‘Warmth and Wickedness’ Act 2/5 : Transformations Poems (Book 3)

13 May


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 3



Richard Biddle and Rebecca Audra Smith


it raises

by Richard Biddle

between some legs, flanked by flesh, unless thought

alive or wormed out, a shrinking violet wilts to rubbery


the aim of this swinging slit is a dwindling

purplish-blue, tender tissue; space-wet with gaping

elasticity, rigid as plastic and as annoying

as an inanimate bulge

this flaccid embarrassment’s pinky-blush plays for

pleasure-stiff bliss. with taut awkwardness it

thrusts itself upon itself, damply limp and pale

like blanched offal

it gets in the way

occasionally ending up in another’s bedraggled business

it is a used-up glue tube, sticky with sliminess

banked by breath, unseen voice begs, aghast gasps

writhe in burned shouts, a blinking pilot melts to sudden


the pain of this stinging blitz is a blinding

selfish-doom, power misused; hate-fed with misshaping

authenticity, turgid as bombastic plans and as cloying

as an overrated dirge

this rancid displacement’s shrinking crush makes for a

future-visited kiss. with pure mindfulness it

searches fold upon fold, inwardly lit and named

like clichéd dapple

it rests in the glade

sensationally winding up in a lover’s haggled fussiness

it is a turned-up blue tune, sickly with pettiness


Phaeton’s Twin Sister Parts II and III. 

by Rebecca Audra Smith

How to unpick the strands, in love
with Diana’s narrow hands
capable of blinding, of killing,
of pushing a man’s body into that
of a stag. How his feet felt their way
into hoofs, how his arms tore free
of his skin, how she bellowed
to see his stricken antlered face.


Watching from the shadows, followed,
sneaking, a footstep behind the virgin.
Grey and cloudy ground beneath her feet.
as the servants dressed, robes sleek,
she took a chance and under the moon’s
crescent weight her head bobbed. 


Fleeing the screams, the pleas and sobs
Taking to night air thick with moths
their powdery wings brushing her hair
Her fingers familiar with each mare’s pull
Her nose their scent, their names a bell
In her head, as if she was born for this
To leap and laugh in the cold dark, alone
for the miles between sunset and morn.

She saw the gods, like night time birds
Flit to the beds of mortal girls and men
Chasing their shadows, lusting for their
Own face in the churning heaven of a lake
She dropped a stone to watch him flounder
and herself ripple then swell to silver



You can find more about Richard and Rebecca and their work here:

Richard Biddle:



Rebecca Audra Smith:




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