‘Chaos A Raw and Undivided Mass’ Mass 2/4 : Transformations Poems (Book 1)

13 Mar


George Braque Metamorphoses

February 2013-March 2014

17 poets, 15 months, creating 1 contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

See the Transformations Page for more details or the ‘Present Collaborations’ Tab


Poems Inspired by Book 1 


Karin Heyer, Nat Hall, Rebecca Audra Smith


After Long Contemplation

.by Karin Heyer


She returned home after long contemplation

to her story of everlasting, eternal change

pulsing in her

metamorphosis bursting – light

like The Milky Way:

brightening the heavens

men were pure and good

they knew no evil,

north and south

east and west

meant justice, equality,

good will and tempered rest;

go the middle way.


Yet, she remembered change must be —


iron ruled later the hearts of men,

Napoleon, colour-blind,

saw red blood as green as grass; and

when Hitler scourged Europe,

howling winds sent a sea of tears,

a scream of the century,

a wail for the dead

in protest against irredeemable, unspeakable harm done.

In her grief she remembered

change must be:

‘work to heal’ the stars shouted,

as an old man Chagall made

Stained Glass Windows

celebrating all life in the proudest blue:

she remembered, change for the good must be.



In Orbit with Gods

by Nat Hall


Sharing an orbit with gods, all but a no small experience.


From Bushman’s Dream to Walkabout, look again through their great spyglass,

mystic iris from the lizard to brightest corner of your sky,

array of light over weeping clouds’ stubbornness.

Tell them to follow the river –

today you seek a tête-a-tête without a grin of derision.


Time for redd-up* after high tides –


as cosmic storms grow out of breath,

you cast a glance through the window, sparkled with salt,

star and sawdust, call out their names from the shallows – shapes

inside sand fashions tricksters.

You look serene as you blow off Chinese lanterns –

your horizon now within sight.


Alone on this corner of cliffs,

amid deserts so desolate, ravens would never dare to nest,

last of sea pinks turn into straw; you too can handle this harshness,

grief, anger from an early gale – le vent divin**

caught inside tears, laughter or smiles –


comb comet’s hair,

hang prayer flags in between Imbolc & Beltane;

dressed in orange, you could not look more visible, gods do not mind

bright oilskins: they’re accustomed to fishermen.


There, at your feet, torn Atlantic pays its respect.


To reach for your gods in orbit,.

your compassion so far beyond blue stratosphere, this other side,

half of the sky, you throw sea mayweeds to wild waves.

Today the wind still speaks their names,

not just a dream but

truth or dare.

Note: *) redd-up: spring clean – **) le vent divin = the divine wind



The Alchemists’ Lab

by Nat Hall


It all started elemental: a single H, gods’ creation.

Clashing atoms created light,

look for bright clouds

in this emptiness

we call space,



their perfection.

Beyond black belt of loneliness,

strange atoms fuse to make a star;

it’s shining there, brighter than white,

beyond the red of nebulae,

like a lone ghost,

or an angel.

Magnetic fields,

cosmic cobwebs, I trap debris and solar flares

like butterflies inside a net;

>>>>a home in space for a mortal,

>>>>>>>>>the turning Earth… the growing moon…

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>the visionary rendez-vous *



*) Thank you, gods, for inventing a space man as poetical as Mr. E. Morgan!


© Nat Hall 2013


The Flood

after Book 1, Metamorphoses, Ovid.

by Rebecca Audra Smith


A woman scrambles onto a hotel top;

another leans from a boat’s prow, she sees her face

where once her feet had passed; a third

weaves her hair into a net, trawling for her baby

in waters where the drowned cradle rocks.


Cars, plentiful as corks, bob in the flow.

A shelf, half flooded, surfaces

long emptied. Islands made of splinters,

trees turned to table, now to rubble.

Bodies adrift, afloat on a reckless current.


While a girl clings to the crown of an elm;

a puffer fish rests in a garden. At points

a child’s cry is carried by the rippling water,

roofs break easily as toys. Where scrawny chickens

pecked, slippery seals gambol.



by Rebecca Audra Smith


The cow has been skylarking with the lads,

the strumpet heifer. Hooves crack the fleshy foot,

rip the bodice of ribs and show a muzzled being.

If only words would come. Instead a lowing.


She diets on a pastured ground

where earth shines through, brooding

on thoughts of what went wrong,

eyes mute and solid in the drizzle.

Scratch a two lettered name in the dirt,

limp home, a staggering two legged gait.

She doesn’t want to talk, timorous

of the way words can sound.


A sudden misting of the night

can still leave her, untethered.



by Rebecca Audra Smith


Each sister takes a pore. They press their mouths

to her body, kiss her cells to blossom plants;

comb her hair, thin each strand to reed.


Urgent they preserve her, take her pale skin;

swift, more fleet fingered than Pan who pants

behind, curses spilling from his lips as he grasps


marsh reeds. A sodden armful breaks and crackles,

slim stems chaff and call in his palms.


One Response to “‘Chaos A Raw and Undivided Mass’ Mass 2/4 : Transformations Poems (Book 1)”

  1. beccaaudra March 14, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Reblogged this on beccaaudra and commented:
    Poems from Book I, Ovid.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: