"The Art of Poetry" 2015

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Obsidian Art “The Art of Poetry”

Fran Bugg

Poem ‘Signature of Water’ by Phil Barrett (2014)

01296 612150 info@obsidianart.co.uk

Thursday 23 April – Sunday 31 May 2015

Obsidian Art, Old Risborough Road, Stoke Mandeville, Bucks, HP22 5XJ

“The Art of Poetry”

“The Art of Poetry” Thursday 23 April – Sunday 31 May 2015

With heartfelt thanks to all the contributing artists and makers, and to the poets whose words inspired them.

Obsidian Art www.obsidianart.co.uk

Adrian Hobbs

Break, Break, Break

Break, Break, Break Break, break, break, On thy cold gray stones, O Sea! And I would that my tongue could utter The thoughts that arise in me. O, well for the fisherman’s boy, That he shouts with his sister at play! O, well for the sailor lad, That he sings in his boat on the bay! And the stately ships go on To their haven under the hill; But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand, And the sound of a voice that is still! Break, break, break At the foot of thy crags, O Sea! But the tender grace of a day that is dead Will never come back to me. Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892)

Amanda Curbishley

Where the Sand as Silver Shines

“The Secret of the Sea” from “The Seaside and the Fireside” Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me As I gaze upon the sea! All the old romantic legends, All my dreams, come back to me. Sails of silk and ropes of sandal, Such as gleam in ancient lore; And the singing of the sailors, And the answer from the shore! Most of all, the Spanish ballad Haunts me oft, and tarries long, Of the noble Count Arnaldos And the sailor’s mystic song. Like the long waves on a sea-beach, Where the sand as silver shines, With a soft, monotonous cadence, Flow its unrhymed lyric lines:-Telling how the Count Arnaldos, With his hawk upon his hand, Saw a fair and stately galley, Steering onward to the land;--

How he heard the ancient helmsman Chant a song so wild and clear, That the sailing sea-bird slowly Poised upon the mast to hear, Till his soul was full of longing, And he cried, with impulse strong,-“Helmsman! for the love of heaven, Teach me, too, that wondrous song!” “Wouldst thou,”--so the helmsman answered, “Learn the secret of the sea? Only those who brave its dangers Comprehend its mystery!” In each sail that skims the horizon, In each landward-blowing breeze, I behold that stately galley, Hear those mournful melodies; Till my soul is full of longing For the secret of the sea, And the heart of the great ocean Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Brenda Hurley

Apricot Light

Apricot Light Soft Apricot and golden light Fill the heaven on high, The sun creeps up with rays so bright Warming the land and filling the sky. The blooms that come from seeds so small The birth that emerges from the earth, Plants large and small and fragrant still Bells, daisies, orchids and daffodil. Golden light and Apricot rays Spread over the lands so green Flowers opening up to the light Colours beautiful and bright. Sunflowers raise their heavy heads moving them through time and space, To follow the travelling disk of light As the sun chases away the night. Brenda Hurley

Barry Holt

Fall, Leaves, Fall

Fall, Leaves, Fall Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away; Lengthen night and shorten day; Every leaf speaks bliss to me Fluttering from the autumn tree. I shall smile when wreaths of snow Blossom where the rose should grow, I shall sing when night’s decay Ushers in a drearier day.  Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

Brigid Marlin

Nymph & Shepherd

Nymphs and Shepherds Nymphs and shepherds, come away, In this grove let’s sport and play; For this is Flora’s holiday, Sacred to ease and happy love, To music, to dancing and to poetry. Your flocks may now securely rest While you express your jollity! Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695)

Deep Cutting (1814 – 1826) and the hill said the slab stones said you made a hole in me pickaxe navvy men dynamite blast men rumble crack pause then all fall down again… …you made a hole in me (1930 -1960) and the town said the terraced town said you made a hole in me shut down cotton mills shuttle stop loom stills dole queue red bills jam bread belly fills… …you made a hole in me (1950 -) and I said from the edge I said you made a hole in me she falls and he goes shipped off before it shows knits bootees with pink bows can’t keep it heaven knows hands her over doors close but see, see… …you made a hole in me. Jan Dean (From Sculpted NWPoets 2013)

Caroline Lea

‘You made a hole in me’

Carys Davies

The Hounds Of Spring

‘The Hounds Of Spring’ When the hounds of spring are on winter’s traces, The mother of months in meadow or plain Fills the shadows and windy places With lisp of leaves and ripple of rain; And the brown bright nightingale amorous Is half assuaged for Itylus, For the Thracian ships and the foreign faces, The tongueless vigil, and all the pain.

The ivy falls with the Bacchanal’s hair Over her eyebrows hiding her eyes; The wild vine slipping down leaves bare Her bright breast shortening into sighs; The wild vine slips with the weight of its leaves, But the berried ivy catches and cleaves To the limbs that glitter, the feet that scare The wolf that follows, the fawn that flies.

AC Swinburne (1837-1909) (extract from longer poem - Chorus From Atalanta In Calydon)

Diana McKinnon

Clouds of Daffodils

Clouds of Daffodils I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high oer vales & hills When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering & dancing in the breeze. Daffodils by William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)

Extract from “The Raven” Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. “’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.” ……. And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door— Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;— This it is and nothing more.” Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, “Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;— Darkness there and nothing more. ……. Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore— Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;— ’Tis the wind and nothing more!” Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door— Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door— Perched, and sat, and nothing more. Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, “Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore— Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” Edgar Allen Poe

Catherine Smith


Elizabeth Forrest

The Days of Wine and Roses

They Are Not Long They are not long, the weeping and the laughter, Love and desire and hate: I think they have no portion in us after We pass the gate. They are not long, the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream Our path emerges for a while, then closes Within a dream. Ernest Dowson (1867 – 1900)

Jenny Watts

Trees in the Moonlight

The Tree Oh to be free of myself, 
 With nothing left to remember, To have my heart as bare 
 As a tree in December; 

 Resting, as a tree rests 
 After its leaves are gone, 
 Waiting no more for a rain at night 
 Nor for the red at dawn; 

 But still, oh so still 
 While the winds come and go, 
 With no more fear of the hard frost 
 Or the bright burden of snow; 

 And heedless, heedless 
 If anyone pass and see 
 On the white page of the sky 
 Its thin black tracery. Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

Heather Hunter

Night Garden – Artist’s Book

Jeremy White

Kubla Khan

Kubla Khan Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea. So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round; And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. An extract from ‘Kubla Khan’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)

Joe Stockton


Furrows The tractor has left its calling card. Its tracks, bold bullion bars, straddle the field; Its imprint a paradiddle of train lines Etched in the slop and slither of mud. If so minded, before the ruts decay, I can mark the depth of tread, Width of track – perhaps any other features – To identify what type of tractor it was: Engine size, year of manufacture, Its capabilities and shortcomings. And what of our own imprints: Litanies of capabilities squandered, Shortcomings ignored? What was the depth of our love. The width of our compassion – And perhaps many other features? Joe Stockton

Louisa Stobbs

Post War Leave

John Stobbs

Kim Major-George

Golden Glimpses

Golden Glimpses That perfect belt of gold, blue and grey could not be there by chance. Surely there must be some craft and intention in this elegant band, embedded deep in strata of coal and fate?

I will put the belt around my waist; hang skulls, knives and tools upon in; use it to squeeze life out and hold life in. I will look up to the stars and follow deep tunnels down - down through the layers.

Yet, wonder exists and plunder exists, and one is nature’s emergence and the other is our human curse. No-one intended this juxtaposition of love and fate, cold death and bejewelled beauty.

Then, one day there will be a reconciliation Between nature and human imagination. I will glimpse the soul and keep it real. I will toss the belt into the sky; the flakes of gold will scatter there like fire and stardust.

