Medusa Was a Manatee

Armitage Siren

The Siren by Edward Armitage, Leeds Art Gallery; via Wikimedia Commons

Floating on a sullen sea without a breath of wind
A searing sun beating down upon a sailor’s skin
And somewhere in the distance he hears the Sirens sing
Calling him, calling him, calling him …

Luring sailors to the rocks with songs of sweet beguile
Visions of a woman seen through salty, slitted eyes
The Sirens playing tricks on them as on the rocks they die
Calling them, calling them…

Odysseus and Orpheus and sailors on all seas
Told their stories of the maids who tantalised and teased
Combing out their long wet hair, their voices in the breeze
Calling them, calling them …….

Now, Medusa was a Gorgon, a sister of Sirene
With hair of snakes, golden scales, giant eyes of green
Or was she just a manatee not wanting to be seen
Calling them…….

The sisters of Sirenia were never manatees
Neither were they dugongs nor cows that cruised the seas
And none has sung a song that brought a sailor to his knees
For the truth is…..
They’re really older women of a menopausal bent
Lying naked on the rocks their bodies slick with sweat
Matted hair in tangled knots covering their breasts
The ebb and flow of Luna’s pull offering no rest
The ebb and flow of Luna’s pull offering no rest
The ebb and flow of Luna’s pull offering no rest

A woman’s face, seaweed hair, dugongs with lobed tails
Mermaids, sirens, manatees, feathers, wings and scales
History now tell us they just were fishy tales
Calling them, calling them, calling them

©2009 Deb Maike

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1 comment for “Medusa Was a Manatee

  1. July 31, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Great poem about mermaids and aging – thank you.

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