Nicola Slattery RBA
Nicola Slattery RBA  

Poetry meets Painting

"Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks."   

Plutarch - Greek Philosopher c45 127AD

Over the years several poets have responded to Nicola Slattery's work.  

Trent Art Gallery located just outside of Stoke on Trent invited Bert Flitcroft - their 'Poet in Residence' to run Poetry-Creative writing workshops in response to the Royal Society of British Artists exhibiton "A Road Less Travelled" held in September 2018. This is one of the poems that came into being in response to the painting 'Star Gazing'.  (sold)
 

Canine Star Gazing

''Let's look at the stars,'' Jemima said.
I wagged my tail and raised my head.
She promised a sparking, impressive sky;
I'm looking hard, I can't see why.
The stars are pretty, but I want to call,
''When you've seen one, you've seen them all!
''I'm getting neck ache, I'm sorry Jem,
I'll leave you to it, I'm going in.
''
©Janet Jenkins
Title: Flag of Flowers - acrylic on wood - sold

Flower flag

 

This flower is my flag

I wave it in the name of

beauty

fragrance

peace and

harmony.

The language of flowers feels more powerful to me

than nations who hold

their flags high with pride and allegiance

to one country, their country.

 

Spread the floral message everyone,

''Flowers for flags worldwide,

any species or colour you choose.''

 

 

© Janet Jenkins

Title: Good Company - acrylic painting on wood - sold

Good Company

(after a painting by Nicola Slattery)

 

This boat is worn, has carried many,

but now holds only a girl and her sheep

in true ark-like fashion.

 

The sea storms, blue-green and white caps,

waves mounting and then crashing

against some unseen shore.

 

Blue dress with red collar, she peers at the sheep,

cradling its head in her hands, comforting it.

The sheep, ignoring her, peers out at the world.

 

On a hill in Castletownbeare,

in someone’s back garden,

The Mary Rose leans, achingly, towards water;

the boat knows there will be no reunion.

 

Your ship has long since gone—

same continent, different countries.

And yet I wonder, when the moon rises

and the sea shifts without us even knowing,

if you will ever miss me as much as I do you.

 
By  Kim Fahner  Sudbury, ON Canada

(Published in The Human Journal of Literature & Culture, Issue 3, June 2014) – Istanbul

Talk with the moon

 

Night has arrived at last.

Time to gaze at the moon;

its glow is mesmerising.

 

I would love to jump

higher than I've ever jumped

before to join my glowing friend;

 

to say ''hello'' and chat,

then glide back to earth

with my long-eared wings.

 

Until then I'll wave a paw.

''Goodbye, see you tomorrow

if dark clouds don't hide you away.''

 

©Janet Jenkins

 

'Talk with the Moon' is a drypoint limited edition print. Available: see: Recent Limited Edition Prints   

Title: A House for Me - acrylic on wood

Monologue - by Kim Fahner

 

A minimalist stage, all darkened, but for a central square of light.  Within that space of light, there sits a chair, structured and old fashioned, made of wood.  A woman crosses the stage, holding a doll’s house in her arms.  She walks carefully, but with purpose, to the chair.  Sits herself down, the house centred on her lap.   She sighs, pushes some stray hair behind her ear, and begins to speak in a clear, quiet voice.

 

There is a house that sits within this house, one that holds the heart I put away the day he died.  Maybe some semblance of my heart is in that ‘other’ house, but I can’t be sure anymore.  I mind this little house so carefully that people call me paranoid, suspicious, odd.  They can’t know that the tiny structure may be the only keepsake of a life now past.  They can’t understand that the larger building behind me is what was, not what is.  The past is always bigger than the present, the shades of memory lurking just behind….

 

Her light fades while another appears to reveal the Slattery painting, hanging behind her, stage left.  She senses the shift of light, turns her body sideways to better see the painting.  The tiny house moves with her.  She sighs. 

 

What is left, now, is in that smaller rendition of wood and paint, and that in itself is nothing but a muted echo on canvas.  I can’t even trust anyone else to hold the heart of it all.  That would be madness.  Instead, I place the image, self-portrait, they say, on canvas.  Paint colours it in, a lighter shade than the memory I hold in heart.  It is all I have to keep things private, protected, sheltered. Together.

 

She shifts in her seat again, faces forwards, seeming to be uncomfortable with her revelations.  Looks downwards, rests one hand on the roof top, clears her throat, and continues speaking.

 

The children down the road walk by, sometimes, pointing down the laneway, stealing the rounded beach pebbles that line it, cluster together and murmur rumour.  They can’t know.  They are too young.  They have yet to lose.  Perhaps it is best; sometimes not knowing is the true elixir.

 

The woman looks up again, centres the house on her lap, as if to brace herself.  Gazes off into the distance, into memory.

