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
Lenka Monk and Rebecca Audra Smith
by Lenka Monk
The most precious thing.
A treasured silver string of glass beads,
Wrapped tightly around one’s heart.
Silent oaths taken.
Prepared to do anything and everything,
And guard it from twisted knots of evil.
But they grow.
Time knocks them, roughens the edges.
With mind of their own,
Free to rebel.
Confidence of youth.
No danger too great,
No boundaries or lengths
Exploring their fate.
Heartfelt advice given,
Yet not heeded.
Burned to ashes in the stratosphere.
The once rebellious spirit
Tamed to death.
Trampled on by hoofs of flame.
No matter how firm the grip is,
The glass beads they slip through,
Smashing on the floor.
A million broken pieces
So tiny, they fit through
The eye of a needle.
And yet so sharp.
A scalpel slicing the soul.
A constant void
Left behind filled only
With stricken grief.
by Becca Audra Smith
Smooth point of thumb nail softens, becomes leaf;
a mother sleeps in arms of branches. They sway, they rock.
She dreams daughters human, feet light as feathers,
three slender girls given birth to as bodies,
now bark swollen with tears greet her as she wakes
smelling of embers, her children made her a desert.
He remembers fire, scorched dust, he deserts
the smoke of his memories, parched he leaves
to hatch by a lake, fire can’t stoke him awake,
stalking the marsh, where gentle water rocks.
Bones curdle to form a long white body,
his life from now on all mud and feathers.
A flurry of snow turning to night-black feathers;
the crow flew into blackness as she flew a beach desert
pursued by love turned to force, her writhing body
cloaked in bird form; now she alights in the leaves,
watches the sea beat itself to foam on the rocks.
She was white as a cloud; till one day blame awoke.
As an arrow drains a life, another awakes.
Taken from a mother’s ashes, Apollo feathers
the nest of a cave for a son, growing strong on rock,
the stink of seaweed. A life born of her deserts,
prophesy half told; his eyes wide to see a woman leave
her humanity, a hoof stamps; a huge cantering body.
Over a sister’s limbs creeps the weight of stone, body
veined with dark marble. Pebbles themselves awake
and flock to see toes turn statue still. She will not leave
and she will not; a raven caws to watch, a single feather
tickling a stone nose, as black as volcanic desert,
a life built of silence, in frozen lava, in spent rock.
Children quarrel and play near the rock
of a woman once jealous. Crows peck on the body,
far from the dust of a man-made desert, how deserted
trees sing near a river, their soul ever wakeful,
as a swan with the flare of a beak cleans his feathers.
The children weep, and hold hands, then they leave.
Phaeton’s twin sister
by Becca Audra Smith
Pale as an onion, slim as an arrow,
she wishes Diana for a mother.
She went to where the white mares
jostled and flicked tails; foaming manes
she stroked, then slipped into the chariot
burnished with moonlight, sea jewels,
she took the moon to it’s height.
It was a wax night, stars shone like lanterns
then reared like stallions at her approach,
the reins tight in her hands as she pondered
the earth spread beneath her, a haunted
shadowy globe patterned in death, in love.