‘Spindles and Webs’ Thread 2/4: Transformations Poems (Book 6)

20 Aug


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 6


Kate Garrett and Nell Perry



spider bitten

by Kate Garrett 

(After Ovid’s ‘Arachne’)

yes, weave these tales well:
webs of gods, men, heroics.
misjudge the goddess,
race against her loom. spindly
creature, hanging from a thread.

Revenge Englynion*

by Kate Garrett

(After Ovid’s ‘Tereus, Procne and Philomela’)

Tereus must pay the price
Procne makes her sacrifice
After Bacchanalian rites.

Itys nursed at Procne’s breast,
At her hands his gruesome death –
Buried in his father’s chest.

Sister’s ruin beat mother’s care:
Philomela’s life is spared –
Nightingale upon the air.

*“Englynion” is the plural of “englyn”, or various short, rhyming Welsh verse forms. The form used here is the englyn milwr, or soldier’s englyn: three lines of seven syllables each, with end rhymes. I put three of them together to make one poem, hence “englynion”.

 Leto & Niobe

by Nell Perry


…………. …grief is arrow-shaped,
turning flesh to
something blunt,
in the light’s filmy

reckless language is
formless like foam.
Unfastened words
are violent
nymphs, each
electric with exquisite
chaos. Salt

water can be both
a teardrop or a
mighty sea; what

……………remains is
bereft, a petrified
stump that may once
have been
something motherly…

The Swallow

by Nell Perry


………….…is it with its silence that

the swallow

bothers you, whefting swoop-

threads over

the clouds’ upturned hooks? There is

recognition in the songless


but not peace. And embellishment;



murmurations, as in all

embroidery. A tongue is a fanciful thing, but

without it there is only



on which to tether weightless thoughts

………. …and this the swallow knows

more than most, entwined, as she is


………….with the sky’s slub yarns. In

spite of everything we ingest the ones we

love, unknowingly. Split strands are

interlaced, like those


……. …..blithe

loops whorled across the fabric of the air…




You can find out more about James and Richard here: 



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