‘The Seas that Ring the World’ Ring 3/5 : Transformations Poems (Book 2)

17 Apr


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 2 


Kate Garrett and James Knight


Damsel in Distress

by Kate Garrett

(After Ovid’s ‘Jupiter and Europa’)


The young woman stands in the foyer,

laughing with her friends, wearing


high-heeled boots over iridescent skin.

You knew a few adjustments would   


put you in her sights. So you dyed

your hair, disguised the decadence


with a plain white shirt and leather jacket,

and positioned your smile just right.


You perfumed yourself with tobacco and honey,

smoky sweet like the words you now speak


into her ear. You tell her she’s

a goddess, the most alluring. You’re in luck:


She leans closer to listen

and touches your arm;


you feel the warmth of her breasts

through her velvet dress, through your sleeve.


You tamp down what builds up

from inside out, save it for later –


keep chatting, charming

your way in –


she suggests you walk together

after the gig, kisses your jaw with magenta lips –


yes, save the rest for when

you’ve carried her away from here.


13 free associations on the tale of Jupiter and Callisto. 

by James Knight 


1. A jovial philanderer crouches behind some bushes, staff in hand.  


2. Nymph, in thy orisons be thy sins remembered. She doesn’t hear his words. Something dark tugs at her eye. 


3. I’m just a sweet transvestite! screeches Red John, strutting like a peacock. His plumage bristles, green-eyed.


4. Little Bear weeps. Who’s been sitting in my chair? Meanwhile, Mummy Bear has a shit in the woods.


5. Diana, Princess of Wales, Queen of Hearts, shrieks: Off with her maidenhead!


6. She goes all moony around Mr Big Bollocks.


7. At the heart of this story you’ll find deceit, sexual predation and rape. It’s very life-affirming. Very heart-warming. A classic. 


8. Did you do a sex wee?


9. Bath time under a light, white as God. 


10. Where’s the poetry in this? Would you like something prettier? 


11. A pregnant pause while she deranges herself. The broken mirror gives back her image, multiplied by thirteen.


12. A simple enough story. A man, a woman, a pleasure garden. Where is the snake?


13. The poet of the Void spins stories into the World Wide Web.



To find out more about Kate and James try these:

Kate Garrett



James Knight:





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