Tell me, Oh Muse,

So begins our first poem.


Very first words
from our very first Muse
so very long ago.

No sweet pretty girl
chiffon floating gently
that first muse of Homer’s.
Harpy Goddess hell-dark
spewing blood and death.

Suffer you all together, Acheans.

To begin the New Year at dVerse De Jackson aka WhimsyGizmo calls for a rousing of the muse. The Whimsy One asks for a Quadrille. I quote: ‘The Quadrille is that pithy little poem of our own creation here at dVerse, in which we write poems of exactly 44 words (not including the title), and wedge in a word of our choosing.’
As always, I’m in awe of the creative responses by the stellar bodies of the dVerse universe. Read them here:

dVerse: Lillian and Catrin’s Ekphrastic Challenge

Demeter Dreaming

So cold in the ground.
She never feels it though.
Bright sky dreams
to pass the long eternity
under the earth.
Conjured worlds
turn their seasons round
and back again
to bloom and die
in their natural order.
Deep time flows relentless.
A billion starry wheels
blaze luminous then fade.
The Goddess
in her radiant perfection
dreams on.

Lillian is behind the bar at the dVerse pub Lillian has a knack for choosing inspirational poetic prompts. Today she has teamed up with artist Catrin Welz-Stein. Catrin has selected four of her works as visual inspiration. The work I chose to collaborate with had for me an ethereal earthyness along with an eternal quality. It was a pleasure to write to her lovely work. You can see more of Catrin’s work here.

I am always in awe of what others can do. Check them out here:

Giff challenge: Bored on a Blue Day

Bored on a blue day
tail flicker
that fly won’t live much longer.

This week I am still learning how to make giffs. My challenge is to:
* make each giff an integral part of a very short story.
* each story has a one hour time limit for both picture and words
* create a different feel for each story.
* keep them to twenty frames or less.

Watch for the blink! I think it’s my favourite bit of this giff. Maybe double the number of frames would give the fly a more natural movement. I may try a series of more completed giffs in the future.

Let me know what you think.

Wallpaper 1: A Caterpillar asks a Big Question.

This week I am focusing on collage. My self-set task is one collage a day that you can use as wallpaper. I’ve decided my theme will be the Big Questions. I’ll try and stick with my favourite literature. Today is Lewis Carroll’s inimitable Alice.

I like fonts and collect interesting ones. I wonder if it will improve my writing to use Lewis Carroll’s handwriting? Try it out for yourself. Here are two fonts. The first is his handwriting. The second is some natty wing dings based on Carrolls doodles and sketches.

Antarctica: Not Everyone Likes Penguins.

This short collage film is dedicated to Herbert Ponting, Antarctic story teller par excellence.

Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.

Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns:
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.

I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech;
That moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.[i]

Antarctica, the Great White South, seems to have inspired more words than it has snowflakes. Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who went there with the famous explorer Scott of the Antarctic, said:

When I went South I never meant to write a book: I rather despised those who did so as being of an inferior brand to those who did things and said nothing about them. . . . I discovered that, without knowing it, I had intended to write one ever since I had realized my own experiences.’[ii]

Herbert Ponting wrote, took photographs and made film. Often he used his images to make multi-layered collages. Some contemporaries criticised his collages for ‘lying’ about the truth. Others, such as Scott, viewed his work as art pieces. Scott called Ponting a ‘camera artist’.

Before he left for Antarctica Ponting was already famous for his travelogues illustrated with his own beautiful photographs.

In 1910 Ponting sailed to Antarctica on the Terra Nova with Scott.

The men heading south with Scott certainly knew Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s seminal English Romantic poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. Coleridge could have been writing about the Terra Nova’s trip south:

And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o’ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.

This advertising card is derived from one of Ponting’s photographs. [iii]

I particularly enjoy Coleridge rhyming ‘cold’ and ‘emerald’. The Ancient Mariner’s dialect accent is so clearly heard in that rhyme.

Scott never left Antarctica, but Ponting did. In his posthumously published diaries Scott told his own story. Since 1913 they’ve never been out of print. Ponting told his version of the story in ‘The Great White South‘.

Then, like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, Herbert Ponting felt compelled to spend the rest of his life retelling the story of the expedition.


[ii] Apsley Cherry-Garrard. The Worst Journey in the World. New York: George H Doran Co. London: Constable & Co Ltd. 1922. P. ix-x.


The music in the film is described as the definitive version of the Peter Gunn theme. I’ve no idea where it came from. If I can track it down I’ll update this.

Collage: Exploring Meaning

So Many Stories

MEROOGAL: This collage is a variation on my Meroogal short story #21. It is part of my response to the 2020 call for entries in the Meroogal Women’s Art Prize. Use this link to find out about the competition.

Stories are infinite in their variety. We want to participate in them.

Artists have long understood the power of collage as a tool for manipulating the singular narratives that so often exclude them.’[i]

We now live in a time of formalised isolation. But so many lives have been lived in imposed isolation. Historically many women were isolated and excluded by class and behavioural expectation.

Such women wrote diaries, took photographs, used scissors, paper and glue to collect scraps, photographs and cuttings into scrapbooks and collages. This work was rarely viewed by its creator or her contemporaries as an art piece. They were just women occupying themselves in artistic pastimes. But in doing so they used their creativity to review and comment on the world around them. I’d call that art.

She lived a good deal by herself, to herself, working, passing on from day to day, and always thinking, trying to lay hold on life, to grasp it in her own understanding. Her active living was suspended, but underneath, in the darkness, something was coming to pass. If only she could break through the last integuments!’[ii]

In my isolation I use the technological equivalent of scissors, paper and glue to make my collages and scrapbooks. Historically women didn’t ask for permission to keep their scraps, they didn’t claim ownership of the original images, or sell their scrapbooks. Nor do I. Did they see scrapbooks as art? Maybe not, but mine are art to me.


[ii] Lawrence, D. H. Women in love 1923. New York. Thomas Seltzer. P. 10.