Daphne

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She flees
Light and Fast
Carried by the wind
She shall not be defiled
The thought – to be caught
An horror, oh so vile
But Apollo is close
Behind her he breathes
His despised body she can feel
In despair, she pleads
Blinded by her tears
O father, save me if you please!
There is time to think
Her words have fallen on deaf ears
But, no, her father’s name
Has not been called in vain
As Apollo stretches, reaches
His hand on her hip
Her limbs grow heavy
Her flowing hair in mid-air
Twists and changes
From tresses to foliage
Bark crawls up legs and breasts
Arms lifted up to the sky turn to branches
Now anchored, rooted
And saved, is Daphne
A beautiful Laurel Tree
Forever pure
Forever green
Her metamorphose is complete

*I recently wrote about Bernini and it made me fall in love all over again with his work. His Apollo and Daphne is stunning – it is a painting made of marble, it is drama, it is an epic story. I always go and see Bernini’s Neptune and Triton when I visit the V&A Museum in London, it is the only large scale Bernini work to be found outside of Italy – I’ve seen it so many times and yet it never fails to take my breath away. This is the Baroque I adore, this is art as I understand it: full of emotions, full of life and passion*

Neptune and Triton

Books


Shame you were busy
Sweetie
Though
I went to a masquerade
Ball
Plied my trade
As a medieval whore
Behind the doors
Of a gloomy castle
Received a rose
From a lovable rascal
Lived, breathed, loved
Not a minute was lost
I only wish your lunchtime
Had been as exciting as mine
You were keeping the books
While I dived straight into one
No need to ask
Which one of us missed out

La différence


You called me Marie Antoinette
in (pretend) jest
Knowing full well she wasn’t even French
You took aim, sipping Earl Grey
I loaded my pistol with clever quips and intellect
You replied with British wit, threw Maugham in my face
Quoted William Blake
Defied me with Oscar Wilde
Meanwhile
I had Voltaire, Molière and Baudelaire
You decried our catholic habits
I riposted with a line on heretics
It got worse – a sick thirst for the absurd
Propelling some kind of makeshift hearse

Nothing is as sordid as a Republic

I am disgusted by your monarchy

’twas a war between two countries
Like most wars, of course unnecessary

This battle with no soldiers and two generals could not end well

On a morning bathed in silvery light, the frost invaded the forest and a passing stag raised its head, aware of the taste of death in the air

You shot one last time, for real at last
I was hit through the heart
I fell draped in my flag
A tragic Marianne
Blood spreading on my chest
Staining my Coco Chanel
Taking on the shape
Of red poisonous flowers – the stuff of Lovecraft Nightmares

The sky suddenly burst open and it rained champagne
Like it should have on Hugo’s barricades
When Gavroche gave his last breath among other Miserables
With a song on his lips and without complaint
Never let it be said
The French are in any way mundane
We even die with a fanfare
And you, executer and witness
You covered me with your Burberry trench – must have been quite a wrench
Your British anguish
On realising how foolish
You’d been
Was nothing less than extraordinary
Unfortunately it was too late
La différence could no longer be embraced

World Book Day

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It’s World Book day and-needless to say-for bookworms such as I, it’s a pretty big deal.

Today I saw countless references to J.K. Rowling on Twitter and other social media sites and it kind of annoyed me because, yes the Harry Potter books are brilliant, but there are so many other authors out there worth reading—we should be promoting them, J.K. Rowling hardly needs more publicity or recommendations.

So, that said…go and read, people…and more importantly, get children into the habit and remember that it’s never too early. I always plop any baby down on my lap and read them a story. It doesn’t matter that they can’t understand what I’m saying, I want them to see (and feel) paper and hear the words and for their mind to get into that rhythm. The Mr Men books are a favourite for babies and very young children…I “do” all the voices and stuff—I passionately believe every child should be read at least a story a day every night before bedtime, but any time during the day will work too.

Now for the obligatory selfie with the books which have been my companions in the last month. I will readily admit that if my access to books was suddenly denied for whatever reason, life wouldn’t be worth living anymore.

Ps: today I’m looking very casual and wearing my glasses, apologies to anyone expecting more of the “black dress” kinda look I featured on here last week or whenever it was.

The Three Graces (written with Meg & Vic)

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The banquet hall was prepared, for the guests to celebrate and dine
The invitations sent, the tables laid with food and wine…
Thalia smiled at her reflection in the mirror
As the servant girl brushed her golden hair to a shine

The drape of her gown was liquid, delicate silk and brocade
Gathering around her luscious curves, falling in sensual cascade
Naked beneath, luxuriating in the slippery feel
Imagining her lover’s roaming hands, nearly had her unmade

As musicians prepared the gathering crowd for dance
Thalia imagined Apollo’s beaming countenance
The god of prophecy and knowledge, poetry and music
Grace of Abundance would seduce and entrance

Sister, Aglaia, sister Euphrosyne come join the preparation
Together summon Dionysus to bestow this mad occasion
With love and lust to complement the product of the vine
So that all desires may be fulfilled in celebration

