Allow Me to Paint a Picture of the Siren

Shield Yourselves by Elena Eisenstadt

Her two forms circle like the seasons:
Maiden and Monster
Deceptively innocent beauty;
Brilliant guillotine danger.
Life and death incarnate.
She is the Maiden, the dream,
Cloudfar sunsets, radiant; Aphrodite rising gloriously on wavecrests
Seafoam, pearl, abalone.
She is the Monster, the nightmare,
Silver slivers of ice, knifing; there-and-gone predator finflicks
Horrific deepsea stirrings.
In her lighter form
She haunts the rocky islands, tidepools, inlets,
Glittering spray mist into rainbows
Stealing and enfolding the splendor from the very sun.
In her darker form
She hunts in the fathomless night of the ocean,
Gliding soundless, rippling reality
Tracing the line between visible and invisible.
But the shadowy beneath is not her only hunting grounds—
See the driftbones and lostings around her island?
Wind and water crash spectacular against her rock
And she stands, ethereal perfection
Drawing you with her spidersilk beauty
Soul singing achingly
Ships heartbreaking at her feet.

Discussion questions:
What real-world trait does the siren’s beauty represent?
What are the limitations of beauty?
What other qualities should a woman have that gives her strength?
In whose perspective is this poem written? Is that perspective trustworthy?

Previously published after winning the River of Words Poetry and Art Contest by Colorado Humanities in 2016
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Aydia Caplan is a senior at George Washington High School in Denver, Colorado. You can usually find her at her sprawlingly cluttered desk, listening to alternative rock, and giving a blank piece of paper an equally blank stare as she tries to fill it with hope alone.
Accompanying photo: “Shield Yourselves” by Elena Eisenstadt