#folktober #ekphrasticchallenge. Day Twenty-Five. To celebrate the launch of my new poetry collection “As Folktaleteller” I am downloading 93 folklore art images, 3 per day in October and asking writers to write poetry or a short prose inspired by one, two or all three images. Please join Jane Dougherty, Jacqueline Dempsey-Cohen, Merril Smith and I, plus those who react to the images on the day, as we explore images from folktales.

F 1.25. Salmon of Knoweldge

F 1.25. Salmon of Knowledge

F 2.25. Caipora

F 2.25. Caipora

F 3.25. Cigua or Siguanaba

F 3.25. Cigua or Siguanaba

Salmon of Knowledge (Inspired by 1.25, Salmon of Knowledge)

Wisdom dropped from the hazel tree
in weighty nuts the salmon ate.
He swam through water wide and blue,
until the young man cast and viewed
bright silver-scales caught with his bait.

Do not eat it, Fionn was told.
but fry-burned, raised his thumb to lips.
Gained wisdom from the tree and fish.
I wonder what the salmon wished–
a legend by hero eclipsed.

-Merril D Smith


Fishing for Knowledge (F1.25 Salmon of Knowledge)

Is it a flicker of scales silvering still waters?
A belly, peony pink, surging from white caps
to soar like an overblown blossom?
– or is it the muscled weight on the fishing line
offering bounty to an empty stomach?
Does it dwell in survival or sacrifice?

Does it shelter in the warm womb of the deep
or ride the icy ocean tides all winter long, there to catch,
reeling in the slippery bits to gut and consume?

Maybe knowledge simply blooms in bellies
-some filled with pink petals of flesh,
others flat and dry like overspent roses-
Burgeoning, pinking muscles and tendons
Flowing from ruddy veins to open hearts.
Ours to consume.

-Jacqueline Dempsey-Cohen

Salmon wisdom

Once, when the world was bright and new,
nine hazels grew, a grove about a glade,
where a bubbling source a deep pool made,
and in the pool a salmon turned,

and every knowledge ever learned dropped
in his mouth, the north and south
of wisdom. A silver fish in water dark,
bringer of light to deep and silent night.

A salmon fish, a grove of nine tall hazel trees
with fine fat fruit that shaded water, still and dark
and deep, and full of all the world should keep
and not let sleep, was at the core of life and lore.

Those days are past, of flowered plains where horses
with sea-flowing manes, ran wild and free.
How could they last, when wisdom has no place,
and salmon-words weigh less than any pretty face?

-Jane Dougherty

1 Salmon of Knowledge

Before I was eaten
(for I know that story too)
at the long stream of the Shannon
by the mouth as the sea is fouled
by river water some call sweet
there, Sionnan saw, and threw stones
the size of heads at me,
and laughed, and ran along the bank,
toppled trees where I sheltered, she—
granddaughter of the sea—
ignoring my birth
ignoring my worth
mocking my silver sides

I pulled her in
at Kilcredaun Point
and chained her to the rocks.

2 Oilliphèist

Come Oilliphèist, come Serpent
from wave and swell
eat the saint, eat this offering
I have chained here—
sea’s grand daughter
for she has tormented me
take her back into the sea
in pieces, one, and two, and three.

-Dave Garbutt

Bios and Links

-Jane Dougherty

lives and works in southwest France. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems and stories have been published in magazines and journals including Ogham Stone, the Ekphrastic Review, Black Bough Poetry, ink sweat and tears, Gleam, Nightingale & Sparrow, Green Ink and Brilliant Flash Fiction. She blogs at https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/ Her poetry chapbooks, thicker than water and birds and other feathers were published in October and November 2020.

-Eryn McConnell

is a poet originally from the UK who now lives in South Germany with their family. They have been writing poetry since their teens and is currently working on their second collection of poems.

