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‘Invocation’ and ‘Forward to the Americas’ by Carol Whittam (FreeSpace #3)

14 Oct

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I hope very much that readers liked my first 2 poetry slots. I have chosen a consistent theme to conclude my showcase: super-human bravery, endeavour in potentially life-threatening conditions, work from May 2014 which was inspired by a modern day ‘Viking’ ie an ex-pupil of mine (Matthew Mason) who, as part of an 8 man team, rowed the Atlantic from West Africa to Barbados. Each shift over 24 hours involved 2 men rowing for 2 hours (for a gruelling 30 days in 40+ heat) They rowed for personal challenge and charitable causes, missing the world record for such a team by a mere 7 hours. Messages and 4 poems were written as encouragement and sent by magic!

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‘Invocation’ was inspired by the name of the boat ‘Titan’ so I imagined how sailors of old would appeal to ancient gods, such as Oceanus, to assist their passage. The second poem: ‘Forward to the Americas!’ is self-explanatory and references ‘as did sailors of old’ hence the link with the Norsemen! 

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Invocation

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“Oceanus!
O son of the sky,
We call to you ….
Oceanus,
Blessed ruler of waters and seas.
With Earth as our mother
We heed you,
We men
Are a different breed.
But accepting our challenge
As Titans,
We set out
On primordial seas.

Oceanus!
Arise with a new dawn,
Re- light the bold fire
In our eyes
And blow with your breath
To inspire us …
And grant us a following wind!”

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Forward To The Americas

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As bare-skinned boys
With a fire in your eyes
You set out
With the heat of Africa
Across your shoulders :
“Forward to the Americas!”
To ‘Ichirouganaim’
(Called by the Ancient Ones)
-Red land with white teeth-
Your ‘Barbados’, tiny bearded gem
Set amongst coral reefs.

Far, far , and fathoms deep
Across an Ocean ridge,
Rowing with the heave
Of your heartbeats.
What do you see and hear
In the Silence?
Earth, Sky, Sea,
Stars, Moon, Sun.
And the sea,
Always, the Atlantic Sea.

You bare-skinned boys,
Armoured now,
With fire in your heads,
Hauling oars,
Against the law & the lure
Of the sea;
Skimming shoals, sharks & turtles,
Time-travelling
Across 200 million years
Of a spreading ocean floor
In the wake of Conquistadores.
Like them, carrying personal faiths
As your talisman.
But your family bonds
Are Your Gold!
As did sea-farers of old ,
You go forward
With navigational magic —
And now satellites — message
Heaven-sent words.

You have marked your place
In this vast Universe.
“Now go on!
Forward, t’ward the Americas!”

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Carol is a retired 3/4 Irish teacher of English, from Accrington, Lancashire, aged 62. Her love of drawing and painting … was overtaken by writing in the hectic course of her career. For 34 years she had the fun filled privilege of creating and selecting pieces to stimulate and facilitate children’s writing. Particularly fond memories remain of collaborative workshops ending in much appreciated performances….so, although she is not actively involved in social media …she was inspired to collaborate off the scene, becoming a ‘pupil’ by responding to the info posted by ArtiPeeps ( last year on Transformations) and for this year’s much bigger extravaganza on the Vikings. She found that following the crescendo of progress by tuning in, tends to promote infectious enthusiasm and the question: What would I make of that? (Who knows …but it is likely that there are others out there who had the same reaction!) In this situation, she says, “I find myself still thinking like a teacher considering a narrative style, offering a way in for the uninitiated by choosing a suitable voice which will address the reader directly whilst paying homage to the factual and emotional aspects of the subject. 

You can find Carol’s previous two FreeSpaces here and here

 

The Nine Realms Poetry Workshop Special

5 Oct

 

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We ran two workshops in The Gallery at Hanse House on the 4th day of The Nine Realms: a Norse-themed poetry workshop in the morning, and an art workshop experimenting with the printing technique of monotypes in the afternoon.  Both workshops were facilitated by creatives involved in The Nine Realms project: poet, Rebecca Audra Smith and artist, Robert Fitzmaurice.

