‘Greed and Sorrow’ Swipe 2/5: Transformations Poems (Book 11)

16 Jan


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 11


 Kate Garrett and Karin Heyer


This guy, Midas

by Kate Garrett

pays two hundred quid
for each of his haircuts –
regular, often,
I could draw out
a calendar by them –
but the real value lies
in the secrets he wants me
to keep.

He sets up businesses.
For example: one sells football
shirts for handbag-sized dogs,
one offers extendable
squeegees. No one knows
how he does it.
It’s like everything he touches
turns to gold.

But I know all about it, and his little
“problem”. He talks
too much, when he says
he likes the feeling
of my fingers
massaging his scalp,
my smooth palms
brushing his ears,
and relaxes back into a loose tongue.

Maybe I’ve never told
a living soul outright,
but some folks
don’t know I’m a hairdresser.
Some people
only know me from that grimy
hole in the wall, the one
with the dim-lit bar downstairs,
where I sometimes sing Midas’s song,

tell truths disguised as cautionary ballads
about the corruption of men,
my saxophonist blowing
a tune across his reed,
while the slit
in my skirt and the curve
of my lashes
keeps them drinking.


The Love of Gold

by Karin Heyer

The king of Phrygia, Midas,
strolled in his wonderful rose-garden,
just as the flock of stars on high
had faded away.

His thoughts weaving, weaving, weaving

the story of aged Silenus’ return,
their feasting for ten days
and nights on end.

Dionysus, in praise of Midas’ revelry,
did ask what Midas might desire
for a reward…
Without hesitance or reflection
Midas carelessly replied:
‘Grant whatever my person touches
be turned to yellow gold.’
Of all the wishes he could have,
he foolishly chose that! Now,
all manner of things he touched
turned into hard, painful gold!
The water and wine he drank,
the food he ate,
bread and meat,
grew hard as stone!
He learned to fear the stricture of gold
and begged the god for release.
He was told to go down to the river
to heal his soul
and wash away the power of gold,
of gold.
At once he was freed
of the touch of gold,
yet the sands of the river Pactolus
gleam brightly still to this day.


You can find more about Kate here:

Kate Garrett



Karin, as yet, does not have a website, neither is she on Twitter, but you can contact her via @ArtiPeeps or through the contact form on the What’s On page.



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