to dip her toes more frequently.
    Valentine Logar recently posted..Better with AgeMy Profile

  2. I like the turn about of her hideousness. This could be an allegory for the lure of sin. If I lived on a boat, it would have to be a big one. While I love water, I don’t hear the sirens call to abandon myself to her.
    Angela Young recently posted..Whose plan are you following?My Profile

    • Christianity has often used the siren to be an example of sin. I, on the other hand, would be content to live on a boat, large or small. I adore the water.

  3. I believe I like this one best of all I’ve read here. Everything is clear, except…who “break protocol and grabs first his arm…”

    Why is there a woman on the ship? Of course, I may be lost at sea too.
    Tess Kann recently posted..NaNoWriMo – Day 1My Profile

    • In the military, they are not to lay hands on one another. The woman is the deck lieutenant. Very common in our navy. We promoted our first female admiral in 1972. (See Friday Follies for more on that 😉 ) Great to see you! How’s WriMo going? I am not doing it and already 10K words in for November!


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