Tag Archives: Perseus

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

12 Sep


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


Rebecca Audra Smith, Sadaf Fatima

and Karin Heyer



Act 1

‘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

-now untied-

my fists dragged the air.


 A man looks good with a sister each side,

  she shadows my wife’s gilded days,

a limbless knowledge.

I keep them both safe as babes.


I grilled her tongue, decorated with

 a molar or two, and tenderly

 consumed with an asparagus side;

 butter and blood.

Act 2

‘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

bronze of a pot.



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,

who understood



-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



Sadaf Fatima



Karin Heyer, as yet, does not have a website





‘Spindles and Webs’ Thread 3/4: Transformations Poems (Book 6)

3 Sep


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


Carol Robson and Nat Hall



Silky Weaver

(Arachne and Minvera)

by Carol Robson


Weaver of tales
resplendently regaled
from humbleness,
interlacing her stories,
gathering her fame
in silkiness
of living threads.

Disguised challenge
old woman confronts
respect the goddess,
silky weaver
in defiance
that her substance
of threads
of weaves
are the finest
to behold.

Battles of weavers
spinning their tales,
tapestries in arrogance
silky weaver
the Gods
in weaves
of their

In ire
silky weaver
wrathful goddess,
striking silky weaver
in anger.

head hanging shame
by the weaved noose,
then in pity
of silky weaver
to poisonous
silky spinning

©Carol Robson 2013


Spinning Spirits

by Nat Hall


Inside her web of dreams,
she feels world souls
pass through

thinnest of yarn,
white filaments caress fingers
as she sits tight behind
her wheel.

She knows
the beauty of
each thread, rhythm of
her foot on treadle, the joy with which hooked flyer spins
in a rengaine…

Apparatus built for a song.

Her eyes,
drawn inside
every ounce of wool
she washed & brushed with
so much care
now looks
fine silk;

she does not
listen to
wind that
filters through
the wooden frame of
her own gift…

For days on end,
she simply stops to
watch the clock,
as spinning

She does not know,
she will be punished for
her deed, as jealous
hands are told to
turn her
her abdomen
became her wheel.

© Nat Hall 2013

Inspired from the tale of Arachne & Minerva



You can find out more about Carol and Nat here: 




‘Heralding Battle and Blood’ Slash 3/4: Transformations Poems (Book 5)

31 Jul


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 5



Nat Hall and James Knight


The Plough

by Nat Hall


Follow furrows.


In the lush land slashed by the plough of those who sow pardon’s poppies

instead of pale forget-me-not,

I jeer

and hiss at

Minerva & beg to drink

at the fountain;


in the great land slashed by the plough of those who glean ripe seeds

of love instead of harm,

I say


of nine magpies;


in the dark land slashed by the plough of those who seek the reaper’s

hand instead of rags,

I crouch and

curse at

Medusa, bow to

the god of the river and find

my way with Pegasus.

In the proud land slashed by the plough of those who unleash dogs

of war, I raise my pavilion of grace,

woven through air as a




myself with fire,

as life throws her cargo of death –


in between blades & nine magpies,

there is a hill where wild orchids flourish in peace,

where love & hate flower as flax,

from which farmers

turn to linen.


Is there a womb where the living calls to the dead?


I am walking in its furrow.

© Nat Hall 2013


The guilty statue

by James Knight


stories lodged in minds like splinters stories dreamt imagined inferred told retold their loose machinery humming in the night of a thousand insomnias stories growing bacterial on petri dish pages blooming in blue green patina of myth stories whispering to us under the lid of day from the edges of vision and reason while we iron trousers and go deaf with talking and buy into bankrupt ideas stories incessant unrelenting a heartbeat a breathing low inaudible easily ignored most of the time

until they burst



victorious with his prize


What, won’t you come out,


and have a good dinner for nothing?


Much obliged, Mr. Ketch,

(the Tyburn Gardener represents the throne, for the

purposes of this allegory)

but I have had my dinner

for nothing already.


But you must come out;

the haughty tyrant speaks –

come out and be hanged.


sometimes a story is Medusa

lifted high,

a head

on the spike of an arm




yes, the story

the story itself,

its telling


Gorgon’s head appears


Why were you so cruel

as to commit so many



the monster held

And you’ve got one bone

in your neck,

but that shall be soon



It is very easy:

only put your head

through here.


Insert here your own list of historical events which you would classify as atrocities, events that turned viewers to stone


What, so?

Not so, you fool.