-Spriha Kant

developed an interest in reading and writing poetries at a very tender age. Her poetry “The Seashell” was first published online in the “Imaginary Land Stories” on August 8, 2020, by Sunmeet Singh. She has been a part of Stuart Matthew’s anthology “Sing, Do the birds of Spring” in the fourth series of books from #InstantEternal poetry prompts. She has been featured in the Bob Dylan-inspired anthology “Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan” by the founder and editor of the website “Fevers of the Mind Poetry and Art” David L O’ Nan. Her poetries have been published in the anthology “Bare Bones Writing Issue 1: Fevers of the Mind”. Paul Brookes has featured her poetry, “A Monstrous Shadow”, based on a photograph clicked by herself, as the “Seventh Synergy” in “SYNERGY: CALLING ALL WRITERS WHO ARE PHOTOGRAPHERS” on his blog “The Wombwell Rainbow”. She has been featured in the “Quick-9 interview” on feversofthemind.com by David L’O Nan. She has reviewed the poetry book “Silence From The Shadows” by Stuart Matthews. Her acrostic poetry “A Rainstorm” has been published in the Poetic Form Challenge on the blog “TheWombwell Rainbow” owned by Paul Brookes. She also joined the movement “World Suicide Prevention Day” by contributing her poetry “Giving Up The Smooch” on the blog “The Wombwell Rainbow”, an initiative taken by Paul Brookes.

-Gaynor Kane

from Belfast in Northern Ireland, had no idea that when she started a degree with the OU at forty it would be life changing.  It magically turned her into a writer and now she has a few collections of poetry published, all by The Hedgehog Poetry Press Recently, she has been a judge for The North Carolina Poetry Society and guest sub-editor for the inaugural issue of The Storms: A journal of prose, poetry and visual art. Her new chapbook, Eight Types of Love, was released in July. Follow her on Twitter @gaynorkane or read more at www.gaynorkane.com

-Dave Garbutt

has been writing poems since he was 17 and has still not learned to give up. His poems have been published in The Brown Envelope Anthology, and magazines (Horizon, Writers & Readers) most recently on XRcreative and forthcoming in the Deronda review. His poem ‘ripped’ was long listed in the Rialto Nature & Place competition 2021. In August 2021 he took part in the Postcard Poetry Festival and the chap book that came from that is available at the postcard festival website. https://ppf.cascadiapoeticslab.org/2021/11/08/dave-garbutt-interview/.

He was born less than a mile from where Keats lived in N London and sometimes describes himself as ‘a failed biologist, like Keats’, in the 70’s he moved to Reading until till moving to Switzerland (in 1994), where he still lives. He has found the time since the pandemic very productive as many workshops and groups opened up to non-locals as they moved to Zoom. 

Dave retired from the science and IT world in 2016 and he is active on Twitter, FaceBook, Medium.com, Flickr (he had a solo exhibition of his photographs in March 2017). He leads monthly bird walks around the Birs river in NW Switzerland. His tag is @DavGar51.

-Merril D. Smith

lives in southern New Jersey near the Delaware River. Her poetry has been published in several poetry journals and anthologies, including Black Bough Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic,  Fevers of the Mind, and Nightingale and Sparrow. Her first full-length poetry collection, River Ghosts, is forthcoming from Nightingale & Sparrow Press.  Twitter: @merril_mds  Instagram: mdsmithnj  Website/blog: merrildsmith.com

-Jacqueline Dempsey-Cohen,

a retired teacher and children’s library specialist, considers herself an adventurer. She has meandered the country in an old Chevy van and flown along on midnight runs in a smoky old Convair 440 to deliver the Wall Street Journal. She is a licensed pilot, coffee house lingerer, and finds her inspiration and solace in nature in all its glorious diversity. Loving wife and mother, she makes her home in the wilds of Portland OR. www.MudAndInkPoetry.art 

2 thoughts on “#folktober #ekphrasticchallenge. Day Twenty-Five. To celebrate the launch of my new poetry collection “As Folktaleteller” I am downloading 93 folklore art images, 3 per day in October and asking writers to write poetry or a short prose inspired by one, two or all three images. Please join Jane Dougherty, Jacqueline Dempsey-Cohen, Merril Smith and I, plus those who react to the images on the day, as we explore images from folktales.

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