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A Siren

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(after Saba)

Anyone watching you in the water would think: ‘A siren!’
Winner in the women’s swimming event, you seem
strange on the screen of my inglorious life.
While you smile in triumph I tie a thread,
a thin unbreakable thing, to your toe
but you stride past without noticing me.
Your friends, young like yourself, crowd round
and make a noise in the bar; and then
just for a moment cloud-shadow, a grave
motherly shadow shivers down from your
eyebrows to the proud, beautiful chin
 
and joins your rising to my own setting sun.

 

Derek Mahon, "A Siren" from New Collected Poems. Copyright © 2011 by Derek Mahon.  Reprinted by permission of The Gallery Press.
Source: Collected Poems (The Gallery Press, 2008)
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A Siren

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