inspired to write competition blog

Welcome to the entry page for the Jupiter Artland Inspired to Write Competition. Here you can find all our fantastic submissions of poetry and prose inspired by the Jupiter Artland artwork as part of our summer writing competition. Please use this link for more information on our Inspired to Write competition and to find out how to enter. 

You might also be interested in our Poet in Residence, Marjorie Lotfi Gill's blog.

Four Boys 22nd September 2015 / Jean Taylor Horst Bluhm
Will Euler
Fritz Forster
Heinz Kristal

Four boys missed their target
crashed into Hare Hill

When they stumble
upon the bomb
hogweed and milk thistle
they trace the bubbled seams
of its four
perfectly-angled fins,
surprise the rubber warmth
of factory-stamped metal.
They long to fly -
to scale the space
hilltop and cloud top.
But the thought of killing
flattens their dream.
They bury the bomb
where they find it
in a foxhole tomb,
scatter themselves -
an explosion of shrapnel
over Hare Hill, Black Hill,
Bell’s Hill, Harbour,
Capelaw, Allermuir.

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In Memory 22nd September 2015 / Jean Taylor If you leave the name
off the gravestone
you can, for a shiver
of time, pretend
the memorial stands
for some other person.
Without a name, bodies
are mere suggestions,
toes pointed, heads unmarked -
birthdates, death dates
the husband of, father of labels
dearly beloved - rendered
universal by redaction.
Still we consider how things fade,
names, dates and memories reduced
to haunt the shadow shapes
they used to occupy.
Year after year, the purple
loosestrife  dies back
and re-appears.

Inspired by In Memory by Nathan Coley
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Reminders 22nd September 2015 / Jean Taylor I was never good at birthdays,
carried the date of your birth
in red ink on the palm of my hand,
pinned it with a lobster-shaped magnet
to the metal love of my fridge,
circled it in calendars, hard-
wired it in to passwords,
pin numbers, burglar alarms.
I have no need of tombstones
carry the date of your death,
pricked round my wrist
in a bracelet of blood.

Inspired by In Memory by Nathan Coley
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THE BAGLADY`S SHADOW 22nd September 2015 / Fred McIlmoyle                     Two brown carrier bags - that’s all she had !                                                                                                                                                   
                   One bore the remnants of yesterday’s dreams,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                   The other a store of today’s necessities.                                                                                                                                                         
                    I thought it sad, and watched awhile.                                                                                                                                                              
                    She turned and caught my eye.                                                                                                                                                                        
                    Trapped ! I tried to smile - to comprehend                                                                                                                                                     
                    What tortuous path had led her here ?                                                                                                                                                             
                    Where were those who should be near                                                                                                                                                            
                    To ease her anguished years ?                                                                                                                                                                          
                    She shuffled towards me,
                    Tattered trainers, bandage bound,                                                                                                                                                                    
                    Grasped my hand in both of hers.                                                                                                                                                                   
                    Instinctively I stiffened,
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Three Sisters 22nd September 2015 / Moira Tasker Three sisters, childless and two of blood but the other a friend so close we were in touching distance of being official family. Are we all not, no matter how distantly, related to each other anyway?

A late September day out, however, this time not a usual day for us. Not an activity which seemed to fit with a societal view of us as precariat’s without children. Not walking the dogs nor shopping nor popping into each other’s houses for cups of tea.

Invigorating and chattering and laughing. One sister had visited many times. Two sisters had never been.  They had pondered the Love Bomb for afar. That bright, uplifting sculpture that stands so high and proud that it appears to touch the clouds. It’s visibility from the road on the way to or from other destinations had ignited many personal dreams.
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Invitation 22nd September 2015 / Robbi Nester Which is the floor? The ceiling?
It’s all uncertain.
This room is all angles,
nowhere to set a foot.
Color floods the room,
but not the tones of our ordinary world,
its hard light, unremitting rain.
Soft shades of apricot and mauve
belie its violence.
No figures--only fragments.
The walls fly apart, falling away
into loose brick and stone
as if on impact, model
of a universe we  can glimpse
only through a powerful lens.
The lopsided sun, slightly singed,
burns in one corner of the cornice,
while beneath, illuminated by an entirely
different grade of light, a window,
perhaps taped to the far wall
like a portrait, confronts us
with its dark stand of pines,
segmented into panes.
Across the room, its opposite
or ...
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My Thoughts 21st September 2015 / Maria Arana thoughts change
as they reach my mouth
            no defense
no articulation
you hear opinion
not well versed
and shot down
             mouth sews shut
what words should I say
when they aren’t loud enough to matter
             loud enough to fight
alongside yours
and yours       
           and yours
that gravitate a level I’m not used to
like caviar to my hot dog
that’s when my teeth chatter
lips bleed truth
and heart gets stepped on

Inspired by Stroke by Anya Gallaccio
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Balancing Act 21st September 2015 / Mary McCarthy This makes a poem
in stone and wood
like music formulating time
each coppiced tree a hand
fingers spread wide
to cup a heavy stone
weight made weightless
lifted in the grip
of living wood

each will take years
to dream into the other
tree and stone together
a long sentence
none of us will live
to see complete
each day tuned
to its own harmonic
infinitely changeable

as each hour patterns
new shadows
moving over shapes
like the shadows cast
by clouds
running their light caress
over a landscape
we imagine still
dependable as stone

Inspired by Stone Coppice by Andy Goldsworthy
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Time 21st September 2015 / Janis Clark Had I not overslept
I might have seen the thousand threads
burst from a dandelion’s head,
halo the blackbird’s yellow bill.
Had I not overslept
I might have seen the brazen hawk
watch the first chaffinch struggle to free
its final nut from the feeder
Had I not overslept
I might have seen the blinds still closed,
watch the colour fade from his face
grasp the final warmth from hands, now cold. by Still Life by Samara Scott
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A Crofting Childhood 21st September 2015 / Janis Clark Hands cracked as old leather, stains scrubbed
clean from last night’s terror, yellowing sheets
hang limp in still air like sails stuck in doldrums. 
Last day, a new born lamb lay on mangled legs,
crow-picked eyes stared up, watched her father strike
the final blow, its gaze followed while she slept
slipping quiet into dreams till it fled from her screams
as the door flew open, only her mother's silent cry
in the black midnight light, feel the touch of the warm hand
making the dry bed gently, just as she always does.

Inspired by Weeping Girls by Laura Ford
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Postulants 21st September 2015 / Irene Buckler I raise one shapely eyebrow and stand back from the mirror to make a final inspection.  My skin is baby-smooth and subtly blushed to accentuate my classic high cheek bones.  My eyelashes are seductively lush and my eyes, shadowed in smoky tones, are expertly outlined.  Pink and plump, my lips look totally kissable and my dark hair is gathered in the sleek high ponytail much favoured by our goddess.   Face and hair perfect, it’s time to dress. 
I shiver with pleasure as I slip a shift of finest white silk over my bare shoulders. The elegant simplicity of its design epitomises quality and as pair it with it with comfortable leather sandals, I am well pleased with the way that I am emulating the look.  I am ready and as soon as my sisters arrive, identically groomed and spirits soaring, we begin our pilgrimage. 
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On 21st September 2015 / Iain Matheson honey-coloured basset hounds
polishing euphoniums
for the lonely concubines

honest executioners
contemplate their saxophones
complex but compassionate

wonderfully slim bassoons
nondescript in battered brogues
honoured for their sanctity

disconnected afternoons
bayonets and gondolas
cushions and accordions

Inspired by Only Connect by Ian Hamilton Finlay
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Tale 21st September 2015 / Hilary Colver Tale of a tadpole with a tail
I was there, I was small
I was jelly
Too many blobs and tails
Too short a time - escaping from the fetters                                                                                                   
                             with a tail to     swim
                                                     caress the waters
                                                      of the world
Before I lose my innocence          my tail
                                                     and  leap, not swim
My haven here, the world in my   confines
                                                     but free
As waters unite and form              on my side
one united country
I swim by and to them and feel
I learn
to begin this way
accessing the world from a cell
My vision not diminished by unseen wonders
I have them
all brought to me
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A Fractured Affair 21st September 2015 / Denise Gosden From the DarkNet
("Killing is in most cases wrong, yes. However, as this is an inevitable direction in the technological evolution, I would rather see it in the hands of me than somebody else," writes Sanjuro. "By providing it cheaply and accurately I hope that more immoral alternatives won't be profitable or trusted enough. This should primarily be a tool for retribution. When someone uses the law against you and/or infringe [sic] upon your negative rights to life, liberty, property, trade or the pursuit of happiness, you may now, in a safe manner from the comfort of your living room, lower their life-expectancy in return.")
With the dossier resting on my knees, my left hand circled a plastic cup of strong coffee. My right hand I thumb the page and locate his stats. His name is Tristan Murphy and he lives in the pale wood ...
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The Waiting Room 21st September 2015 / Fred McIlmoyle THE WAITING ROOM
 Through the glass - beyond the blind,
        in the winter twilight of her mind
 the street is thronged with busy shoppers
 cafes, market stalls, a copper chasing kids
 for banging on the dustbin lids
 She chats to friends in local stores,
 complains about `that cat` next door,
 but not for her the marriage vows,
 it never seemed just right somehow.
 That chance has now long passed her by
 she realises with a sigh.
 To those outside, a different scene -
 crumbling bricks and stagnant streams,
 derelict shops and windy spaces
 where the last surviving traces
 of that teeming,vibrant street
 now lives in the minds of folk who meet
 in run-down, bare community halls
 to share their lives as evening falls.
 Confined to this ...
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The Void 21st September 2015 / Nichola Combe I want to dive into the void, 
The void of my new life, the void of me without you. 
There is no jailer, the bars are all in my mind, 
A manifestation of my reluctance to move on, to let you go. 
Yet I take the first step and leap into the darkness, 
I need to be free of you, 
I need to rediscover who I am on my own, 
I do not look back as I fall. 

Inspired by Suck by Anish Kapoor
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Somnambulist 21st September 2015 / Rennie Gaither He arrives at one destination, eyes closed, steamed broccoli in shirt pocket, aphorisms scotch taped to a thousand wrong turns. Then decides to retrace his steps, return to where shoes squeak, neighbors cachinnate at junk mail, and sunsets crowdsource loneliness.     A place he figures he’ll make history by slipping a handful of cockleburs into the gym teacher’s shoes before the bell rings. But a mousy, acned kid in love with Moll Flanders puts the kibosh on the deal—and squeals. So he hightails it to another dream where dotted lines nod, trees yawn, and no one knows Atticus Finch.
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Porcelain Hearts 21st September 2015 / Maria Arana fingers rasp
inside box            wood
air leaving
nails trimmed to flesh
blood-wet            impacted
darkness            suffocates
bones crackle
making a hole
gasping open
dirt covers mouth
spit            twist            rock            and kick
hands move fast
scratch box
reaching gray clouds
rain muddies face
shoulders pop
blue dress tint
washes off
body surfaces
hands pull            up
water washes
down throat            choking
tumble out
vomit            spit            crawl           
face burns
peel the source off
skin deep
then roaring            shaking
ground groans
others pop out
dresses stained                       
in blood            or guts
and in the silence
of the ...
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Time 21st September 2015 / Claire Druett A petal dropped today, blossomed, swelled then popped
swirled and spiralled to the soil, to make a tangled paradise
on the floor. A sleeping whirling dervish preparing for crawl,
A pre-eminent sprint towards the pop and dropping,
into the orchard. Into the badgers den.
And out into the hanging clouds, an apprentice on the stem,
Following the valley of the flowers, one enormous sweep of in-balance.
Yet it is done, for now.
I am an apprentice on the stem, I lodge here,
my rents paid in lichen and moss,
In sturdy toil and fragile slots of heightened time,
My mentors slow and patient, cambium layers pursed,
I shall see my mentors face through mine one day,
yet is is done, for now.

Inspired by Stone Coppice by Andy Goldsworthy
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