Siren Song by Margaret Atwood

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:

the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls

the song nobody knows
because anyone who has heard it
is dead, and the others can’t remember.

Shall I tell you the secret
and if I do, will you get me
out of this bird suit?

I don’t enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical

with these two feathery maniacs,
I don’t enjoy singing
this trio, fatal and valuable.

I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song

is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique

at last. Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time.

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s website: http://www.margaretatwood.ca/

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About russellboyle.com

Russell Boyle, of russellboyle.com, is a mathematics teacher, writer, and poet. Russell is the author of a number of teaching resources, including the Year 7 to 8 Mathematics Short-Answer Tasks, the Year 7 to 10 Mathematics Multiple-Choice Tasks, the Year 9 Extended-Response Tasks, the solutions to the Year 12 VCAA Mathematics Exams and the Web-Programming For Beginners series of courses. Russell's poetry anthologies are titled The Beginning, Footprints and Loneliness.
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4 Responses to Siren Song by Margaret Atwood

  1. I found myself laughing at the end. Like Thomas Merton unable to watch the x-rated film because he couldn’t stop laughing?

  2. layanglicana says:

    And now you’ve introduced me to Margaret Attwood as a poet – this is as powerful and as – what’s the right word, edgy? – as her novels. Thank-you Russell 🙂

    • russellboyle says:

      “Edgy” is an apt description, I think. I am so pleased you like the poem and that I have introduced you to Atwood’s wonderful poetry. Thank you once again for introducing me to Robert Graves, who will be making an appearance on this blog in the near future.

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