What you’ll find below is the first of 2 specials on the workshops. This week we’re focusing on the poetry, with an overview by Becca of  her  poetry workshop and what was created in it. 

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Poetry Workshop 3

Poetry Workshop 2

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Hello!

On Monday 14th September we ran a poetry workshop as part of The Nine Realms- a 5 day festival of events for the ArtiPeeps  combined arts experience themed on the Icelandic Norse myths.

Many thanks to Elaine, Jan, Karen, Louise, Shelia, Denise, Sandra, Caitlin and Karin for being such great participants!

We started by creating phonetic translations of Old Norse, translating by sound and look of the word rather than meaning!

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Then we free wrote from two lines of the translated Poetic Edda; there were some great pieces flowing out of this. Below are two group poems collected of lines from everyone’s free writing:

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If I journeyed with thee to the giant’s home

But honey and honour I’m expecting to find
Our world is changing before our very eyes:
Beasts and mankind softening and blending together.
I would feel the pressure of the surroundings bury into my soul.
Would our way be smooth as honey or would we find trauma?
I will protect you from the perils ahead.
We moved tip toe terrified testing the tunnel
How will I show thee a single vision?
The stern of the ship turned
The giant’s home where legends are born and honour won.

 

.We pulled suggestions for prompts from people’s Nordic translations, some of these prompt words for the second piece were: eye-opener, single, eight, haven, stern.

 Do you still seek to know? And what?

Like stern Odin who seeks for an eye-opener but with a single eye
Let us drink the mead of poetry
From it’s primeval, battered beginnings new life sparked and bubbled into being
Will our haven be ahead?
Have we left it behind?
A single word can set off a journey into the unknown
I have my eight-pointed scimitar
An eye-opener for you, my friend
Can we find the eighth haven to read the home of the honey seekers?
Stern words will no doubt hiss and spit
From this forked tongue
I was supposed to be there at the crack of dawn.

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We also created our own kennings, match the kenning with the object it describes below:

Kennings

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The last exercise was to respond to a selection of the different realms from the five. First we created our own map of the realms, then we wrote a piece examining the piece of realm we had deciphered. It was a great experience to be facilitating the workshop and I really enjoyed everyone’s amazing words! The space of Hanse House was really beautiful and conducive to writing, the art from the afternoon session also looked amazing. I hope to see some of the free writes again on the blog.

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A map of the realms and some kennings

A map of the realms and some kennings

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Roaming the Realms with Giants and Words

I would taste of honey and mead
only a woman
wearing a cloak can come and
be beloved of the giants
tall and huge and thumb-like

Your hammer is too big to carry
what a honey trap filled with oil
tasting of lizards and smoking of heat
If I journeyed with thee I might end nowhere

Hiding in a single leaf
a haven of the heavenly giants
You’ve produced an eye-opener of a tale
long as the serpent that circles the world

A storm of the end with a single eye- seconds later
I look- you spy- you caught my answer
A fish in the water a river-dancer
Hand me your words we’ve come so far

 

Rebecca Audra Smith

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Extras

In case you ever wondered what a Norse-inspired Poetry workshop sounds like it sounds something like this:

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And here is Becca reading the collaborative poem created at the workshop:

 

As Becca has said, many thanks to all those who participated in the poetry workshop, and to Hanse House for the great gallery space which was the perfect environment for our workshops. Watch out for the art workshop post coming up shortly. 

 

Thank you for your interest.

The Northlands by Carol Whittam (FreeSpace #2)

30 Sep

Vikings

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The Northlands

by Carol Whittam

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Out of the Northlands,
From that – huge before time
Before? When the world was new.
From that – ‘Once upon a time…
A deeply woven mythology grew –
When a man’s world was small.

