The Sirens

Along the busy street the sirens pass,
Their long, shrill wailing trailing in their train
Like ancient women keening for the loss
Of sons or husbands on the field slain.
Approaching, fading, like a spectral car
That spirits in at night and in the morning
Has carried off a cherished someone. Far
Into the night, their voices rise in warning:
A fire, an accident, a passing crime,
Who knows what news their shapeless screaming tells,
Whose names the papers will report in time?
They'll be forgotten as our mind compels
Us to our daily duties and routine,
Yet still we hear the passing sirens scream.

George Chadderdon © 2002