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:

Wallpaper 7: But Is It ART?

Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.

Andy Warhol.

Well, I did it. I have stuck to second task. This week I have been really getting into wallpaper art. And poetry. I’ve read so many inspirational and awe inspiring examples of the wordsmith art.

But what is Art? In the eye of the beholder? You know what you like? What do the Authorities say?
Wikipedia is a bit prosaic:
Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts, expressing the author’s imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power’.

The Oxford Dictionary covers a few more bases:

I noticed most of you like to have a picture or two alongside your verbal art. Mostly it’s art by other people. I know how inspirational others art can be. One of the first poems I read by Goff James took me down the road to finish an art work I began years ago. Goff is a poet who also makes his own art.

Would you like to make your own art too? Anybody can. My complicated work can take a long time but simple things can be quicker and, frankly, just as visually successful. Let me invite you into the process of making your own digital collage.
As I make today’s image I’ll write a ‘how to make your own art’ post. It may take a few days before you see it. An insight into my creative process may help you make your own images.

How to express a thought through visual art? I start in my head. Think about your subject. If you are an intellectual butterfly like me, then this part is a joy. Just let your brain free-range. Really it’s the same process as stream of consciousness writing, but for image making.

The arts were the turf of the Greek god Apollo. I’ve been revisiting Homer, so he’s been in my head a lot. Perhaps Apollo has guided my hand this week, so I’d like to give him some time out. He’s a hard worker. Seven days a week flying his light giving chariot. Always on the same route. Must get a bit dull. He only gets nights off. After all that daylight and serious responsibility wouldn’t you want to go some place dark, let off some steam? Bet he likes the nightlife, baby. I’ll take him dancing.

First image that pops into my head is a dance style. What kind? Slow dancing, breakdancing, bootscooting. Nope, not glittery enough, not Alpha enough. Apollo, he the MAN, he gotta SHINE. The boy can’t help himself.

I think he’d like to get down and boogie. Find a dance floor. But which one? What else but the perfect pop culture icon dance floor from Saturday Night Fever. I found the very floor here on the Arthur Murray dance studio site. It sold at auction for one point two million dollars.

In these covid times the Arthur Murray sites talks about the benefits of digital dance lessons. Who’d have thought it? Check it out here: I might do some dancing myself later.

Now for the man himself today I’m using an iteration of the Belvedere Apollo. Trim him up, paste him on the dance floor, add some natty shorts. No John Travolta suit for Apollo, dress codes have changed since the seventies. With that bod Apollo is sticking with surf wear.

That’s all there is to it! So go ahead, express yourself. My next post will give you the tools. Before then why no think about the kind of image you’d like to make to pair with your verbal art?

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.

Oscar Wilde.

Wallpaper 5: What was the First Ever Question in Literature?

Day five of my wallpaper challenge pays homage to that ancient storyteller Homer, revered for thousands of years. In the first paragraph of the Iliad he asks the First Literary Question:

So, which one of the gods was it who impelled the two to fight with each other in strife?

Who made them do it? That is the very the first question in the very first recorded piece of literary art in the whole history of us. Totally mind boggling that the same question is still being asked thousands of years later. It’s a variation on ‘the dog ate my homework’ excuse for bad behaviour.

Anger, goddess, sing it, of Achilles, son of Peleus –  disastrous anger that made countless pains for the Achaeans, and many steadfast lives it drove down to Hādēs, heroes’ lives, but their bodies it made prizes for dogs and for all birds, and the Will of Zeus was reaching its fulfillment – sing starting from the point where the two – I now see it – first had a falling out, engaging in strife … So, which one of the gods was it who impelled the two to fight with each other in strife? It was Apollo the son of Leto and of Zeus.

My favourite Apollo is in the centre of The Archibald Memorial Fountain in Sydney, Australia. It was intended as a war memorial to commemorate the association of Australian and French troops in World War One.

Homer has his narrator ask the question of a goddess. A muse, a goddess of infallible memory. It’s a terrific structural device. Homer’s epic poetry has an unbroken line all the way from him, or whatever version of ‘him’ you accept, to us. It was not something lost then re-found. Totally mind boggling that Homer’s Iliad is still being read and discussed thousands of years later.

I first read Homer way back during the Gulf War. Another thrift shop find in the days I thought I should read ‘proper literature’. It hooked me on the first paragraph. I loved it passionately and still do.

Anger, Goddess sing it …

Makes my spine tingle every time.

Harvard’s EdX course The Ancient Greek Hero, known to all as HeroesX has just started its current iteration, number fourteen. It’s a online MOOC. I recommend it. You can participate for free. Although you can pay and get a certificate.
Here’s the blurb:
Discover the literature and heroes of ancient Greece through the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, the tragedies of Sophocles, the dialogues of Plato, and more. Explore what it means to be human today by studying what it meant to be a hero in ancient Greek times.
Link here:

This poem was my reaction to my first exposure to HeroesX.

Voice of The Goddess


Anger – I get angry
Me, one among the multitude
We all get the anger

Goddess – Her swan song.
The time of men is coming
yet still it is She
alone in the cosmos
whose voice holds power

Sing – the hora is upon us
so three makes
Sing, Goddess, sing
Sing to Me.

I’ll be going again this time round. I have some questions about Ulysses. If you have covid time on your hands I can think of no better way to use it.

Tell me, Oh Muse …