Norsemen created their cosmos
…. As a world tree ….
Yggdrasil

To try to make sense of it all!

Heavens of stars,
Misty clouds and ice,
Dark chasms and wells below,
Whilst in the primordial centre,
A giant Ash tree started to grow!
Betwixt the Heavens & Hell,
Stretching and branching,
– Evergreen –
From gnarled roots
Deeply growing
Yggdrasil
Nine realms find!
Above, around and beneath
The tree’s gigantic girth,
One home in Midgard
For humankind,
The Viking farmers
Of
Middle Earth.

From thence sailed the brave,
– Leaving warm home fires –
Not knowing where they’d go!
Hauling wooden longships
Away from fire-stone, ice and snow;
Across serpent-ridden seas,
Steel-eyed, warrior minds,
Searching horizons, learning tides,
Battling storms, risking lives!
Crossing Utangard
Never knowing what they’d find!
Not knowing where they were going,
But knowing from whence they came:
Created from giant Ymir
Whom Odin ripped apart!
In sacrifice and renewal
He became their ancient sire.
In homelands formed of volcanic stone
Such folk were born with hearts of fire!
Their land was of his flesh,
Sacrificed to make their home.
Blood of blood and bone of bone.
O how his eyes made the sun glow!
O how his mind made the moon!
Powerful blood became water,
Breath of life the airy wind!
In this elemental world
Such Norsemen were born:
Born to be farming the land,
Born to be tested by waves,
Born with fire in their hearts,
They who were valiant and brave!

And Ymir, the life-bringer,
Sacrificial source of Earth,
The Heavens, the pounding waves of the sea!
And at the World’s centre, Firm and strong,
The mighty Ash: The Yggdrasil tree!
From this elemental world
Of the Northlands
These Vikings came!

 

 

Carol is a retired 3/4 Irish teacher of English, from Accrington, Lancashire, aged 62. Her love of drawing and painting … was overtaken by writing in the hectic course of her career. For 34 years she had the fun filled privilege of creating and selecting pieces to stimulate and facilitate children’s writing. Particularly fond memories remain of collaborative workshops ending in much appreciated performances….so, although she is not actively involved in social media …she was inspired to collaborate off the scene, becoming a ‘pupil’ by responding to the info posted by ArtiPeeps ( last year on Transformations) and for this year’s much bigger extravaganza on the Vikings. She found that following the crescendo of progress by tuning in, tends to promote infectious enthusiasm and the question: What would I make of that? (Who knows …but it is likely that there are others out there who had the same reaction!) In this situation, she says, “I find myself still thinking like a teacher considering a narrative style, offering a way in for the uninitiated by choosing a suitable voice which will address the reader directly whilst paying homage to the factual and emotional aspects of the subject. 

The poem above evolved from taking that approach and looking at some of the lovely Viking imagery and visualisations of the Yggdrassil tree on line. I had fun writing them and offer them retrospectively!

 

Watch out for a third piece from Carol in the near future….

A Mother Sings To Her Fatherless Child by Carol Whittam (FreeSpace #1)

22 Sep

yggdrasil-bronze

 

 

A Mother Sings To Her Fatherless Child

by Carol Whittam

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You came as our human child –
How can I make you understand?
For you are just a boy
Who fights to become a man.

So soon – you are knowing!
Growing, in this harsh North land of ice and fire,
Our earth, this realm of Midgard.

You came from valiant seed
Planted in a warrior’s tryst
Where Dragonboats, moored in rustling reeds,
Set out to sea
In the thawing of the year.

That year no ships returned.
Then sorrow crowned your head
As you were born my fatherless child,
Protected by his homestead fence.

In the glory of the midnight sun
We sensed his strength, now living on –
In you, my special one!

And you received his spirit
When bedded deep
In steaming straw, in warrior halls
Where mead ran sweet on victors’ lips
And the dark walls sang.

Sharpen to ancestral tones,
Tune your ear to heroic tales;
Round Thingstead fires hear wisdom
As your Father’s name sounds loud!
Your time will come!
You too will be a Viking king!

Watch hauled ships
On turning tides
Proud-set for lands anew,
See his face in valiant men,
Understand the things he knew:
Runic stones bring portents good,
Whetted swords raise battle cries,
Ever on, t‘ward lands afar
And the unknown chaos of Utangard!

Gaze South
O’er sunlit waves
On serpent troubled seas,
Dream wild
Strange shores,
You Viking boy –
This future – Yours!
Your time will come.
You will be a Viking King;

Yes – You will hear Valhalla ring!

 

Carol is a retired 3/4 Irish teacher of English, from Accrington, Lancashire, aged 62. Her love of drawing and painting … was overtaken by writing in the hectic course of her career. For 34 years she had the fun filled privilege of creating and selecting pieces to stimulate and facilitate children’s writing. Particularly fond memories remain of collaborative workshops ending in much appreciated performances….so, although she is not actively involved in social media …she was inspired to collaborate off the scene, becoming a ‘pupil’ by responding to the info posted by ArtiPeeps ( last year on Transformations) and for this year’s much bigger extravaganza on the Vikings. She found that following the crescendo of progress by tuning in, tends to promote infectious enthusiasm and the question: What would I make of that? (Who knows …but it is likely that there are others out there who had the same reaction!) In this situation, she says, “I find myself still thinking like a teacher considering a narrative style, offering a way in for the uninitiated by choosing a suitable voice which will address the reader directly whilst paying homage to the factual and emotional aspects of the subject. 

The poem above evolved from taking that approach and looking at some of the lovely Viking imagery and visualisations of the Yggdrassil tree on line. I had fun writing them and offer them retrospectively!

 

A second of Carol’s Norse-themed poems will be posted on Wednesday 30th September. We’re so pleased Carol has found The Nine Realms a springboard for her creativity. 

Alfheim: Movement and Light 4/4 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

24 Jul

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

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Alfheim

(the realm of the Elves)

Featuring:

Karin Heyer and Mina Polen

 

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Hope

by Karin Heyer

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Long ago the same moon and
the same sun lay before us,
just like now and
and the three-strand rainbow bridge
that spanned then
from Asgard to Midgard
was meant for men
to fight and walk across
into a future life!

What life?
A life where the elves of light
should shine over the dark,
where men become real, visible men
with sharp wits and a feeling heart,
responsible for their actions:
accept the cross,
live for love and peace
to all men.

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Shining

by Mina Polen

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Shining
it might be just a dream
a little voice small and fair
a blinding sun inside of you

moving
it might be just a parasite
………………………an idea
a voice that it isn’t there

becoming
something at every step
something that you might deny
something that you might follow

growing
it might be just a cloud
………………………………expanding
something like a blinding mist

shining
it might be just a maggot
a little bit of light ……….moving
something that you might ignore.

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Find out more about Karin and Mina here:

Karin Heyer

Contact ArtiPeeps

Mina Polen

aldebaranylosnarvales.blogspot.com

https://twitter.com/minafiction

 

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As always, thank you for your interest.

 

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Alfheim: Movement and Light 3/4 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

15 Jul

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

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Alfheim

(the realm of the Elves)

Featuring:

Nat Hall, Lenka Monk and Jim C Mackintosh

 

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Guardian Angel from the Ninth Realm

by Nat Hall

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You,
luminous loving being,
so much more than a thousand suns in
darkest corner of my head,
you are sensitive to
my tears,
so far away from fern, foliage,
evergreen feel of
thick forest,
Light Bokeh style –
the untouched side of Freyr’s world…
To
avoid eyes,
hiss and whisper from
haunting mare,
my mantelpiece littered with stones
I once collected from a now
dormant volcano where
hardened rock dances with salt,
leaping fury from young ocean,
I light candles night after night,
chisel your smile out of cold wax, and
seek wisdom out of
a match.
You,
luminous loving being,
you rescued me from the cliff edge.