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Euphrosyne looked around at all the smiling faces
Such recreation pleased this most mirthful of Graces
Biting down on a grape, juice ran over her lips
Her mind filled with flashes of later kindred drips

As she wandered the room, she left laughter behind her
Seeing the buzz in her wake was enough to delight her
Eyes squeezed tight, open mouths and flushed cheeks
Another parallel, she thought, to ensuing ecstasy

Mighty Dionysus soon arrived and set hands to playing
Inspiring the sweeping heat of bodies, close and swaying
Euphrosyne had her eye on him with his thunderous laughter
Rivaling her vivacity, her path to his bliss was well crafted

He was halfway to her side before he realized she beckoned
Shirt halfway undone, half in love in a second
Her mouth like a slow flame, exquisite and searing
He was eager to endure this sweet torturous feeling

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aglaia observes her sisters, neither complete without the other
She, as the third, finishes off with a flourish this heavenly triangle
So many riches and converging passions in the banquet hall
Desire bursts out of every pore—an arid wind wilting flowers

Parting the crowd, beautiful Thalia emanates vibrant youth
With a raucous laugh Euphrosyne has Dionysus thoroughly seduced
Aglaia glides over marble floors, her splendour unrivalled
Knowing before the night is over she will become unraveled

She doesn’t try to entice, patiently waits, breathing just a little faster
Her delicate palate craves the taste of ambrosia yet words are her nectar
It is wit full of clever twists she seeks and hungers after
One man will distinguish himself, and when he does…

His hand Aglaia will take, to lead him away from the banquet
Poise will be dropped as she takes off her elegant dress
A just reward bestowed upon the one able to match her mind
She will give herself without restraint, deep moans and a sigh

*I’d never written with a woman before, let alone two of them, so I was excited (and a bit nervous) to do something with Meg and Vic who are both great writers. I had this idea of writing something based on the three Graces since there were three of us (very original, I know)
Meg did the honours, followed by Vic, leaving me to conclude. Thank you, ladies for putting up with me, it took me forever to write my part since I had to concentrate on my Master’s work for a while, but it was as much fun discussing the writing (and everything else) as it was actually doing it. I like that we made the Graces a bit slutty (though not as slutty as we could-or wished to-have done, ha!)
For anybody not familiar with the three Graces and wanting to know more: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Grace-Greek-mythology

Image credit: marble sculpture of the three Graces by James Pradier — Louvres Museum

A fascinating psychopath

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It has happened again. I have become obsessed with a fictional character. Well, two of them really, but I identify far too much with Will Graham to find him more than incredibly interesting — I see much of myself in him so he cannot hold true fascination like Hannibal does.

It has come as no surprise to my friends that a psychopath has started haunting my dreams. Who is Nat if not the woman irresistibly attracted to the darkness? (Quoting one of them)

Hannibal is remarkable intelligence, incomparable charm and supreme elegance. He tilts his head, reclines in his chair, walks across the room…every move he makes is imbued with style, he is grace personified. For someone like me who is interested in fashion, Hannibal Lecter is a gift – I have quasi-orgasmic moments with each and every suits he wears. Even his “fights scenes”, few and far between, are choreographed to look like a particular violent type of ballet. I learnt today that Mads Mikkelsen (the actor who plays Hannibal) is a former dancer, it did not surprise me at all. Also, as a side note, his cheekbones are to die for and deserve a mini-series of their own.

Hannibal - Season 1

Very much of the TV show Hannibal is filmed to appear as visual poetry. The Minnesota landscape shots are of the beautifully bleak sort, even the gory bits (which I’m not at all a fan of) are spectacularly done. The visuals, the soundtrack, the writing and the acting are all splendid.

Then, of course, we have the psychology – the thing that ultimately retains my attention. There is nothing new with a monster crying at the Opera but Hannibal’s incomprehensible “real” nature is underlined perfectly by his intoxicating charm and brilliant mind. His own fascination (obsession even) with Will Graham—the ultimate empath who understands how serial killers operate—does not prevent him from emotionally torturing him and taking him to the brink of madness. Simply because he can. Simply because he has finally found somebody worthy to “play with”.

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The turmoil I felt when I watched Will tell Hannibal: “I didn’t know which was worst. Knowing I had done this…or knowing you had done this…to me. I wanted to trust you. I needed to trust you.”
Oh, Will…I understand! While Hannibal stood there listening to this heartbreaking speech and feeling no remorse whatsoever for what he has put his “friend” through.

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Last night I dreamt about Hannibal, I fear I shall forever be fascinated by monsters who cannot be changed. I may forever try to understand them even though there is no understanding to be had. I may forever be attracted to the despair, and the pain and the dark.

If you haven’t seen Hannibal yet, go watch it. The odds are you’ll enjoy it, even if you’re fortunate enough not to be an empath like I am, even if you’re not “crazy intense” like me. 

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Choices

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Citing fate and destiny is for the weak and the meek, the ones seeking absolution for their own actions.
“It was or wasn’t meant to be” only occurs in the rarest of cases – most of the time, life has nothing to do with fate but with the choices we decide to make.

“Whatever choice you make, makes you. Choose wisely.”
Roy Bennett