The Bacchae: Dionysus goes raving

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Bacchanalia Theatre will be performing an immersive production of Euripides’ The Bacchae, and I have been privileged enough to write for this show. It is both a wild, magical┬áparty and a revealing insight into trust, control and gender. Come and join the maenads on the hillsides for a Bacchic 90s rave, then watch Pentheus get torn limb from limb by his mother. What’s not to love?

Two week run at COLAB Factory near London Bridge, don’t miss it!

To whet your appetite, here is a little taste:

You wanted this

You came to me
dripping with honey
unfolding before the sun
skin burning
shielding your eyes.

You wanted me

You invited me in and I came to you.

Remember this:
it was your trembling lips
that formed my name.
I came to you
because you wanted me.

Book tickets here!

 

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Poetry Out Loud

Last night I took part in a virtual open mic night hosted by performance poet, blogger and generally creative mother, Stephanie Arsoska. The thought behind it was that as Poets with Children we don’t really get much of an opportunity to go out to actual open mic nights to perform our work – but in this time of virtual everything, why should that mean we have to miss out? So there were five of us: Stephanie in Scotland against a professional-looking white wall, sipping a glass of something exciting; Ellie in a bathroom in Poland among her mother’s washing; Helen, surrounded by coves and candles, also in Scotland and also with wine (Scotland is the place to be, clearly); Annie in a comfortable looking chair, who almost didn’t make it due to technical hitches and me, with unwashed hair, eating curry. And so we read poetry, not sure if anyone was watching, but having a lovely time listening to each other and discussing whether poetry needs to be spoken, or read, or both.

I read my poem about my daughter’s first word and one about a sweltering night with wakeful baby. I also read a previously unseen poem, written at a time when it looked like I might never be a Poet with Children. Here it is:

Yahweh

I set a bush on fire
I spoke to it at length
but there was no staff
No quest or commission

Just my lame
stumbling tongue.

I built a ladder to the sky
and lay down at the bottom rung
but there were no angels
travelling serenely up and down

Just a cold, hard stone
for a pillow.

I stood in a river, hip deep,
but you would not wrestle.
I locked myself in prison cells
I tore curtains, released doves.

I left the door ajar
just wide enough for an angel

but there was no child.

Just a voice that told me
that You Are
Always, forever, everywhere,
burning, flaming, shining.

You stripped me bare
till there was nothing but glory.
So here I stand – unique
and highly favoured,
beautiful and loved.

Speak
Yahweh
I will listen.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2009

 

PS For anyone who was watching last night, the poem “Easter Wings” that I referred to is by George Herbert.