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And lead me to temptation

by Lenka Monk

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Inspired by story of Freyr and Gerðr

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Through the eyeglass, inner mist
Tempted fate, now I can’t resist
Lips that haunt, curves that taunt
A tortured sigh.

In a drunken fog, endless hunger
Bittersweet taste, spell I’m under
asunder bursting mind, lifetimes find
A Divine comedy.

Wrong feels right, heartbeat elevates
one lustful look, reason obliterates
Resonates with force, no remorse
A string less puppet.

The heart, the insurgent of reason
that beautiful face, led it to treason
seasoned sixth sense, forget consequence
A complete surrender.

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under the heavens dome

by Jim C. Mackintosh

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under the heavens dome
the halls tower in this place
where maddened spirits bind
the claws of ravens haunting
blind trees and bright rooms
enclosing his hypnotic power
unseen to those for whom life past

beneath the high throne of Freyr
circled by meadow throngs
floating on pillows of gold
the words of the wish-giver
in bundles tied with sinews
of outlaws crucified on the way
speared in the crossfire of elf shot

felled in the grapple of light where
dark elves stripped them of belief
a thin path winds through briar rose
where a thousand eyes, black spots
in the gloom sense the fear
dripping from the pilgrims folly
seeking to kiss the feet of Freyr

yet destined to leave empty handed
happy to escape the elven grasp
to answer their quest elsewhere
and rid themselves of this brothel
built in the tangle of angels hair
nourished by the rot of souls
quietly disappeared, lost forever

in remote corners of all realms
where the light elves prey upon
battle weary warriors, robbing them
of their exhausted glory to light
the bloodied moss halls of Alfheim
their fine mesh weave of gold to
line the dark walls of winter nights

under the canopy where Freyr sleeps
and confused sayers fall at his gaze
fighting over the scraps he scatters
in return for the lure of his mystery
/ so why are you still here?
so why do you believe this sermon
will lead you to anything but your betrayal?

through the valleys of temptation
they will swoop down and lift your eyes
to where the single, deadly snake coils
hissing promises of everlasting glory
a ticket to cross the rainbow, only to die
under the wheels of martyrdom
to be denied by your band of brothers

where the Gods assemble to divide
the spoils of your blood and tears
gathered by the scrum of vultures
/ let your death join me
in the salvation of our tomorrows, free
from the shores of false dawns
where your heart will awaken

in sanctuary from blunted threats
where the earth and the sea and
the stone and the roots and the rain
are true and the stag will roar again
and the kiss of blood, the unity
of your ken folk will ease
your righteous birth once more

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Find out more about Nat, Lenka and Jim here:

Nat Hall

https://twitter.com/nordicblackbird

nordicblackbird.weebly.com

Lenka Monk

Contact ArtiPeeps

 

Jim C. Mackintosh

bigbaffy.com

https://twitter.com/JimCMackintosh

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

 

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Alfheim: Movement and Light 2/4 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

10 Jul

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

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Alfheim

(the realm of the Elves)

Featuring:

Tom Murphy and Eleanor Perry

 

Alfheim

by Tom Murphy

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inside the fence
I know you as I walk towards me
seeing everything through your eye
I see it on my face
as you step into the firelight
we smile the same smile
as you look at me
and see the toll you’ve still to pay
you see the sons we will sire
the daughter we lost
the eye you have yet to lose

in my pocket
I have the apple I will offer you
before you offer yourself
the ninth knot

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washrag nouns

by Eleanor Perry

Snipped washrag

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Find out more about Tom and Eleanor here:

Tom Murphy

https://twitter.com/sandcave

 

Eleanor Perry

https://twitter.com/nellperry

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

 

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