#folktober #ekphrasticchallenge. Day Twenty-Six. 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, and I, plus those who react to the images on the day, as we explore images from folktales.

F 1.26 Oillipheist

F 1.26 Oillipheist

F 2.26 boto encanto-640x473

F 2.26 boto encanto

F 3.26 The Brown lady

F 3.26 The Brown lady

Water Creatures (Inspired by 1.26 Ollipheist and F2.26 Boto Encanto)
The sea serpent swallowed the girl
who angered the salmon of knowledge,
the salmon, seemingly less than full of wisdom
and the serpent a monster with little brain.
He ate the piper, who went on
playing—till the Oilliphéist spit him out
perhaps even monsters cannot silence a piper.

The river holds secrets,
not all is what it seems
a handsome man may drink and flirt,
but he will not take off his hat.
The women he seduces, left brooding,
expecting more—
as he tosses his hat, takes his dolphin form,
dives back into the river.

-Merril D Smith

Where did the monsters come from? (Inspired by all three images)

We think of them, the ancient people,
huddled round the salvatory fire,
fear sitting on their shoulders,
bowed against the wind’s assault,
the wild voices in the dark.

We imagine them cringing in dire fear
of the dead, the wolf-monster,
the Behemoths in the deep water,
all the writhing deformed things
scribbled in the margins of psalters and gospels.

We imagine they were like us,
their imaginations peopled by guilt
and shame, sin and damnation.

Yet before the bestiaries,
dreamed up by fevered monks,
in terror for their immortal souls,

only owls winged the dark nights,
their gentle voices calling,
to guide home the dead,

and in the troughs of wild waves,
only seals played, singing songs of comfort
to despairing mariners.

-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

Monster Music (F1. 26 Oillipheist)

The wee melody trilled high and wobbly,
floating on a breath of salt wind.
It rose and fell with the evening’s tide
haunting, teasing,
Luring us to the foamy shore
Mermaids singing?

We waited, breathless,
Searching for locks of silken reed
and the dazzle of seafoam eyes

When suddenly
a mighty beast, broad as a ship,
breached the depths, dragon mouth spewing flotsam,
teeth slavering seascum.

All the while drunken reels fluted from its
gaping throat
as though it sang for its supper

Before we gathered our legs to flee
the monster belched an appalling effluvium of rot
vomiting forth a sodden beslimed fellow
pipes clutched to his chest.

The beast heaved a salty sigh,
then left.

-Jacqueline Dempsey-Cohen

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 

5 thoughts on “#folktober #ekphrasticchallenge. Day Twenty-Six. 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, and I, plus those who react to the images on the day, as we explore images from folktales.

  1. Pingback: Folktober, Day 26 – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

  2. Pingback: Tatters of Brown – Folktober Challenge Day 26 – The world according to RedCat

  3. Pingback: Folktober challenge day 26 – Jane Dougherty Writes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.