‘Heralding Battle and Blood’ Slash 3/4: Transformations Poems (Book 5)

31 Jul


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 5



Nat Hall and James Knight


The Plough

by Nat Hall


Follow furrows.


In the lush land slashed by the plough of those who sow pardon’s poppies

instead of pale forget-me-not,

I jeer

and hiss at

Minerva & beg to drink

at the fountain;


in the great land slashed by the plough of those who glean ripe seeds

of love instead of harm,

I say


of nine magpies;


in the dark land slashed by the plough of those who seek the reaper’s

hand instead of rags,

I crouch and

curse at

Medusa, bow to

the god of the river and find

my way with Pegasus.

In the proud land slashed by the plough of those who unleash dogs

of war, I raise my pavilion of grace,

woven through air as a




myself with fire,

as life throws her cargo of death –


in between blades & nine magpies,

there is a hill where wild orchids flourish in peace,

where love & hate flower as flax,

from which farmers

turn to linen.


Is there a womb where the living calls to the dead?


I am walking in its furrow.

© Nat Hall 2013


The guilty statue

by James Knight


stories lodged in minds like splinters stories dreamt imagined inferred told retold their loose machinery humming in the night of a thousand insomnias stories growing bacterial on petri dish pages blooming in blue green patina of myth stories whispering to us under the lid of day from the edges of vision and reason while we iron trousers and go deaf with talking and buy into bankrupt ideas stories incessant unrelenting a heartbeat a breathing low inaudible easily ignored most of the time

until they burst



victorious with his prize


What, won’t you come out,


and have a good dinner for nothing?


Much obliged, Mr. Ketch,

(the Tyburn Gardener represents the throne, for the

purposes of this allegory)

but I have had my dinner

for nothing already.


But you must come out;

the haughty tyrant speaks –

come out and be hanged.


sometimes a story is Medusa

lifted high,

a head

on the spike of an arm




yes, the story

the story itself,

its telling


Gorgon’s head appears


Why were you so cruel

as to commit so many



the monster held

And you’ve got one bone

in your neck,

but that shall be soon



It is very easy:

only put your head

through here.


Insert here your own list of historical events which you would classify as atrocities, events that turned viewers to stone


What, so?

Not so, you fool.


Mind who you call fool:

try if you can do it yourself.

Only show me how,

and I do it directly.


soon were statues


to Seriphus with the head he sails

Lord of a little isle


the telling defines us

so we have to be very careful


Very well; I will.

There, you see

my head,

and you see

this loop:

put it in,



shut your eyes,

he cries


And pull it tight, so!


I’ve done the trick!

Jack Ketch is dead –

I’m free!


Discuss the view that discourse diminishes reality.


That’s not what I said, you fucking idiot!


A severed head might represent a multitude of things, for example anarchy (removal of the head of state), madness (loss of reason), castration anxiety


Medusa’s snakes


let the story hiss you, kiss you, atishoo!

we all fall down

folly in the stone.



You can find out more about Nat and James and their work here:


Nat Hall




James Knight





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