Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Requiem of the Siren

That was my golden hair, similitude

to past enchantments and Persephone,

conducting the blending aquamarine

with flashing heads, spirited dolphins’ broods

with pools of tide, fragmented sea-scored shell

that broke the wave upon the shore of death:

a carcass of the whale was there in breadth,

the length of a ship, its past hulk of hell.

The symphony of water and earth vast

as the panorama of gemstone’s fire

torments these blue lovers, bound in tumult

to future’s marriage ring: no ending last,

hidden jewel of nature’s cleft, to sire

their tryst with sea, and their poet, the salt.  


Miranda was seen offshore in a storm,

the tumult was evidenced of the tide

of spray against the lighthouse, ghostly-eyed

in moonlight, through the wee hours of the morn.

A sun would rise, its reddened rays would pierce 

fog of misperception, waiting for you:

become a conceptual woman, too

tired by the wind and its haze, coerced

no longer by manipulative hands,

the elements demand that you survive  

in deference to them and their dark wails.

To the brine muse these were effortless rants,

she had no evil notions to contrive,

she effaced them with her green siren’s tail.


In the depths beneath which the mer-castle

lay, there was a siren queen with refined

melodious lines and beings, benign

starfish fibula made wool oracles.

From a mermaid’s nautilus shell emerged

in marine blue, carded yarn, like a dream.

The mermaids held her baby son supreme,

from the rule of Tristan not now submerged.

The queenly mother sang, harmonious

the salt waters drifted by, eventide

in laser cut brass and soft enamel:

whisperings of the seahorse to the gust

of salt and lash of navy. Sunset’s bride:

moon will rise at twelve and ride in purple.


Deserts beneath the sea were sandy, coarse, 

with scarlet crustaceans in number

to seduce those golden torn asunder

and the bottom’s tap of thunder was remorse.

The conductor continued at the reigns

of the sea house deep beneath the turquoise;

it was a mermaid’s lair and with my eyes

I saw the brittle castle’s coral veins.

Flanked by equestrian horses in red,

I plumbed the deeps of oceanic bliss

and sky aglow with setting lucid teints.

O’er the cliffs the rival raptors circled.

I wore linen (and was of sea born lips),

the highlight of my crown was ruby painted.


Let the beautiful marine chord resound—

O Linen: undertunic of the sand,

tri-coloured, penchant, hanging from the land;

our stitches have reclothed you, and we found

you hanging by a mermaid’s silver thread.

The haggard stones of earth your tomb laid bare,

archaic doctrines speak of mermaid’s lair,

the simple life of stone on stone for bed.

Their pillow lies beneath my head, for dire

is the hard life of those who work not play

for bread of kale, and crusty Irish moss.

The jewels of the mind and heart, the wire

therein the caverns of the sea doth weigh

of blood on fire. The eldest simple cloth.


Fine and unusual sleeves in garnet,

the embroidery meanders mouline,

pendants of magic and solstice earring

wear themes of the wind’s silken clarinet.

This, your favourite white tunic—a dress

so long it would drag on the castle floor;

but executioner is at the door—

life is over with its clumsy caress.

He seeks a chopping of your golden locks;

his orders are clear: you’ll have no trial.

You look already dressed in acclaim’s bills

of mermaid songs and runes among the rocks,

the shores have woven memory in style,

linguist: but what is that to the lame hills.


Bright dominant chord sounds in ocean’s nave,

each home of pearl-fringed shell is icy kind,

but is there not a tear behind the smile?

The sea is calling, knows your ancient cave.

The mer-Queen waits for Tristan to come home

each night by window roped in black velvet;

even though the stars are far away, sits

she by the casement, wary of his throne.

This bonnet in kind is made of fine lace,

is the baby’s helmet and the sea salt

stirs. Rivers of the deep flow, currents down,

where Medea pours oils upon the face

of beggarly poor who heavenward call—

salt mines of poetry beneath the ground.

Emily Isaacson

Eclipsed poem: with material from the line Sea Born

by Armstreet Clothing. Used by permission.

Photo used by permission: Armstreet Clothing Company