‘Strength and Disgrace’ Strike 2/4: Transformations Poems (Book 9)

12 Nov


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 9


James Knight and Rebecca Audra Smith



by James Knight




A voice 


           a red stain.

She doesn't cry.
She washes the sheets
           and does the dishes.


The back door opens
onto a blank night.

     A gull shrieks like Mr Punch.

Her blood is daughter
to the sea.


A parting gift

by Rebecca Audra Smith


Nessus, what a dartboard for love you were;
first it’s sweetness, then it’s poison.
Practical, to use your wounded blood,
turn it to revenge-heavy love token:

Here, Deianira, who sets men’s hearts 
quaking with love, accept my dying gift
of bloodied shirt, it will bring forth
love-rich wishes for the giver of….

What a foolish woman to believe
a blood soaked garment was inducement
to love, or perhaps not so foolish
as in keeping with our days

where love and poison meet and mold
our human bodies to their joint taste. 

Byblis writes a love letter. 

Heart like a deer
You leap and bound away from me
You nibble at the edges of my mind
You timidly stalk my desire.
What a jittery animal you are
to start and flee at love’s knock.

I will tether you to paper
I will offer you a bouquet of words;
such lush, beauteous words,
it is a feast of silver birches
for your deer antlers to scrape,
strip the soft coating of growth 
and emerge, sharp edged, weapons-
I will need every tier for this fight. 

Byblis is rejected

So, I threw myself at his head
Lay naked on his bed waiting his arrival
Surprise! He slammed the door. 

So, my letter wasn’t even properly read
but thrown onto the floor in disgust.
The messenger chose the wrong moment.

So, my name a byword for shame
The girl who fell in love with her twin
What incest? What unnatural? 

So, a woman cannot fight her dreams
Society, laws, taboo, these things 
are not sacred when it comes to love. 

So, I cried myself into a fountain
The nymphs didn’t know that I was crying
over the sweetness of his face, still curving
in the shape of my own. 


You can find more about James and Rebecca here:

James Knight




Rebecca Audra Smith


One Response to “‘Strength and Disgrace’ Strike 2/4: Transformations Poems (Book 9)”

  1. beccaaudra November 13, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Reblogged this on beccaaudra.

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