Unlike the previous 2 blog entries, this piece is NOT a word challenge response. It was inspired by the CSN&Y song, "Helplessly Hoping" (you can find the song in the MP3 player on my A|N page). The song, Helplessly Hoping", uses alliteration very effectively; the way it's supposed to be used. I, however, wondered how far one could take alliteration and still produce a meaningful piece.

The following piece was an experiment in alliteration; the first 2 stanzas in “S”, the last 2 in “M”. Phonetically, there are 53 "S" sounds in the first half and 47 "M" sounds in the second half.


The skipperless ship seemingly steered itself,
a seabound sarcophagus, circling, spiraling;
sailing steadily, surely, to the source
of the spellbinding, sepulchral, sound
at the center of the surreal and swirling storm.

Soon we saw the sultry, sensuous siren:
statuesque, salacious, seductive and sinister.
In solitude, she sat swaying side to side
singing soulful soliloquies of sadness,
suffering, sorrow, sin and insanity.

Mesmerized, my muscles motionless,
mentally mired in a mystic, miasmic, milieu,
a maniacal melee menaced my mind
as melodious mermaid minstrels
molested me with malevolent medlies.

Against this mongrel manatee melody,
I mightily mustered my mettle,
managing a momentary memory
– my mirthful maiden’s mouth meeting mine –
then: monstrous mayhem, mutilation and massacre.

© Free Thinker


For those unfamiliar with the link between sirens, mermaids and manatees . . .

Sirens and Mermaids:

Sirens are mythical creatures made famous by Homer’s “Odyssey”. Sirens were part bird part woman and lived on an island from which they sang hypnotic songs that lured sailors to their death by causing them to shipwreck on the rocky shores of the island. Probably because it was sailors the sirens lured and also because in Spanish, French, Italian, Polish and Portuguese, the words for mermaid are, respectively: Sirena, Sirène, Sirena, Syrena and Sereia – the word, siren, was transformed, over time, to represent mermaids. Later stories of sirens depict them luring sailor in to eat them. Some depict the sailors dying of starvation because they’re unwilling or unable to eat or leave the island – so entranced are they by the siren song.

Mermaids and Manatees:

Through the ages, sailors have reported seeing mermaids at sea – usually at a distance. This was explained away as an illusion caused by the imaginations of men who have spent too much time in the exclusive company of other men and who mistook a distant manatee for a mermaid – a mistake not likely to occur up close (if you’ve never seen a manatee, take my word for it).

Mongrel Manatees:

A mongrel is defined, by Dictionary.com, as:

1. a dog of mixed or indeterminate breed.
2. any animal or plant resulting from the crossing of different breeds or varieties.
3. any cross between different things, esp. if inharmonious or indiscriminate.
4. of mixed breed, nature, or origin; of or like a mongrel.

In this piece, mongrel is used as an adjective (#4) to modify “manatee” – a mongrel manatee is, therefor, a cross of creatures producing the mermaid so often attributed to horny sailors.

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