Mind who you call fool:

try if you can do it yourself.

Only show me how,

and I do it directly.


soon were statues


to Seriphus with the head he sails

Lord of a little isle


the telling defines us

so we have to be very careful


Very well; I will.

There, you see

my head,

and you see

this loop:

put it in,



shut your eyes,

he cries


And pull it tight, so!


I’ve done the trick!

Jack Ketch is dead –

I’m free!


Discuss the view that discourse diminishes reality.


That’s not what I said, you fucking idiot!


A severed head might represent a multitude of things, for example anarchy (removal of the head of state), madness (loss of reason), castration anxiety


Medusa’s snakes


let the story hiss you, kiss you, atishoo!

we all fall down

folly in the stone.



You can find out more about Nat and James and their work here:


Nat Hall




James Knight





‘Heralding Battle and Blood’ Slash 2/4: Transformations Poems (Book 5)

23 Jul


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 5



Carol Robson and Rebecca Audra Smith




by Carol Robson


Dry unfertile lands
no sustenance to thine
visions of human kind
forlorn in barren fertility
that both should show
the fruits of natural fertility.

Both should be nourished
for land and womb
to bear the labours of love
cultivation of the seed
for sustenance
for life and spirit.

Grains of fertility
grains to multiply
to fructify
the earth
the womb
for the renewal
of life and soul
with nourishment
for Mother Earth
for animal
and human kind.

©Carol Robson 2013



(Perseus, Andromeda and Phineas)

by Carol Robson

The wedding banquet follows
anticipation of a glorious feast
celebration of a new union
not always a concordancy
families in disorder
jealousy and rage
broken promises
bride promised to another.

The promised man
wronged in anger
challenging the new groom
with a force of men
to right the wrong
done unto him.
He transforms the festivities
all hell ensues
as the promised man
endeavours to take
his promised bride
only to be rocked
by the sudden appearance
of the cold stare
that leaves him

©Carol Robson 2013



by Rebecca Audra Smith

The owl flew to the girl
pecked her apart till only her face was left.
It took her tongue as the choicest morsel.

Magpie, do you think you can sing?
Lost in the chattering notes of your song
there is some sweetness.

Sorrow comes to us on a humid breeze,
it screeches and hoots its tales,
the chase and catch of mice and rat.



by Rebecca Audra Smith

The stone army stays.
The pure marble of a man frozen
in the act of hurling a spear.

Violence made safe, she wove
garlands around their cold shoulders,
planted pansies at their feet.

One, his face screwed into pain,
she loved and learnt his stance,
in her sleep she was granite,
pebbles, the stone of a dock. 


You can find out more about Carol and Rebecca and their work here:


Carol Robson




Rebecca Audra Smith






‘Heralding Battle and Blood’ Slash 1/4: Transformations Poems (Book 5)

16 Jul


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 5



Kate Garrett and Richard Biddle 


All in Her Name

by Kate Garrett

(After Ovid’s ‘Perseus (Part Two)’)


Warm corpses leak blood

 onto stone floors, piled high

 like fleshy tinder, reaching

 the ceiling. This spectacle

 cordoned off by a tribe of marble

 men whose final mortal view

 was a fleeting introduction

 to the Gorgon’s severed head.


 Perseus stands proud. What

 a victory! Gather up your bride,

 son, she’s your prize, for saving

 her, and ending these men’s lives.



 Did anyone ask Andromeda

 what she wanted?


 Oh. Well.

 Nevermind …


Body of Water

by Richard Biddle


suddenly, you are in the shallows, breathing
in and out of your own depth
liquifying, unplugged, swallowed

but there’s a music to this maelstrom
a drip-fed beat
like a cascade
plummeting in perpetuity
plunging over and over an edge, the edge

stop a while inside this waterfall
drink it in, forget

then remember, you’re not the mermaid or the sailor
you’re bathing in the fathoms of your own

keep the taps running but
don’t force it

and drink and drink and drink
until you are brimful

of course, off course, there is always the juice of sex
to distract you
in fact, you think of this tract as foreplay
and let your tongue loop itself around its moist pinkness

tip your ecstatic face to the sky
become vapourific

aitch two oh em gee whiz
hydrate hydrate hydrate

be stream, be river, be oceanic puddles

then piss your non-existent self down the drain

be the flow beyond orgasm
become steam, evaporate


after all,
this is what will happen



You can find out more about Kate and Richard and their work here:

Kate Garrett




Richard Biddle




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