 

Yes.  There was a hill, just like that one.  The views were grand.  You could see far and near.  You could sense when someone was coming.  It was perfect.  It’s vanished now.  This is all that remains…a shadow painting, a faint recollection of love.  Like something rubbed out by a pink Pearl eraser from school, or a sock in desperate need of darning, unravelling slowly-- so slowly--from top to toe and then back again.

 

Stage darkness.  Curtain falls.         by Kim Fahner - Sudbury - Canada

"House of Small Absences" a collection of poems by Anne-Marie Fyfe from Seren Books April 2015 features Nicola Slattery's painting "A House for Me" on the cover. For details visit: www.annemariefyfe.com

Other Poets that have used Nicola Slattery's images on covers of their published poetry collections include:   Noel Cannin and Annwen Elizabeth Bates. see Work Published page 

Red Shoes - a drypoint limited edition print that has inspired several poems some of which are below:
A girl can dream
 
of stepping out
on the High Road,
 
a flame in heels
that'll steel no beau's
 
heart. What laces
each ankle in place
 
she'll turn to take
his fancy and he,
 
blood pressure rising,
will let her lead and whirl.
 
by Maureen E. Doallas
Arlington, VA USA  
Her first book of poetry, Neruda’s Memoirs, debued in February 2011 with T.S. Poetry Press.

 

Red Shoes
by
Sheila O'Neil

I'm lured by the Shoe Sale sign,
bold scarlet behind tinsel-tarted glass.
I'm greed-flushed from Christmas,
bloated with extra pounds.
A pair of crimson shoes poses,
rosy as petals, soft-moulded.
Slick, spindled heels click,
quick music.
I dance.
I push against the moon.
The red shoes waltz me up around the stars.

My room, a shoe shrine.
New shoes on the table.

Greyness then, and grounded,
grey-shrouded as an old wives' tale.
The red shoes turning pink as pigs before my eyes.

After Red Shoes Nicola Slattery

From the Hungry Hill Anthology see more at: http://farm4.clik.com/testsite/about.html

 

 

These Shoes Can Change Your Life

 

Her dress is the colour of mushrooms,

like something pulled down into the earth,

rooted, vegetal and damp.

 

Her hair is soft and pale like woven moths,

Face resting on her folded, plump arm,

her eyes are drawn to the glory

 

of the shoes on the table. They are 

brave and beribboned and red;

red as the whirl of gas around a planet.

 

by Siobhan Flynn - published in "Poets meet Painters" Hungry Hill Writing

 

 

Rebellion

 

See how they warm our cold parlour,

these red, red shoes.

I saw them on display,

wanted them badly enough to risk his tirade,

to parade along Piers street until Mrs cadogan

in the post office goggles,

or some workman on the Milk Market

scaffolding whistles,

or a gent offers me tea at the Lemon Leaf.

I could walk past Mr Lane in the dole office,

past the men smoking outside the Armada, pause

at Daisy's, where I might loiter amoungst the red gladioli,

scarlet frangipanis, crimson-lipped tulips,

while tourists

snap at the lush flare against grey fog.

Old Sam might stare, wonder if he should

give it one more whirl.

I could sashay past the sexy guy in the doorway

at the jewellers, like I'm the only

woman in the world.

So what if he blows up about the coal

and I have to hide them. They'll be my talisman.

One day, maybe I'll walk out in them. 

 

by Alfric McGlinchey - published in "Poets meet Painters" Hungry Hill Writing

Title: Sleeping Woman - Drift into Sleep - an acrylic painting on wood - sold

Reclaiming

Wrapped in a patchwork

the woman dreams of a farm divided

from son to son

and crafts it whole again.

 

Its boundaries and banks neatly stitched

she works the soil into holdings of forest and fallow

and russeted crop and verdant green pasture

and, in places, bright crimson petals boldly sewn.

 

And in this way she claims back

a daughters inheritance denied.

The only sheep she can tend, the ones she counts,

as she falls asleep at night.

 

by Cathy Leonard  - published in "Poets meet Painters" Hungry Hill Writing

Inspired by the print: Teasels and Finches

 

Posing for my portrait

I was asked to look demure,

surely that couldn't be too hard;

I was wearing a lovely dress,

tresses adorned with flowers,

colourful birds to keep me company,

 a spray of teasels to hold with care.

I wanted to give a wide smile;

it wasn't to be and as you can see

my face is looking forlorn.

But beautifully natural, or so I am told;

the face of an angel. D'you think I'll be sold?

 

© Janet Jenkins

Thank you to all the poets above for your wonderful and beautiful responses to my work.

Nicola Slattery.

All copyrights of the poems belong to the authors of the poems.

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