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. WOW!!! This was exciting and fast paced and full of action and damn – they won again…

    now we just hear the lapping of the waves on the hulk of a ship, as it sits idle and empty…

    LOVE this Mantra!! AND, I LOVE this image of Mantra too!!!

    Blue Ribbon piece of work!

    BuddhaKat recently posted..FridayFractalFeature for a Flurry of Fetching, Fresh FinesseMy Profile

    • Glad you like it. I hope her next book gets this warm a welcome.

      This image is the one which is modified for the cover of MFM. There, she is kneeling on a manuscript. Chances are good, the ereader does not show it particularly well. I love that Lizzie put her in a beam of light which is her color. <3

  2. Can I be on the boat alone? Well, me and someone that actually knows how to sail?

    Did you prepare for the storm??
    Laurie recently posted..Tuesday FTPMy Profile

    • Storm, schmorm. Did you see the picture of the moon rise I posted last night? I would have been on the dry side of the storm had it not gone so far north. Meh. It does not even smell like rain. Overcast and breezy. Typical autumn day.

      I will go. I know how to sail. Even one of those.

      • “one stop light blink’ on and off, everybody knows when the neighbors call”

        Is there anything you haven’t done??
        Laurie recently posted..Tuesday FTPMy Profile

        • *Grins* That is the little town where I live (outside it by about 10 miles). Total population: Big enough for everyone to know where you live and give directions like “Go past the Roberts’ house and turn at Mr. Smith’s old place (even though he has been dead for 14 years and a family named Costas lives there now).”

          I think there is one photo in my retro collection. You will see me waiting for a C-130. It was my first trip to the Pacific fleet. It was a cruise on the Eisenhower (aircraft carrier) then a tour on the Cushing (destroyer). I have also been on battleships and a submarine.

  3. Who can resist the sweet call and allure of the siren? Quite the Femme Fatale that siren is. The infinite allure and love that goes unrequited.

    • Indubitably. I have to admit, I am quite the auditory creature. Good thing sirens are all female 😉

  4. Yeah I used to watch the old movies of Greeks setting sail to far off lands and running into Scylla and her snatching the men off the deck to eat alive!

    There was an old sword and sandles one where they tied the captain to the mast so he could hear the sirens while the crew stuffed their ears with wax! 🙂

    Jason and the Argonauts springs to mind, but I’m sure I’m wrong! 🙂

    Love and hugs!

    prenin recently posted..Sunday – Hurricane Sandy causes concern.My Profile

    • That sounds vaguely familiar, but I am not so certain it was one of the Jason tales. It has been a few decades since I read that, and there have been a plethora of movies made. 😉 So would you live on a boat?

  5. I don’t dislike boats, but don’t have any passion for them either. I’d rather live on a rocket ship on a trip to another world.
    Binky recently posted..Fall Fair Pumpkin KingMy Profile

  6. Oh I so loved this – seriously – the LT being a woman and immune to the Harpy and trying to save the ship – and oh you think she is going to don;t you? Do you think Mantra identifies with the Harpy or the LT or is just mischievous enough to get a giggle out of the end of it…
    You know i see her.. and the last portrayal – remember the one with the smirl and knife… yep..
    One reason I did not give the Navy much consideration (besides the uniforms and cutting my hair) is because I don;t like the thought of being trapped in a sinking steel vessel with nowhere to go but in the water…
    I am more aware of the legend of the Banshee – I believe similar, Celtic although not necessarily associated with water..or sailors ?

    Anyways this one was just miserably dark and so cool… hah! figure out where my head is at. (I can;t so it you do, let me know 😉

    Much love
    Lizzie Cracked recently posted..Romantic MDay; A tornado, a volcano and a hurricaneMy Profile

    • My scholarship was OCS going in as an E6, so I did not have to cut my hair. Oh, and almost all blues. The khakis were horrid. You can see me in them on FB. It is posted around here, but I am certain I did not tag it anything which would get it found. One of the early Follies posts.

      Banshees are cool, too. In this one, there was just enough hope she would pull it off. It had to be the Cpn offing her. Mantra? I think she just laughs at them all. Why do humans bother with love? Wait, that is another post not available on Romantic Monday.

      Are you liking that? I am considering it. Maybe. If the fairy stops laughing at me.

      And I know right where your head is 😉 I can email you a copy! xxx <3

      • I think you would be a super contributor for it! I dunno how I like it – I think it is a neat idea and it is wide open as far as anything about love or romance – good bad or naughty so that helps… but I dunno- I felt a lot of pressure after last weeks and it is kind of outside my norm – then again I wrote today’s – or put it together today – right before I posted it… (you saw that I was writing a cute story of a pumpkin ad a ghost and the witch that wanted to squash their love? ) but then again I work pretty good under pressure soooo.. its been fun.. definitely an outlet for stuff I wouldn;t normally post – on both blogs 😉

        I was also thinking _the Iliad and or the Odyssey… one of the had a Harpy no?

        ok …copy of my head I want to know? or is it best I forgot? <3
        Lizzie Cracked recently posted..Romantic MDay; A tornado, a volcano and a hurricaneMy Profile

        • Probably better you forgot. Iliad had harpies. Odyssey had sirens.

          I have some which could be considered romantic. I have to go by and read the rules again. May have to start another blog. Could scare away the audience I have left ;P

  7. I don’t know about in space, but there are sirens just outside the corner office. They sing in harmony, which makes life difficult…
    raymond alexander kukkee recently posted..Potential Takeover of Canadian Oil Giant by China: Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest…My Profile

  8. Oooo…I loved this one Red. Loved the ending. 🙂
    Wendy Reid recently posted..The House on the Highway – A Halloween TaleMy Profile

  9. When she calls to them there is no turning back the tide and all who follow her are lost in the depths of darkness never to return, so sweetly is her voice, an illusion of wanting luring them forever into an underwater realm of death…

    I think that the myth of mermaids is likened to that of a Vampire that hypnotises her prey and devours his soul as he believes angels are singing to him, whilst in reality she feeds upon his life-force…

    I like this one a lot my great friend 🙂

    Andro xxx

  10. Loved the Destroyer poem Red. I served in the Royal Australian Navy for 12 years. I served on HMAS Torrens, an Anti-Submarine Destroyer Escort for 3 years. 6 months on HMAS Stalwart, a Destroyer Tender which was basically a huge floating maintenance workshop. Did a short stint on HMAS Otama, an Oberon class submarine too. That was over 20 years ago now, gettin’ old…
    Cedric Rattus recently posted..Hurricane SandyMy Profile

    • Oh that was supposed to be me not Cedric. He hasn’t been to sea.
      Tony McGurk recently posted..Hurricane SandyMy Profile

      • Glad you liked it, Tony. As much as I loved the aircraft carrier, the sub was my all time favorite vessel. I would have loved a full tour, but the Navy had other ideas which I could not bring myself to take. They wanted me stateside and on land. It completely defeated the purpose of the Navy in my teenaged mind. *grins* I could spend hours investigating on destroyers and battleships. Lithe and mean. Love the water. 😉

    • I think you may be talking out of school, Cedric. I think you are impersonating Tony. Hmm? I know about rats and ships though…


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