Winners 2012

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Hannah Tran (Commended)

Dalriada Grammar School, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

The Sirens Tell their Tale

Our long sorrows, sir, would far overreach
Those ever suffered by your much-made Ulysses.

No gilded god’s favour, no goddess’s fuss,
No nymph’s silver shelter. No, never for us.

Only the slam of the cliffs, slap of the sea,
Greased seaweed and slathering filth of fish,

Gnarled cockles and splaying bone-gnawed shores –
See! even sand wearies of this barraging flush.

Any wonder when sea mists breathe in soaring dance
Spun gold-dust and dewlit in dawn’s rosy hands

When the midnight moon’s curving velvet glance
Sweeps a sleepless tease, a swelling perchance

Any wonder we peal out in plea?
When the small ships slip free above the line we see

More than fog for our eyes
More than sea for our song

– Of course, full blind fools are we. Loneliness is hunger
Like any other need.

Still we catch their corpses recurring. Swathe them in kelp
And salted remorse. Bury them back and bear away in hymn.

Tally them up down behind the dead loch.
We here are they who name the land’s loss.

You curse us, you sailors, for your dead deep sea-brothers.
You dread our soft speech, sweet sighs, sung stroke:

We see, when your oath-crusted, grief-splintered voices
Split out across the ocean’s slope. We see you fear us

No less than we fear,
Scoring our mirror allure off the rocks.

© Hannah Tran, 2012

Project Details

  • Date February 8, 2015
  • Tags 2012 Voyages - Winning Poems