A Translation + Draig Tân + Project #2 update!

Poetry…

I’ve written more of it than I can remember, and have been fortunate to have had some of it published. But I can honestly say I’ve never had a poem translated into another language – until recently.

The images you see are unique artworks by my good friend and collaborator Spira who translated into the Hellenic language the poem part of our 2020 collaboration when we marked the 2500th anniversary of the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis which took place in 480 BC during the Greco-Persian Wars.

The poem is entitled The Breaking of Bread and you can read it in its original English language version here along with its companion sculpture in the Spira/Ford collaboration project #1.

It is an honour and a treat to see my work translated, and for it to be done in such an artistic way is a treasure to behold .


Draig Tân (Welsh Fire)

In 2018 my eldest cousin and I, armed with ancient family photos and documents, and a subscription to a well-known online ancestry site, made some research on our family tree. We already knew about the paternal side – all from England, Birmingham, Peaky Blinders land, ay! But we knew little of the maternal side other than links to Shropshire and Worcestershire, and the intriguing but unproven link that our Great Grandparents came from Wales – thanks to elder family members remembering something about a ‘Welsh connection’.

Well, it came as exciting news when my cousin and I learnt from the documents we supplied that our maternal Great Grandparents and the lines before them came from Powys in Wales. Finally the dots had been joined. Welsh blood ran through us! Get in there you red dragon and up the Manics!

Then… 

Back to Spira, who I told of this news, and who made a sculpture not only in celebration of our collaborations, but with a nifty ‘red dragon’ nod to my new Welshiness.

Draig Tân (Welsh Fire) by Spira.

The sculpture is called Draig Tân (translated to Welsh Fire). Please check the rest of the images here


My thanks to Spira, a Wizard of our age, and the finest person I could wish to collaborate with  😎


The Remains of She

And talking of collaborations… what news of Project #2 coming later this year?

I can tell you that the sculpture parts I’ve seen so far are both haunting and beautiful. Ancient anachronistic awesomeness awaits! I can tell you that the recent writing parts I made are organically pushing me to incredible boundaries and beyond.  

There will be more Welsh fire. Hellenic spells. The Wizard and the Shaman will give precious gifts to the one who will bring renewal to the Earth. Look to the skies. The spring. A resurrection. Friends, in these dark times there will be a light to save us all.

Project #2. The Remains of She. Exclusive extract


The Remains of She. Coming in 2021!

Poem: Ghosts of the Seven Seas

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog where she hosts Six Sentence Stories and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a prompt word.

This week’s word is Horizon


 

Ghosts of the Seven Seas

O lover of mine, O Lily my love, I sail to thee across the sea

‘Neath a gown of stars twinkling in a mannequin sky,

O’er tumbling waves to the beckoning lantern

Of a lighthouse tall on a distant horizon.

 

I pass Christmas islands and frozen shores,

Cross coral reefs as pink as your lips and blue as your eyes,

To find you my love, O Lily my love,

I’m so sorry I’m late – but I have been to war.

 

A war which wounded me yet claimed without success my beating heart;

For each battle with invaders, charlatans and thieves,

Each duel with a demon and dance with a devil,

Did but strengthen my love and desire for thee.

 

Is it too late? I call out across the waves to the pirate breeze,

For I feel I am a ghost upon a ghost ship,

Sailing to deliver the gold ingots of my soul,

And all the trinkets and treasures of my pining heart.

 

Is it too late? for the lips of Lily to press mine in tender kiss,

For our arms to embrace, for our fingers to caress?

Is our love so far, so stretched, so tempered, so drowned and diluted

By all this sea which cruelly divides us?

 

Replies the pirate breeze: Ye poor fool captain upon the deck

Of your vessel bereft of direction and crew,

Ye seek the kiss of your living lover? Well, let me tell you the cold truth:

Your Lily died while you were at war, and is nought but a ghost

The same as you.

 

***


Poem: by Ford.

Image: La Tartane by Francis Bergèse. Heller catalogue 606. 1979. France.

PS: I love you

PPS: **if they smile at you thru sharpened fangs*and no matter how much they dress up their lies with fake gold*know that the truth will always sting*know only you can set yourself free*and see beyond the misery of what they want you to be*question everything*question it all**

PPPS: Look after my star

24/12/20.

Teaser Trailer #1. The Remains of She – the new Spira/Ford collaboration coming 2021!

The Remains of She.

“A journey to a childhood castle in search of ancient artefacts, healing and renewal; and a love story about to unfold which has travelled across the centuries.”

Announcing: a new art project featuring sculpture by Spira (aka the Wizard) and poem by Ford (aka the Shaman) … 2021 will be bringing you the latest collaboration from these two artists.

DoNotEnterDoNotAwake

DoNotEnterDoNotAwake

DoNotEnterDoNotAwake

A wordless “come in”. A blast of barely warm air from his cheap electric fire. She. She pulls down her mask and smiles, and he, he stutters, You… you haven’t changed a bit. She says, You… you look like shit. I’ve seen better days, he says, but now… I don’t have much time.

She says, So let’s hurry along, do you have the key? And he, though enchanted by the shanty of her azure blue eyes, turns away to a desk missing several handles, its rosewood top tattooed with time and the ringlets from tea cups, and he plucks an iron key from a stack of biros in a plastic desk tidy. And he says, The key to the castle?

She says, Yes, we should go there now. And he blinks a sole pale and blue eye and asks, Will we find treasure? She is already turning to the door when she answers, Every castle that ever was, and is, contains a treasure. 

DoNotEnterDoNotAwake

        DoNotEnterDoNotAwake

                DoNotEnterDoNotAwake


The Remains of She

Coming 2021


 

SSS: a micro story and poem

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a cue word.

This week’s cue word is Clip. Last week’s was Tender. I missed last week’s due to work, so this is my double bill feature to catch up 😊


 

The Haunting of the Clipper

She was going at a fair clip across the lurching tapestry of the Atlantic Ocean, England to America, blue agate skies and lemony sun, seabirds orbiting the old ship as it sailed westward.

Mary leaned on the rails and gazed at the vast and moving plain, her thoughts turning to the dreams of joining her husband Richard at his plantation; did she love him? Yes, otherwise she wouldn’t be making this voyage, but… the but was as stark as the shrieking of a gull as it made a pass over the deck, a black and white phantom of the seas, all hungry and brutal and vital, and Mary gave a shiver.

And she saw then on the horizon gathering clouds, blooming with the menace of a fantastic storm she might later find herself sailing into; a storm as inescapable as the life she was about to commit herself to at Richard’s plantation.

That night, in her cabin, it wasn’t storms which troubled Mary – but terrible nightmares riddled with pleas for vengeance and retribution; and the moaning and groaning she heard was not the protesting timbers of the clipper, but voices weeping with pain; and the dreadful rapping at her porthole was no striking pellets of rain nor hail, but the knuckles of fists demanding her attention; and the howls which pervaded every inch of the ship were no lamentations of the wind – but people calling out to her “Avenge us” and “Free our souls”.

The next morning Mary told her dreams to the captain, who smiled knowingly beneath a seasoned beard, and through a puff of smoke from his billowing pipe he said: “Ghosts, lass, nought but the ghosts of slaves tossed overboard and now un-resting below, aye, did ye not know this route was once sailed by slavers?”

And upon that following night, while Mary slept and once more bore witness to the moans and the howls and the voices demanding her help, she found she was no longer afraid but steeled with resolve to unshackle those ghosts, and a vow made that as soon as she reached the promised land she would burn her husband’s plantation down to the ground.

***


Tender

Tender is the man who succumbs to the virus, tender becomes his limbs and lungs, palest skin, and fragile eyes as weak as glass panes in cheap picture frames.

Tender is the meat he is helped to eat, hashed and blended, almost a liquid, when not one week ago he was scramming Sunday dinner down his throat, unaided, unhindered, unblemished by the invisible fingers of a virus tapping at his shoulder.

Tender is the bed he slept upon here, de-blanketed and de-sheeted, the mattress disinfected, his worldly belongings put into quarantine before being sent to relatives tender with tears.

Tender, so tender, the placement of flowers at a socially-distanced funeral.

Tender are the sentiments we are left with to nurse: the anxieties, bad dreams, stress and grief machined into relentless missiles lined up at the open hatch of a roaring bomber in a midnight sky –

Yet hearts, made of tough steel to meet the enemy at whichever gate it chooses, strong and vital, beating hard; O virus, ye shall know our wrath in the most tender moments you can reduce us to, and by our acts and courage we shall persist.

***


Micro story and poem by Ford.

Image: Suzy la Revoltée. Par Tani et Souriau. Lisette N° 24, 1946.

October horror shorts: The Boutique for Lost Souls


I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story, poem or article constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Boutique


 

Editor’s note: I’m placing my note this week up front instead of at the end. This is so I can thank in advance our wonderful word hostess Denise for allowing me the honour of choosing this week’s cue word (thank you so much, D, joy 😁). The word I have chosen is boutique – I love how sweetly it rolls off the tongue. A French word – but one used in the English language.

My entry for boutique goes down a somewhat typical route for me: a dark and ghostly tale, but one I think is ever so tender and loving. The Boutique for Lost Souls is a tale about ghosts and running and dancing and falling in love. It’s origins are in a story I was once working on about a secret shop in which the visiting customers had to shrink to the size of a mouse before entering. It was loosely inspired by tales such as Tom Thumb, Thumbelina, and The Borrowers. The Boutique for Lost Souls has ended up a much different beast, though it still explores the theme of being or becoming small. And so here I present to you two versions of it: the long version, and the short version.

Enjoy.

Ford 🙂


The Boutique for Lost Souls (long version)

I once was a dancer who learned how to run, to run from a monster who was after my blood, and each time I turned he was one pace closer, and I felt his vile breath like fingers on my back, as I ran and ran until I thought I might collapse, on and on, and on, the monster always there, bigger than I, taller, wicked and agile, with spinning discs of barbarous eyes, with cutlas teeth and grotesque smile, a tongue versed in spells and ancient rhymes – it was all I could do but run for my life, like a dog with its tail set alight.

And at last, near-destroyed, my lungs seething with fire, I came to a town at the end of the world, and in it a boutique with windows aglow – a hideout I prayed might save my soul; a shelter, a safe house, a temple for the pursued – and so I pushed open the door and asked for refuge.

And inside was a woman who smoked a cigar, and her eyes brimmed with wisdom, perception and guile, and she said to me: “You’ll be safe here in my little boutique, if you hide somewhere good and don’t make a peep!”

And I saw many objects of antiquity and art: instruments and barometers, timepieces and charts; optical lenses for near and far; microscopes for bugs, telescopes for stars; violins and cellos, pianos and harps; paintings and drawings, books and cards; and a music box which when opened by the woman, held a tiny ballerina spinning to Swan Lake, and I – a dancer alike – beheld this twirling figure with my lovestruck eyes, as the woman urged me on: “Hurry up and join her, there isn’t much time!”

And I duly obliged, and scampered inside, not questioning how I shrank to such a small size, as the woman closed the lid and stepped aside, and puffed on her cigar as the beast stormed inside her little boutique at the end of the world, and how he hollered and bellowed and boomed and yelled: “Where is that fool dancer, tell me, old crone, or I’ll break your boutique into thousands of pieces, and then one by one your snappity-snap bones!”

And the woman pointed a finger to a door which said: LAST EXIT FOR FOOLS, and there the beast fled into a boundless chase of the phantom of a dancer which I once was – and may he chase my steadfast ghost as the fool master of the hunt he will always be – while I, safe forevermore in the music box, with my ballerina soulmate dancing at my side, ballerina, ballerina, O angels did you see her, how she mended my heart when it was broken in two, and a pirouette later, said: “My beautiful dancer, I so love you.”

***


The Boutique for Lost Souls (short version)

“Take heart if you are running from an ancient curse

For here is a love story set in verse

About monsters and ghosts and a charming boutique

And how love and dancing may set you free

Do not despair you will find that place

Of sanctuary and a loving soulmate.”

***