Steve Thorp

Mia Sarosi

Porcelain Platter

On a beautiful landscape Beautiful landscape! I could look on thee For hours,--unmindful of the storm and strife, And mingled murmurs of tumultuous life. Here, all is still as fair--the stream, the tree, The wood, the sunshine on the bank: no tear No thought of time’s swift wing, or closing night Which comes to steal away the long sweet light, No sighs of sad humanity are here. Here is no tint of mortal change--the day Beneath whose light the dog and peasant-boy Gambol with look, and almost bark, of joy-Still seems, though centuries have passed, to stay. Then gaze again, that shadowed scenes may teach Lessons of peace and love, beyond all speech. William Lisle Bowles (1762 – 1850)

Naomi Brangwyn

Good Night

Good Night Good-night? ah! no; the hour is ill Which severs those it should unite; Let us remain together still, Then it will be good night. How can I call the lone night good, Though thy sweet wishes wing its flight? Be it not said, thought, understood -Then it will be -- good night. To hearts which near each other move From evening close to morning light, The night is good; because, my love, They never say good-night. Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822)

Nicola Taylor

Like Ghosts From an Enchanter

Ode to the West Wind O Wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, Pestilence-stricken multitudes! O thou Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce, My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one! Drive my dead thoughts over the universe, Like wither’d leaves, to quicken a new birth; And, by the incantation of this verse, Scatter, as from an unextinguish’d hearth Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind! Be through my lips to unawaken’d earth The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? Percy Bysshe Shelley (Extract)

Osvalda Warner

Always a Rose

Sonnet 15 When I consider every thing that grows Holds in perfection but a little moment, That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows Whereon the stars in secret influence comment; When I perceive that men as plants increase, Cheered and cheque’d even by the self-same sky, Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease, And wear their brave state out of memory; Then the conceit of this inconstant stay Sets you most rich in youth before my sight, Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay, To change your day of youth to sullied night; And all in war with Time for love of you, As he takes from you, I engraft you new. William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Patricia Rozental

How doth the little busy bee

How Doth the Little Busy Bee How doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day From every opening flower! How skilfully she builds her cell! How neat she spreads the wax! And labours hard to store it well With the sweet food she makes. In works of labour or of skill, I would be busy too; For Satan finds some mischief still For idle hands to do. In books, or work, or healthful play, Let my first years be passed, That I may give for every day Some good account at last. Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Sue Wookey

The Apple’s Heart

The Apple’s Heart The wassail fades from Wisdom’s field, yet full I grow and branches part for Avalon and Gawain’s shield, and you who know my secret heart. Sue Wookey


Tlws Johnson

Trees I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in summer wear A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree. Joyce Kilmer (1886 - 1918)

Outside the Palace

Tracey Mason

‘Florentine Sonnets’ Through these old streets I wander dreamily; Around me Florence sweeps her busy tide Of life; quaint palaces on every side. Here, where I pass, perchance in former day Petrarch hath walked, composing poetry To oft-sung charms of Laura. Here hath hied Dante, of Florence now the greatest pride, But whom, in life, she fiercely drove away, To write in gloom his epic. Here, beneath This loggia, Boccaccio hath told His laughing tales, to comrades, merrily What wondrous memories these scenes bequeath What artists, sculptors, painters, here of old Fashioned this lovely gem of Italy! Written in 1906 by William Leighton (1833-1911), describing a simple yet wonderous walk along the cobbled streets of Florence. Leighton was, as we are still to this day, touched by the history, of clicking his heels along the same worn cobblestones as the poets and artists that stepped before him.

Jazmin Velasco


Barry Holt

Field Path

Field Path The beans in blossom with their spots of jet Smelt sweet as gardens wheresoever met; The level meadow grass was in the swath; The hedge briar rose hung right across the path, White over with it’s flowers – the grass that lay Bleaching beneath the twittering heat to hay Smelt so deliciously, the puzzled bee Went wondering where the honeyed sweets could be; And passer-by along the level rows Stooped down and whipt a bit beneath his nose. John Clare (1793-1864)

“Alone on a Hill” and so she sits alone on a hill far above the town, in the vales below a magpie calls, a cry, carried away on a wish and still she sits alone far above, the sound of the engine carried away on a zephyr, ensnared on the ground, her wings are broken, so far, from her realm, so high tethered down like a wintery owl, her fingers caress the meadow, the withered leaves, rattle away, stirred by the cool autumn breeze and turquoise eggs, tumble, to the ground and so she sits alone on a hill the girl with the magical stare she whispers a song, lost, long ago to the ether’s dream And still she sits alone the words are lost, like a sigh, in the wind and the stars come out, to gaze, at the girl with the wistful air copper tendrils embrace and hold her softly To say, “Do not leave us yet” “your love is kind and your words sublime the girl who watches the skies, who do you wait for? the whispers are lost in the air and where will you go? The girl who touches the quiet wind” and so she sits alone on a hill “farewell my love, my love will never pass away” she cries; and silver tears fall, from amber eyes, lost, to the realm of clouds And still she sits alone the iridescent butterfly kisses her neck and she remembers another who’s touch was like silver and gold, adrift in the skies and now, she knows, she’s alone not all imprisonment has bars and not all locks need keys and still the wind whispers his name, yet she cannot catch it, it flies away like a leaf on the breeze and still she sits alone on a hill the girl with the long lost eyes, the girl who watches the skies and the cold wind from the northern mountains, tugs at her clothes And the hill now sits alone….. Jack Beaumont

Jack Beaumont

Watcher of the Skies

Spirit of Gaia There is something moving, down there in the dust. I have been thinking of Gaia – the essence driving the seasons, turning matter to life with the mother energy that lies at her core. I have been thinking of the satellites, and the way they turn to gold at her touch, how they die anticlimactically in the dispersing winds. There is something. It is moving down there. Deep. I think it is a breathing wind, raking her bones clean in the desert sand. I think it is a desolate spiral of grief. Essential and bleak. Now stilled. I think it is nothing we can hope for. At her heart is the joy of life, and the death of promise. If clouds live and turn to rain, then she may grow again. Something moves at her heart. A tiny curl of possibility. Steve Thorp

Kim Major-George

Spirit of Gaia

Alan Perriman

After Basho

Clouds now and then give a soul respite from gazing at the moon Matsuo Basho (d.1694)

Carys Davies

To Althea

To Althea, From Prison When love with unconfined wings Hovers within my gates; And my divine Althea brings To whisper at the grates: When I lye tangled in her hair, And fettered to her eye; The Gods that wanton in the air, Know no such liberty. Richard Lovelace (1618-1657)

Out In The Dark Out in the dark over the snow The fallow fawns invisible go With the fallow doe; And the winds blow Fast as the stars are slow.

Stealthily the dark haunts round And, when the lamp goes, without sound At a swifter bound Then the swiftest hound, Arrives, and all else is drowned. And star and I and wind and deer, Are in the dark together, -near, Yet far – and fear Drums on my ear In that sage company drear. How weak and little is the light, All the universe of sight, Love and delight, Before the might, If you love it not, of night. Edward Thomas (1878-1917)

Carys Davies

Out In Then Dark

The Iceberg (extract) I was spawned from the glacier, A thousand miles due north Beyond Cape Chidley; And the spawning, When my vast, wallowing bulk went under, Emerged and heaved aloft, Shaking down cataracts from its rocking sides, With mountainous surge and thunder Outraged the silence of the Arctic sea. Before I was thrust forth A thousand years I crept, Crawling, crawling, crawling irresistibly, Hid in the blue womb of the eternal ice, While under me the tortured rock Groaned, And over me the immeasurable desolation slept. Under the pallid dawning Of the lidless Arctic day Forever no life stirred. No wing of bird -Of ghostly owl low winnowing Or fleet-winged ptarmigan fleeing the pounce of death, -No foot of backward-glancing fox Half glimpsed, and vanishing like a breath, -No lean and gauntly stalking bear, Stalking his prey. Only the white sun, circling the white sky. Only the wind screaming perpetually. And then the night -The long night, naked, high over the roof of the world, Where time seemed frozen in the cold of space, -Now black, and torn with cry Of unseen voices where the storm raged by, Now radiant with spectral light As the vault of heaven split wide To let the flaming Polar cohorts through, And close ranked spears of gold and blue, Thin scarlet and thin green, Hurtled and clashed across the sphere And hissed in sibilant whisperings, And died. And then the stark moon, swinging low, Silver, indifferent, serene, Over the sheeted snow. Charles GD Roberts (1860-1943)

Antonia Glynne Jones

The Iceberg

Obsidian Art “The Art of Poetry”

Fran Bugg

Poem ‘Signature of Water’ by Phil Barrett (2014)

01296 612150 info@obsidianart.co.uk

Thursday 23 April – Sunday 31 May 2015

Obsidian Art, Old Risborough Road, Stoke Mandeville, Bucks, HP22 5XJ

“The Art of Poetry”

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