Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sunday Mini Challenge: How about the nightly visits?

“I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?”

John Lennon

A while ago one of the co-authors of our short-story collection challenged me to write a poem that describing the horrors of nightmares. How it affects you, how you feel unable to move or scream. The helplessness when it's no fence between you and yourself. So I came back with a poem

I’m sure you can do a lot better, but …

I also needed illustrations and this led me to the fantastic work of Fancisco Goya (1746-1828). Just searching for disturbing paintings you will find Goya on the top of your search.  His imagination and dark fantasies might even been one of the reasons that he spend time in an asylum. Take care when dwelling in darkness.

Fore a comprehensive view  take a look at Los Caprichos,  a collection of 80 etchings, where each one is almost enough to make your dreams dark. Actually every painting can be a title of a poem.

He also painted horrors of war, he painted dark mythology, He painted blood and gore, he painted black, but even if you look closely on some of his portraits he did for the Spanish court, there is always something something sinister, something ugly or cruel.

So for today’s challenge I want you to take a careful look at Goya, and think about your own nightmares, maybe there is a consistent theme, or maybe it’s more the feeling of waking up entangled in suffocating bedsheets, or with a feeling that you are not alone. Maybe you have woken up and simply have to go and check that the door is locked.

You might even take a look at the world today and wonder if nightmares are all that different from reality. Something Goya also noticed in his Disasters of war. Maybe this is how Yeats see nightmares and reality becoming one:

The Second Coming

W. B. Yeats, 1865 - 1939

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Link up a new fresh poem on nightmares, I know it will be fantastic, I know I will not read anything right before going to bed.

For those of you who prefer to be inspired by music, I find that “Moon over Bourbon Street” can inspire to some nightmare emotions. After all there are always those soft footfalls following you at night.

Remember to visit other contributions, and sleep well.


hedgewitch said...

Thanks for the Goya--he is an under-appreciated painter these days I think, disturbing and dark, and full of nightmares, perfect for your theme. Really love this challenge, Bjorn--I have cheated and worked in a bit of Susie's prompt as well.

Magaly Guerrero said...

Goya certainly loved to play in the dark and gory, didn't he?

brudberg said...

Ha, I''m glad you enjoyed the challenge - I will get around later and check out, as well as adding my own poem

Kerry O'Connor said...

Lots to sink the teeth into on this challenge, Bjorn.

Outlawyer said...

Hey Bjorn--It is a very good challenge--I have been feeling a little low and honestly not so up for nightmares--but did do something I will think of. I love love Goya--but wrote the poem just based on the prompt without him--may think of another or find a pic. He is such a great painter.


Lisabella Russo said...

Goya certainly tapped into some dark visions, nightmares are an interesting topic to contemplate...

brudberg said...

Ha.. mine is up now... and I doubt I dare to close my eyes... Karin, Goya is optional... but I agree his painting are terribly good...

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I Love Goya ... and Moon Over Bourbon Street. But it was your question about the nightly visits which enabled me to finally write about a nightmare experience from childhood. Thank you!

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

PS Please can someone clear up my confusion? What is a mini challenge? (As distinct from a non-mini challenge?) Does it mean our poems must be short?

Hannah said...

Much to inspire...thank you, Bjorn!!

I'll be making the rounds as the weekend progresses and early week...thank you!

Other Mary said...

Bjorn, I loved your poem! "The Second Coming" is a perfect fit for this post too, and the art work - yikes! Thanks for all the creepiness!

brudberg said...

After writing my poem I can assure you I had a night without proper sleep...

Susie Clevenger said...

The dark images of Goya and your prompt addressed my recent nightmare thoughts about my mother and her horrible last days with Alzheimer's. I needed to write out some of it. Thanks you

Other Mary said...

Oops, I got so excited I linked twice. They're not two different poems, sorry about that.

Bekkie Sanchez said...

Love this challenge and the art! For me the ultimate nightmare is death. Nightmares you wake up, from but not death it's forever.

Gillena Cox said...

not my favourite topic for a prompt, yet nightmares do exist

much love...

Anonymous said...

Excellent prompt, Bjorn. Looked at all the artwork, but fell in love with the video. Happen to be a big fan of Sting. Thanks!

ekta khetan said...

Taking a little detour, writing on a digital nightmare. HOpe you like it.

hedgewitch said...

@Rosemary--Kerry used to do a wonderful series of form challenges in this space that were all for various short forms--I think the title has persisted though the requirement for brevity only pops up when someone specifically asks for it--so no, your poem doesn't have to be short unless the challenge says so.