I first visited Jupiter Artland last Spring, attending a guided talk by Nathan Coley on the various art works he has created especially for Jupiter, both permanent and temporary. (Here’s what I wrote.)
The competition asked for poetry or prose inspired by one of the installations at the park, and I couldn’t ignore the lure of Laura Ford’s ‘Weeping Girls‘.
It was mid-afternoon by the time I saw them; a collection of stone statues of little girls with long hair and a certain kind of inherent malevolence like they were attempting to lure people into danger, beguiling sirens…
What made the experience even more surreal and memorable was that a young girl visiting with her family was interacting with the weeping girls, standing in front of each statue as if they were real girls.
This girl looked to be a similar age, was the same height and had long, wavy hair. It felt like part of the installation to experience this interaction, and in the shady setting under towering trees, it made for a strangely haunting experience.
When I heard about this competition (thanks Vikki!), I couldn’t wait to enter. When it came to it, I was so busy focusing on my novel, I didn’t really leave myself much time.
Reading over my poem again with a few weeks of distance (read: objectivity), although I still like it, there are a few elements of the punctuation I would change that would make the rhythm read better, but I’m still really glad I entered.
“Perfect is the enemy of done”
And not everything can be as ‘perfect’ as we would wish. (I’m struggling to find who to attribute that quote to; I want to say Ann Lamott, so I will.)
Here’s an extract of my poem ‘Set in Stone‘:
Your smile set in stone
sly smirk to the sun
wild with echoes
dancing, roaming, singing
a sundial glowering in the gloam
or a wind-chime girl with a high-pitched
Jupiter Artland is now closed for the winter, but reopens again in the spring.