The Siren is a beast, usually blonde
That chooses a corner for herself in a much-frequented sea
And spreads herself upon a great rock
On the lookout for hardy sailors
With intentions that are beyond nautical.

The siren yells like a polecat
Apparently, to reel in the men
But in reality, with the end of also proving
That she is not really a fish.

In spite of this inferiority complex
She never hesitates to make advances on fat, hairy captains
But the Siren is not vain
For following Monsieur Dufrenne
She knows that sailors face (inevitably) awful deaths.

By Boris Vian
translated, from the French, by Claudio Sansone

Claudio Sansone is a Foundation Scholar in English Studies at Trinity College Dublin. He has published a number of poems, academic articles, and a short story. He is currently the editor of Icarus (Ireland’s oldest creative writing publication) and the Trinity Journal of Literary Translation. He will be starting his PhD research in the U.S. in the coming academic year.

Boris Vian (1920-1959) was a French writer, engineer, and musician who was an extremely importance influence within the French jazz scene.