Contemporary Arts - 2018 - Stormy Weather workshop

Stormy Weather
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Stormy Weather

Throughout the summer of 2018 we worked in partnership with Guest Curator, Melanie Abrahams, founder of organisations Renaissance One and Tilt, who highlight the diverse canons of British and international literature. In August 2018, Melanie cuarted a two-day event which offered workshops on writing and performance to a small group of young people aged 16-25 years. Taking the theme 'Stormy Weather', day one was spent at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, and the participants spent some time in the museum and enjoyed a walk up to Penistone Hill, before a creative writing workshop led by Sai Murray. On day two, in the inspiring setting of Leeds Library, musician Tobago Crusoe joined Sai Murray, and the participants had the opportunity to make, create and perform new work. The young people involved had an incredible two days, enjoying both the inspiring settings of Haworth and Leeds Library, and the fantastic mentorship and guidance. 

Participants Hayley Duffy, Natasha Ketel and Henna Ravjibhai wrote and performed poems that responded to the theme of 'Stormy Weather', and with their permission we are delighted to publish their poems below: 
Haworth's Moorland Spirit   by Hayley C. Duffy
I stand atop these heathered moors;
A rugged mass of great life-force
Where nature bleeds and breathes her breath
I am freed from these heavy calls of death
In this quietness, that is more me, than I
Come wind, come rain, come ye eternal sky
Where liberty roams and leads the way
Come peace, come storm, come night or day
As time goes on, and whimpers dry
I hear the calls of the heavens high
Where nature cradles me in her mist
She wraps me up;
And I am forever robed in all her glorious bliss

Freedom – Natasha Ketel (Inspired by the extraordinary life of Emily Brontë)

Her mind is trapped in a tunnel
That never ceases to echo
Words and worries that torment her.
Claustrophobic and confined,
She is buried alive in a tomb
Of paralysing depression and despair,
Desperately seeking to disappear
To the world beyond her own.
In order to survive,
She continually separates herself
From the suffocating hopelessness,
Attacking her perennial pain
With a pen
And a piano
And a paintbrush.
Will it be enough?
Strapped in the rocking chair
Of her strained routines,
She swings back and forth
Until she is sick.
The house starves her,
Emaciating her mind
As well as her famished body.
She must escape.
If she does not,
The great force of her tremendous soul
Will be scratched, slashed and scraped away
Until she is a hollow, vacant shell.
Her genius mind
Will be left worthless.
She must set the sky on fire
And dance to the beat of its drum.
She must tattoo her heart
With her rhymes and lyrics,
Employing the glowing needle
Sent from the heavens.
Fog begins to consume her.
Permitted to forget her past
And rejoice in her freedom,
She becomes the untamed beast
Of this intimate labyrinth.
In this uncanny universe,
She can be reborn.
The sparks and fireworks
Do not frighten her,
She becomes the director
And the master
Of the spectacle in the skies.
The fierce, erratic, unpredictable show
Comforts and consoles her,
Mirroring the madness
Growing in her bones.
In her delirium,
The darkness embraces her,
Like a lover,
Allowing her dreams to materialise
In front of her wide, opened, restless eyes.
The winds wail and whimper,
Calling to her
And welcoming her home.
She realises that she is finally free.
She can adventure
Into undiscovered land
And uncharted territory
Without following the footsteps of past pioneers.
She spins in the tornado
As an airborne angel,
Full of burning desire
And endless energy.
She is able to become the headstrong heroine
That has always been caged behind her ribs.
She can finally rebel.
She is unstoppable.

Following the footsteps of the Brontes – by Henna Ravjibhai
Footprints following faint trails and tracks
an imprint in the ground.
A silent postcard to the next visitor
who stamps their mark in the near future
The meandering route taking her to a world
from the roar and rumble of a cosmopolitan city.

Well worn boots with a scuff mark
or two.
Lilac heathers painting her grey boots mauve.
Green fern brightening her grey life emerald.
The wind howls, heckling her
but she ignores it;
she travels deeper into an unforgiving vortex
letting her imagination run wild in the wilder landscape.

The countryside takes her fugitive;
the moors glad for another prisoner
but all she feels is zen.
Footprints following faint trails and tracks
Emily’s ghost leaves her imprint in the ground
her silent postcard for the tourists to come,
to walk in the footsteps of 200 years ago,
back to a world of solitude and tranquillity
away from that loud cosmopolitan city.

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