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
Rebecca Audra Smith, Sadaf Fatima
and Karin Heyer
‘The king in his guilty passion often took pleasure with the body he had so mutilated.’
by Rebecca Audra Smith
She let fall a string of no’s
so I took her tongue.
What use was it to her, to speak?
She was making too much fuss,
stressing me out. I ran for miles,
going nowhere, treading
old ground. I thought of her,
silence between four walls except
for the noisy mess of her hands
my fists dragged the air.
she shadows my wife’s gilded days,
a limbless knowledge.
I keep them both safe as babes.
I grilled her tongue, decorated with
‘While his limbs were still warm, the two sisters tore them apart’
by Rebecca Audra Smith
The kitchen’s a state.
Every knife used for the job,
each chopping board bears the hacks,
crimson staining their wood
and the floor is wet,
slippery wet, with a smeared
litre or two of blood.
The water in the sink is bubbling pink,
fly’s eggs hatching in the mop,
a cat delicately sidesteps a large puddle
then laps at spilled drops.
The servants don’t know where to start
with the family all eaten or feathered
shrieking in the rafters,
and a crime scene lingering
in the cupboards.
A serving girl scours and watches
herself in the slick, gory
by Sadaf Fatima
Where there’s so much wrong in the world,
Art helps make things all right,
Your pain becomes beauty,
Tears shape into touching words,
Hands knit miracles,
You see the unseen,
Feel the splendour many eyes miss,
And create a world of your own.
You create a world within a world.
When the sorrow rains on you,
And the storms shudder,
You make art your shelter,
And it makes things all right.
Rhetoric: Violence breeds Violence
by Karin Heyer
(Inspired by Pandion, Procne, Philomena, Tereus)
Imagine, the most lovely girl
you have ever seen….
innocent, young, gentle and caring,
daughter of Pandion, aged King of Athens.
For a long five years
her sister Procne had lived far away,
bound by marriage,
To the rich King of Thrace, Tereus.
She had become the loving mother ot Itys,
their only son.
Procne longed to embrace her sister
family bond wanting bonding,
talking about melodies past…
She begged Tereus to sail for Athens,
bring Philomena to their kingdom,
so that she could cradle Itys in her arms
and wile away hours
in happy chatter.
Weaving, weaving a tapestry
of contented family life…
Tereus obeyed her wish,
a fateful wish!
Tereus set eyes on Philomena,
hot fire shot through his veins,
his only thought:
to possess this girl!
He won, he raped, gorged!
He cut out her complaining tongue
-impossible to believe-
he raped, again her speechless body,
hid her in a high-walled steading
where his atrocious crimes were committed,
telling trusted Procne her sister is dead!
She was violated
In utter desolation Philomena
was weaving, weaving a tapestry
of her betrayed, silenced life,
telling her plight,
this tapestry was sent to her loving, mourning sister,
-enraged turned to revenge-
her husband’s foul deed,
this unspeakable crime.
The sisters meet,
transformed by rage
their furious minds turned
to an inhuman plan,
intent to hurt most!
Violence breeds violence
in finest hearts,
it provoked profoundly!
Gentle Philomena, too,
schemes heartless schemes.
The sisters madly murder Itys,
adored son of Tereus.
The father eats his own son’s flesh
at their princely, planned feast,
where once kindly women,
now bend under blinding hate;
where Philomena, crimson with Itys’ blood
throws his severed head towards the gorging father.
Thereupon, unhinged by rage, Tereus,
tomb of his own son,
raised his sword
towards the brain-sick, wild-eyed women;
fleeing, they hovered in sad air,
growing weeping wings of sorrow;
became birds in flight.
One flew off to the woods alone,
the other rested under the eaves of the roof.
Tereus turned into a bird too.
All three hurt beyond repair,
never to love again.
You can find out more about Rebecca, Sadaf and Karin here:
Rebecca Audra Smith
Karin Heyer, as yet, does not have a website