From the sea he sees me on my rock
…perched, he thinks,
like a delicate song bird chittering, lovely,
on the most outstretched branch of a tree,
riding out a lively wind with grace,
simply, and yet wondrously.
No, dear mariner,
This siren who catches your eye today,
who captivates your mind from one thousand yards away,
lying upon her bed of crags,
is not so gentle as your bird, nor her song near sweet.
She is not warm; she does not sing.
Her lips, while open wide as though to sing,
at the end of an outstretched neck lifted toward marbled heavens, high
eyes pulled shut as though in passion’s grip–
Those lips bring forth no melodies of joy, nor hope, nor peace
nor even longings to be with thee.
The Black Siren, aye, does naught but SCREAM
The Black Siren, I DO NAUGHT BUT SCREAM–
At the beauty, joy, the peace seemingly far out of reach
At damnation upon this beach
of bolders sharp as shattered glass
the raven-black of ash
now stranded here, for centuries
a land to which I chose retreat
The risen waters kiss my knees and dare me to know freedom.
From far off, you gaze upon my frame transfixed.
My limbs are full and strong;
My complexion drinks the sun.
But take heed, dear sailor, for in truth
My bosom is not soft, and my skin, it gives no heat.
Legend has it that my heart still beats.
So, be not mistaken voyager, take heed!
Seeker of a land to set down your cargo and lay your head,
a willing partner to share your bed,
do not continue towards the shore.
Here, you will find no human but a ghost…
Lest deep within petrified walls
I shall one day cry out just shrill enough,
break sound enough,
to decimate this rock that keeps me hostage and unmoved,
hardened as the stone upon which I sit,
head high and chin up.
What other paths could I have chosen?
To both keep my flesh and blood and withstand the waves like this?
What you believe, from yonder there, to be melodies is not song
but the dissonance of violent ocean against primal scream.
Turn round your ship for I fear
if my shell has yet to break before you touch the shore,
surely your heart will.
This is my appeal.
Copyright © 2018 Audrey McElrath