Wednesday, October 23, 2013

sketchbook: siren

She sings her siren
and the current
riffles though her tail
like a gentle breeze
through a leafy tree.

K. van Schoonhoven

I have long been enamored of mermaids. I remember swimming as a little girl with my legs together as if I had a single tail with a fin on it. I read Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" before I was 10.

In college, I read Homer's The Odyssey and was thrilled by the description of the sirens. Their song, so captivating, they lured many entranced sailors to their deaths on the rocky shore. Odysseus, determined to hear their song and survive, instructed his sailors to lash him to the mast and to stop their own ears with wax. They sailed past the sirens and Odysseus heard the song, but because he was immobilized, and his crew deaf to his cries, he could not order them to follow the song to their destruction.

Also in college, I "discovered" the Pre-Raphaelites and saw the beautiful painting, "The Siren,"  by John William Waterhouse.

"The Siren" by J.W. Waterhouse, 1900
Now, with a regular habit of swimming and many hours spent on the water in a boat, I continue to entertain an attraction for these mythical creatures. 

Heraclitus: "Knowing many things
does not teach insight."

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