Lost Poetry Quotations
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Posted by: katy (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: March 03, 2003 06:20PM

I read a poem some years ago, now I cannot remember who wrote it or its name.

The poem was about a mermaid, or siren, that lured a sailor into the sea to his death.

Do you regognise this at all?

Re: looking for a poem i once read
Posted by: marian2 (---.in-addr.btopenworld.com)
Date: March 04, 2003 04:04AM

The really old one is a song, called the Loreli. The original is German so there are a lot of different translations to the same tune, and is written from a sailors point of view - my favourite, learned amnd mostly forgotten at schol, (and which I haven't been able to find the full text of again) starts 'I know not what comes o'er me/ But thus my spirits fail/ Strange visions arise before me/I think of an ancient tale. Margaret Atwood also wrote a poem called Siren Song on the same theme, from the Siren's viewpoint. It starts 'This is the one song everyone/Would like to learn: the song/ That is irresistible'

Re: looking for a poem i once read
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: March 04, 2003 02:19PM

You might also be remembering the last few lines of THE LOVE SONG OF J. ALFRED PROFROCK, by T.S. Eliot:

    I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

    I do not think that they will sing to me.

    I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
    Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
    When the wind blows the water white and black.

    We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
    By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
    Till human voices wake us, and we drown.


You can read the whole poem at:

Re: looking for a poem i once read
Posted by: Pam Adams (134.71.18.---)
Date: March 04, 2003 02:51PM

Try this link for a translation of Die Lorelei.
[www.emule.com] />

Re: looking for a poem i once read
Posted by: Ralph (---.humboldt1.com)
Date: March 04, 2003 05:03PM

Ich weiss nicht was soll es bedeuten,
Das Ich so traurig bin,
Ein maerchen aus uralten Zeiten,
Das kommt mich nicht aus dem Sinn,

I don't remember all of it, and I'm not sure I got even this 1st stanza right, but it is, of course, "Die Lorelei" by Heinrich Heine, among the best lknown German poems.

Re: looking for a poem i once read
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: March 04, 2003 05:36PM

But Katy wants a poem about a sailor who is successfully ensnared by a mermaid ... any ideas?

Katy, can you recall even a fragment that would help us pin this down? There is a lot of mermaid stuff "out there"!


This probably isn't Katy's poem, but it turned up in a Bartleby search for the word MERMAID:

    The Mermaid
    by Allen Upward

    THE SAILOR boy who leant over the side of the Junk of
    Many Pearls, and combed the green tresses of the sea
    with his ivory fingers, believing that he had heard the
    voice of a mermaid, cast his body down between the waves.

FROM: "Scented Leaves from a Chinese Jar," originally published in Harriet Monroe, ed., The New Poetry: An Anthology. 1917.

Re: looking for a poem
Posted by: patricia dement (---.aspensys.com)
Date: March 20, 2003 05:42PM

looking for a poem having to do with a dead young soldier. the only lines i remember said something like, "brush back the hair from his fair young brow..." i thought the title was "Somebody's Darling," but am not sure. please help.

Re: looking for a poem
Posted by: rikki (---.wc.optusnet.com.au)
Date: March 20, 2003 08:06PM

This one?

Somebody's Darling

Into a ward of the whitewashed walls
Where the dead and the dying lay
Wounded by bayonets, shells, and balls
Somebody's darling was borne one day.

Somebody's darling! so young and so brave,
Wearing still on his pale sweet face
Soon to be hid by the dust of the grave
The lingering light of his boyhood's grace.

Matted and damp are the curls of gold
Kissing the snow of that fair young brow,
Pale are the lips of delicate mould
Somebody's darling is dying now.

Back from the beautiful blue-veined brow
Brush the wandering waves of gold;
Cross his hands on his bosom now
Somebody's darling is still and cold.

Kiss him once for Somebody's sake;
Murmur a prayer, soft and low;
One bright curl from the cluster take
They were Somebody's pride, you know.

Somebody's hand hath rested there;
Was it a mother's, soft and white?
And have the lips of a sister fair
Been baptized in those waves of light?

