Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Songs and fools

Last weekend I had a brief brush with gunfire while driving home early one morning from a friend's house taking a detour. I won't elaborate here, but I'm fine, witnessed the scene in my car and couldn't escape; had to leave my car and come back to get it. The fist fights have disappeared, guns and wars keep growing like adolescents without anywhere to channel their energy except in hate. Our President has to be talked into wearing a tux to meet the Queen (a little boy once put in the corner away from her by his mother so he wouldn't make a fool of himself). Ah, the fools are still out there and we the bystanders are left wondering whether to fight or to leave.

"Siren Song"
by Margaret Atwood, from Selected Poems 1965 -1975. © Houghton Mifflin, 1987.

Siren Song

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.

No comments: