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.

Prophets 16th October 2015 / Rafael Torrubia Prophets in the forms of birds
the branches of trees their hymnal
and their incantations run
down the spines of forests
Prophets in the forms of birds
their wings a quiet clatter against the sky
the dream of them beyond a window
that holds chipped cups
Prophets in the forms of birds
wasp-beaked and quarrelling scripture
out into the branches
down into the leaf-mould
Prophets in the forms of birds
and a weight in the heart like a great black stone
Prophets in the forms of birds
shrink-wrapped sandwiches
wet plastic, damp boots
a weight in the heart like a great black stone
that bows your trees, your ribs
Fingers on the ...
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Suspension 16th October 2015 / Rafael Torrubia Hoarded within the boles of trees
spin-legged, gem-footed
waiting for the first long stretch
deep dreaming before that
in a dark of coiling and twining
not quite fingers, to not quite arms, to not quite breaths
waiting for the first cut of the plow
remembering the gold push of the corn
a sky pushed by starlings
blood on the soil
sudden colder winds

Inspired by the whole of Jupiter Artland
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Swallowed 16th October 2015 / Rafael Torrubia Come here you swallowed thing
in from the rain, in from the shadows
let me see you, your sucked bones
your torn frame
tell me your becoming tales
how did you find yourself here
what nets
what snares
what black bindings
let your teeth catch the firelight
let your lungs swell with smoke
put a glass in my hand
rest your head on my shoulder
it’s a poor thing this place
I remember it
pushed out of shape by all the living in it
come here, let your limbs unwind
chase the damp from your hair
tell me your dreaming tales
how did you make yourself here
what times
what tides
what etchings
you swallowed thing
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Therefore 16th October 2015 / Rafael Torrubia Therefore
                  we cannot
                  we regret
                  we believe
                  we send our condolences
                  cast off
                  we know
                  we see
                  we concur
                  we will not

Inspired by the whole of Jupiter Artland
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Waiting Spaces 16th October 2015 / Rafael Torrubia Put me there
in the waiting spaces
in the stillnesses
hew me roughly
from memories
and when the bombs
the dust will not touch me
I’ll have grown forested
uneven, unfamiliar
you’ll call your fingertips liars
and I’ll rise unsteady before
your eyes
and hold you
steady, strange, unfamiliar
grown in the waiting spaces

Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy's Stone House Bonnington
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Winter Shadow 16th October 2015 / Kriss Nichol Eight months have fallen from the earth,
the weight and depth of its dark
a collection of memories from a thousand winters.
Earth shows its secret rhythms,
enormous as night,
in the dampness of grass
where wet bubbles of dew glazed by ice
spring to life, released from spasms of snow
as dawn slips across the horizon.
Wind drags through branches,
sculpts them to another shape,
pools shadows made by live oaks,
shifts waves of measured sunlight.
The sudden crack of submerged bulbs,
like a chorale of ghosts,
and scents of bruised freshness
greet fistfuls of sky over-run with blue
and another kind of waiting begins.

Inspired by Proposal 47, Winter Shadow by Peter Liversidge.

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Set in Stone 16th October 2015 / Rebecca Johnstone Your smile set in stone
sly smirk to the sun
wild with echoes
dancing, roaming, singing
moss-stitched lies
a sundial glowering in the gloam
or a wind-chime girl with a high-pitched
weeping malevolent tears;
a siren call to curious children
seeking solace under your cool canopy
of teal and jealous green, that
murky realm haunted by
silent prayers to parents who are
no longer there, confusions
brooding speckled and cold, as
cold as your stone lair
wriggling, still alive,
weeping salt-less tears
into the sighs of Medusa’s hair.

Inspired by Laura Ford's Weeping Girls
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Night Eternal 14th October 2015 / Piotr Nowakowski There are flat people crawling throughout the fuzzy walls,
Weapons of Titans abandoned in the forest
Suspiciously close to a giant spider web.
Faceless children keep running between
The shrine of the sun god and a cottage
Ruined by the worms of the earth.
Layers of reality peel off round the corners.
It may look innocent in daylight but the Sun is weak,
Daylight only an illusion.
The universe is plunged into darkness,
Drowning in eternal night that is dark and full of horrors.
On a cosmic scale no one can hear our screams.
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High Heavens 14th October 2015 / Piotr Nowakowski You can see it if you go into the woods at night.
You have to peel off a few layers of crumbling dry realities.
(Don't worry, it really is that easy. They are visible under UV light).
Take the path-of-the-right-hand and be careful not to rustle any of the trees and bushes.
You will pass close to the cage that protects the bottomless pit.
It keeps the Worms of the Earth away,
But only while they sleep.
If you hear the screeches run towards the abandoned house and stay there
Until it gets quiet.
(The rocks inside are not from this world but from theirs and act as a repellent.)
The Onyx tomb protects against things much worse
But don't think about that too much – it only attracts the Dark Pharaoh.
When you finally make it ...
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Cats of Jupiter 14th October 2015 / Piotr Nowakowski I was convinced there was such a thing
Lovecraft must have written it
“Cats of Jupiter” - I remember…?
Do I remember reading it?
I started searching through my books
Then went online and – nothing
Have all the copies been destroyed?
Every trace erased?
My cat gives me that weird look
As if he knew much more
One day we will follow the sign and we'll get there
To Jupiter, I mean
As usual
To discover strange new worlds and such
And we will meet the cats on Jupiter
Graceful and civilised
Giving us that weird look again
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A Gentle Reminder 14th October 2015 / Piotr Nowakowski That pit in the forest that seems to reach eternity
Is a gentle reminder
The skeletal frame, an invisible man whose shape reveals the deepest of heavens
Is a gentle reminder
The faceless children prancing around Apollo's temple and near the house not empty
Are a gentle reminder
The spider's web, the weapon fit for a giant,
the Cyclopean cemetery with nameless headstones
Are a gentle reminder
The gleaming cave, that ancient tomb filled with amethyst and onyx,
The alien landscape of rocks that grow on trees
They are a gentle reminder
Of a cosmic horror lurking in plain sight
A reminder of the Old Ones
Reminding that they might be asleep
Yet still
They are watching
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A Friendly Conversation 14th October 2015 / Piotr Nowakowski They are not natural
I tell myself
Those hills with their geometry
Their fractaled shapes
What immortal hand?
The Muse just laughs at me
You silly
You see dread everywhere
Fear everything
Indeed I do, my dear Muse
There's always something lurking in the shadows
In the corner of the eye
Beyond the veil
Just waiting
In the wires and mirrors and shapes that separate the evening?
Especially in that
They tear the world into pieces
Open cracks in the sky and light
To the other side
Who knows what may crawl through them?
You're hopeless
The Muse sighs
Even in the hundred waters
Of a hundred British rivers?
What menace could simple bottles invoke?
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Mousai 14th October 2015 / Freya Tugwell “Go tell the stories of men and women of old” said Apollo to his Mousai. “Art is humanity in its truest form. Capture in song and writing the hopes, fears and pains of humankind. Arrest the beauty of a woman in a painting to never be seen by another except he who paints.” With this, the divinities danced from Mount Helicon on the wind that carried them to those who invocated them.

Calliope of the beautiful voice settled down in her crimson aegis beside a young man who wrote poetry inspired by the resounding anger and grief of war. He wrote of a young child who ran forward with his wooden sword to meet the sword of a Trojan, only to be followed by unforgiving Nemesis who ensured his fate would be met by the time the last grain of sand fell from her hourglass. Calliope ...
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Peek-a-boo 14th October 2015 / Frances Ainslie I remember my mother knitting for weeks as if she was obsessed. There was a deadline to meet – a new addition to the family. The Shetland yarn twined round her hands and etched her skin with fine lines. The skinny pins click, click, clicked between her deft fingers, agile as a spider. Her arms stretched wide as she held the final section of gossamer shawl up to the light. Sunshine filtered through the windows of spider-web and threw patterns onto the bare walls like stars scattered across the sky.                                    

‘Peek-a-boo,’ she said, when she saw the wonder on my face, as I watched her from across the room.           

Thinking about it now, those bright, blue eyes blinking back at me through the lacy peep-holes saw me at once changed – that bittersweet moment when she sensed that I’d no ...
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Leaving the Brownies 14th October 2015 / Yvonne Dalziel Leaving the Brownies

‘Lily, look, who does that remind you of?’ I pointed to the little girl with thin legs, long curly hair

obscuring her face as she leaned against the tree in the dappled wood, emitting a general air of

misery and hopelessness. There was something in my voice, despite its intentionally light tone,

that alerted Lily, seemingly unreachable in that moment.

‘Is it me?’ she asked sullenly, and started to cry. ‘I didn’t want to come to this stupid place to see

these silly statues! I’m tired of walking and Daddy says I’m a nightmare, always having meltdowns,

and that Rosie might be my new mum.’ She sobbed.

‘I’m sorry, love, I was just teasing you.’

That weeping girl with ...
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GUN AGAINST A TREE 14th October 2015 / David Subacchi Why insult my living body
My outstretched arms
Decked with greenery
Inviting only peaceful embrace
The brush of bird wings
And the squirrel’s caress
By placing against me
This grotesque object,
Made more ugly
By being oversized,
As if to mock
My immobility
With Its stock
Cut from the body
Of one of my own,
First hacked down
With blade of saw
Then left to dry
Fitted to a barrel
Of bored metal,
Designed to kill
When aimed
In anger towards
Unsuspecting prey
Why position
This symbol of death,
This hunter’s weapon,
Here by my trunk
That yearns only
To feed life
And not to kill.

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JU 88 14th October 2015 / David Subacchi Junkers JU88 the Schnellbomber
So fast no fighter could catch you
At least that was the theory,
But you fell from the sky
Taken apart by gunfire
And you buried your nose
In the mud of Hare Hill,
The rest of your body
Scattered elsewhere
Across the once peaceful soil,
Such is war
Another myth broken
Another life lost
Before your death roll
You released bombs
Desperately, maybe
To lose weight
And regain control,
Maybe in a spiteful
Attempt to cause
More destruction,
A final act of defiance
Before lights out
And all your instruments
Read zero,
The wreckage was left
To rust and rot,
Your defeated remains,
Attracted no interest
But gradually the ...
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Buying Time 14th October 2015 / L A Traynor slipping
fingers stretched
knuckle popping
hold on.
the urge to let go
float the pain away
float on the sea
of medication
islands of morphine
signposting a route
to respite
from the bite
of pain

Inspired by Antony Gormley's Firmament
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The Weeping Girl 14th October 2015 / Lynsey Hansford She weeps for the rough hands
that shed diseased skin
poison glitter: it sticks around forever
you know how glitter does
She weeps for all the grazed knees
that went without counsel
until the tears themselves took mercy
and sought to clean her wound
She weeps for spilled blood
like melted wax, it's globules jostle
to form an emblem of misplaced pride
honour or death: ride or die
She weeps for Lay still and Be quiet
check your dignity at the door
and your continence on the floor
now nothing's the same anymore
She weeps for every rainbow boasting
about the way that magic can happen
when light hits water in just the right way
because it's the opposite with tears

Inspired by Laura Ford's ...
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Manifesto 14th October 2015 / Helen Boden For each of the weeping kids
waiting outside courtrooms
like Chloe and Kate
while grownups reached
the bedrock of childhoods
endured at eight on the Richter Scale
took weeks to excavate the heavings
demonstrate effects of daily smashes
on girls with no play-grounds
for superstitious skipping
but only fault-lines
grykes in the emotional karst
of what passed for home:
a roof

Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy's Stone House and Laura Ford's Weeping Girls
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