Wordle 11 of The Sunday Whirl,, almost defeated me. I started with it just like all the wordles before; except, the words did not fall into place this time.

I’m still caught up in enjambment and wanted to push the limit. ‘Siren’ decided it was going to be the dominant theme and a police poem shaped up . . . and fizzled. After trying to write it from a police point of view, I took evil’s point of view. It still didn’t work. Alternating stanzas between police and evil didn’t work.

Finally, I scrubbed the whole process and contrived a poem without a heart. Every line was forced and it shows. This may be one of those poems on which to practice editing. Maybe it has enough viable organs for a heart transplant.

by Mike Patrick

Some waste their lives in constant search
for flecks of scattered gold. They dream
of wealthy treasure ships in seas
of shallow clear. Their lives, they scheme

with charlatans for worthless charts
to wrecks that don’t exist. They seek
the isle of Sirens songs, the fear
of which some men still dare to speak.

Off Anthemusa’s rocky shore,
where King Odessius prevailed,
there rests the bones and limbs
of many bygone ships which sailed

to ground to hear the Siren’s call.
The rigging on their broken masts
for years has flossed the morning skies.
They are now part of Earth’s great past

where fading dead await fresh hands
to pull on oars no longer there.
That phantom ship just clears the reef
and hurtles on the rocks before

the crew can get her turned away.
Again the sand obtains its gold
below the land where Sirens flew.
Tossed and buried by tides turned cold

awaiting men who dive and search
and add their spoils into the pool.
They do not know the Sirens live
and call the empty minds of fools.

This entry was posted in A Wording Whirl of Sundays, Iambic, Poetry, Rhyming, Sunken Ships, Tetrameter and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to THE SIRENS’ HOLD

  1. TheMsLvh says:

    The rigging on their broken masts
    for years has flossed the morning skies.
    They are now part of history’s past

    That is genius!

  2. Not a bad effort at all!

  3. margo roby says:

    So. Sounds like you are ripe for play. I think you should launch yourself into an interesting form that, once I conquered my fears regarding it, has become one of my favourite ways to write a poem: a pantoum. Okay…take the second and fourth line of the first stanza [you still with me?] and they become the first and third line of the next stanza. The new second and fourth line become the next first and third line. And on until you are done.

    When I first wrote one I went through a poem that looked/sounded like it would work. A lot of the ‘new’ lines came from already written lines that I shifted from other stanzas, but I also allowed the repeated lines to suggest new lines. Thoroughly confused? Try it and see if you can work it out. If not let me know and I will send you an example.

    After my initial try at it, I kept my eye out for strong quatrains that I thought would make for good repetition. They are a lot of fun to write.


  4. vivinfrance says:

    Margo, I had to write a pantoum (and a sonnet and two villanelles) for my final assignment before my degree. I haven’t written one since!

  5. vivinfrance says:

    Mike that is one helluva gorgeous poem. I love the mythical nature of it, the enjambment is interesting, and so cleverly worked into the meter.

  6. Susannah says:

    I too had trouble with this wordle. I think you did very well and ended up with quite an epic story though I understand what you mean about having to force lines, I did too. 🙂

  7. nan says:

    This is terrific. Great images and nice rhythm/flow. One would never know you initially had trouble with this! I especially liked:
    where fading dead await fresh hands
    to pull on oars no longer there.

  8. brenda w says:

    While I agree it needs work…the flow just isn’t there for me yet … the narrative is there. We the readers “get” sirens from your piece. That is a good thing. There’s a lot of meat here, Mike. I hope you keep at it, it’s a gold mine.

    Margo has something there with the pantoum. They can be haunting, it might work beautifully. Work though, eh? Life gets crazy…oh for a personal assistant. ha!

  9. irene says:

    Your process notes impressed me with its honest transparency. And I’ve been thinking about Odysseus, you know as afterthought, which would be the most obvious thing from that word, Sirens. Your narrative reworking that is very engaging which would suggests a bit of tweaking is all that’s needed. I needed someone to write about the Sirens and you did. High five, Mike!

  10. Tilly Bud says:

    It’s much better than you led us to believe. If you’re not happy, why not make it free verse? Play around with it like that; something might strike a chord and you can go back to rhyme.

  11. Mary Kling says:

    I appreciate your candidness regarding what you think of your poem. I do like it though, so don’t sell yourself short. Maybe if you are not satisfied with it, you will come back to it at another time and some ‘fixes’ will come. If not, at least you accepted the challenge to write this wordle.

    Did you look at Poets United today? YOU are featured…take a look. Enjoy!

  12. Mr. Walker says:

    Mike, I like this one lots. One, I’ve always loved the Odyssey, and your take on the Sirens is great. I love the beginning and ending, and how you weaved that Siren call throughout. From wasting “their lives in constant search” to the “empty minds of fools”, you capture the thoughts and actions of those lured by that call.


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