What the Sirens Sang
for choir SSA and piano (2007)
duration: 4’
text by Ross Baglin
GRT • 131

audio sample

score available from
Australian Music Centre

program note
This piece is based on the famous “siren song” of the Odyssey, however Homer’s sailors are represented by a submariner, hiding but trapped in his alien environment.  The Sirens seek to seduce him from his protective shell by projecting the loveliness of water in its civilised forms ashore : sun, flowers, pebbled streams, etc.

It is not uncommon for submariners, distracted by lack of oxygen and fear, to try to open hatches while submerged.   It is not clear whether this, or the sirens’ song, is the reason that our submariner is washed ashore, his drowned face “revealed” to the loving sirens in the last section.

(Ross Baglin)

Beloved we will touch your face
And find your lips, for only we
Can carve a stone with fingertips
Or brush with waves your stealing ships,
Thread from sun a rainbow's flight,
Be hypnotised in tidal lights.

Engrave the sky with feathered hooks
Read willows into steepled brooks -
Sculpt restless fountains into shows
From sullen arms invoke the rose,
Palm jagged fractions pebble-smooth,
Hold images in streams that move.

Last night, I saw your face revealed
In shuffling waves of paint and wood,
Then hovering, unheard music moved
The dance of the anemone
And shadowed submarines that thread
The silver links of seas.