I brought in a small cycle of sonnets and quatorzains for the group to read called Picasso’s Mirror. These poems explores the old cliche that art mimics real life. The narrator compares some of Picasso’s paintings from his blue period with an abortion attempt made by his grandmother to destroy the fetus of his own father. In this set of poems, particular emphasis is placed on Picasso’s The Blue Room and his other famous painting, The Two Sisters. Both works were painted in the first couple of years of the twentieth century. The second painting however, encodes blasphemous connotations into its powerful image. These heretical ideas I feel made the picture feel more spiritual to me. It’s a wonderful social comment on socio-ethical responsibility and religious sensibility. In the third poem, I write:
Pablo’s Two Sister’s is a masterpiece
Of subtlety and beauty. Such tones
Catch the deep flowing colour, the sluice
Of blue of each dress in which bones
Seem to float: mantles of satin hiding
Son’s of God under watery shrouds
Thus begins the first two tercets of my sonnet: The Whore of Sainte-Lazare. It’s a strange poem, which has been re-worked and refined since its earliest inception at the Distillery. The twisted narrative makes connections with synchronicity, examining modern notions of messianic figures and modern art. Also in this work, I explore the disturbing phenomena known as the ‘Butterfly Effect.’ In writing the cycle, I wanted to examine such ideas and place them into an
unfamiliar setting - whereby the webs of destiny touch even the most unrelated occurrences in life...
Mysterious narrative threads interconnect from both pictorial and symbolic registers, touching even the most bizarre of unconnected events and setting off a strange butterfly effect in the mind of the narrator. It’s as though these seemingly isolated events were recharged by a profound poignancy, governed by a strange and delicate power.
Hillaire in her poem, went in search for the mythological Birds of Rhiannon. In her investigation, she trod ‘the path to disappointment’ that lead to a ‘compost heap’ - under ‘a copse of winter sycamore…' The writer of this charming poem, reminds us that 'the compost heap nurtures the first springtime flowers.' In this magical setting – supernatural song can "wake the dead and lull the living to sleep" enchanting the bardic mind with its beautiful harmonies:
But in the tree tops three birds stand,
one weaving its constant chirp
through the others’ melody –
and all the air above the trees
was silvered with their song.
As usual Hillaire employs sensual language and arresting imagery to get her point across. Her final line is particularly beautiful and worked well in keeping faithful to the original Welsh legend.
Tina wrote a witty poem about an event which took place many years ago. The story involved her mother many years ago when she was a little girl and what Tina called a Five Legged Horse. Unfortunately, her naive mother had never seen anything like a stallion on heat. Innocently, she assumed that the fifth member was another leg rather than its penis. Tina mentioned that her mother had ‘so may questions’ that she felt the need to ‘investigate for herself'. This is a decision she came to regret. Tongue in cheek the narrator comments:
Eighty years on
she is till scarred.
The story, Tina assures us is true!
Eluned wrote a brief poem with shortened lines consisting of between 1 and 3 words. As always, she runs a tight ship when it comes to the economy of her line and meter. The poem is about the herring Gull, which is believe it or not now an endangered species. Eluned made good use of this information in her title: Endangered. The narrator keeps a sharp focus on her materials and looks into unusual little details. As always the voice is unique and literary.
…clapping her thighs
on her way to coax
a snake from the
tumble down grass:
Arguments about ‘windfalls’ alienate the protagonist against the antihero – Odysseus Morgan – a thinly veiled disguise for Satan himself! In this complex plot, the reader is left to decipher these ancient myths and to reread them through new eyes, gaining fresh insights from the playful antics of its author.
to track down murder suspects. Tensions between two sectarian clans are rising – ‘the revenge attack inevitable.’ In this setting, the ‘dream for revolution’ is fast fading. Dissension and ‘open criticism’ are not tolerated – the ‘invisible’ cracks are spreading. She says: ‘summer's black Sunday scarred everyone’s mind.’
The speaker’s youth and dream disappeared overnight, making her feel old and cynical. This wound was left to fester: ‘unhealed’ it ‘swelled year by year,’ making the young revolutionaries feel ‘misfits’ in their own country – their voicelessness – a fatal disease ‘eating up’ the body politick.
Hillaire’s poem, The Cup had strong mystical overtones:
I live to be filled, to be held –
see how my handle reaches out to you;
I’m not a bowl to be kept at arms length
Needing a mediator to nourish and sustain you…
… Drink deeply of me – you
Who also are a cup.