For my British Lit class we have this thing called a “creative project” which is designed to torture us to get us to fully understand how Chaucer and various other authors wrote such great works like The Canterbury Tales, or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. My professor gave us four options, and I had no idea what to do for any except number three. So number three it was.
As Chaucer is known for taking previous stories and telling them himself, with a moral attached (basically the ENTIRE Canterbury Tales) I had to take a pre-existing story and put it into metered lines. I also needed a rhyme scheme. The pre-existing story I chose was the excerpt from The Odyssey in which Odysseus must pass the Singing Sirens. The “moral” of my story would be that it isn’t a good idea for anyone to tempt fate as Odysseus does. I would appriciate all comments letting me know what you think; I’m still a little unsure of it.
And now it is time to tell the tale
Of a single man and his fight so great,
Our hero Odysseus without fail
Struggled and tried, we find, to tempt fate.
By way of the open sea, traveling home
There was the island of Aiaia just offshore,
Odysseus spotted a land shaped dome
Where he must bring the body of Elpenor.
So soon Circê learned of his arrival
That she met Odysseus at her door,
And told him of the many things fatal
That his future journey had in store.
She spoke at length of beautiful girls
Detailing the charm in their haunting cries,
She told his men the power they unfurl
And to plug their ears with wax, looking to
If Odysseus must look upon their face
He will surely be bewitched, and so to
A mast on the ship must he be put in place
And bound where he cannot break through.
Odysseus and his men they listened
And began on their long journey back,
When they came upon the Sirens’ island
The men quickly came under attack.
Calm took over as the water became still
The wind suddenly became obsolete,
As Circê’s prophecy began to fulfill
The crew found paddling away no easy feat.
The men tied their leader to the ship’s mast
Plugging the wax in their ears so bravely,
When Odysseus cried to be set free fast
His crew tied him tighter for his own safety.
The beautiful women opened their mouths
Their haunting song ringing loud and clear,
The crew paddled faster towards the South
Careful not to let her words reach their ears.
The women taunted and beckoned and called
Odysseus wanted nothing more than to stay,
The crew tightened their grip and were appalled
Reminding him of family not so far away.
Odysseus screamed and yelled and pleaded
But his crew simply would not oblige,
He roared until he thought himself defeated
He could see the resistance in their eyes.
Finally the Sirens’ island they passed
Odysseus happily headed home,
The crew was sorry they ever trespassed
But glad they did not do so alone.
And so, you see, Odysseus did try
To tempt fate by hearing the Sirens’ song,
But at the end of the tale fortune is sly
For fate was in control all along.