God knows best. He has Somebody's love;
Somebody's heart enshrined him there;
Somebody wafted his name above,
Night and mom, on the wings of prayer.

Somebody wept when he marched away,
Looking so handsome, brave, and grand;
Somebody's kiss on his forehead lay;
Somebody clung to his parting hand;

Somebody's watching and waiting for him,
Yearning to hold him again to her heart;
There he lies-with the blue eyes dim
And the smiling, child-like lips apart.

Tenderly bury the fair young dead,
Pausing to drop on his grave a tear;
Carve on the wooden slab at his head,
"Somebody's darling slumbers here!"

Marie Revenel de la Coste. 1864.

Re: looking for a poem
Posted by: katy (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: May 13, 2003 04:12PM

The poem I am looking for is not any of the ones suggested unfortunately - The sailor was lured into the water and im sure the person/mermaid/siren trapped him under a rock(?) until he drowned.

Re: looking for a poem
Posted by: Pam Adams (---)
Date: May 13, 2003 05:38PM

Do you remember any lines, or phrases?


Re: looking for a poem
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.MCLNVA23.covad.net)
Date: May 13, 2003 07:21PM

It does sound familiar, but will be tough to find, since I believe ALL sirens are supposed to lure sailors to a watery death.

Re: looking for a poem
Posted by: katy (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: May 15, 2003 05:30PM

Im sure it was more of a love type poem with a tragic end. Must have been siren/sailor combination though. Pretty sure it had the word 'deep' in it!!

Re: looking for a poem i once read
Posted by: rikki (---.carlnfd1.nsw.optusnet.com.au)
Date: July 14, 2003 02:54AM

I was browsing through Hope's 'Selected Poetry and Prose' today, and was reminded of this thread from a few weeks ago. Probably not the poem Katy was looking for, but (i think) worth a read anyway.


The Coasts of Cerigo

Half of the land, conscious of love and grief,
Half of the sea, cold creatures of the foam,
Mermaids still haunt and sing among the coves.
Sailors, who catch them basking on the reef,
Say they make love like women, and that some
Will die if once deserted by their loves.

Off shore, in deeper water, where the swell
Smokes round their crests, the cliffs of coral plunge
Fathom by fathom to the ocean floor.
There, rooted to the ooze-bed, they tell,
Strange sister to the polyp and the sponge,
To holothurian and madrepore,

The Labra wallows in her bath of time
And, drowned in timeless sleep, displays the full
Grace of a goddess risen from the wave.
Small scarlet-crabs with awkward gestures climb
Through the black seaweed drifting from her skull.
Her ladylegs gape darkly as a cave,

And through the coral clefts a gleam and gloom
Reveal the fronded arch, the pelvic gate;
Spotted and barred, the amorous fish swim in.
But in that hollow, mocking catacomb
Their love-songs echo and reverberate
A senseless clamour and a wordless din.

The love-trap closes on its gullible prey
Despite their sobs, despite their ecstatsies.
Brilliant with tropic bands and stripes, they dart
Through a delicious juice which eats away
Their scales and soon dissolves their goggle eyes
And melts the milt-sac and the pulsing heart.

The divers on these coasts have cruel hands;
Their lives are hard; they do not make old bones;
The brutal masters send them down too deep.
But sometimes, as he combs the clefts and sands,
Among the oyster-beds and bearded stones
One comes upon the Labra fast asleep

And throws away his knife, his bag of pearl,
To take her in his arms and wrench her free.
Their bodies cling together as they rise
Spinning and drifting in the ocean swirl.
The seamen haul them in and stand to see
The exquisite, fabled creature as she dies.

But while in air they watch her choke and drown,
Enchanted by her beauty, they forget
The body of their comrade at her side,
From whose crushed lungs the bright blood oozing down
Jewel by ruby jewel from the wet
Deck drops and merges in the turquoise tide.


Re: sailors
Posted by: Lil German Gurl (---.dip.t-dialin.net)
Date: June 03, 2004 12:36PM

Yea that poem with the sailors and all that is called Lorelei.

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