Frog on Water Steal the Bricks – Wild Whispers

6 Oct

Wild Whispers, poetry film project, began with Frog on Water, a poem by producer Chaucer Cameron about connectivity/disconnect, with the backdrop of the personal – a house move – and the political – Brexit.

She had this simple but ambitious idea (the best kind): send it out to her poetry collaborators across the globe one-by-one, to translate it, turn it into a film, and pass it on. Whispered.

I used to walk through woodland and wild garlic,
watch leap of frog, gold-green on water.

Would it be lost in translation? Well yes and no.

Films of poignancy, laughter, sadness, fear, loss, suffering, menace, sensuality, mechanics, psychedelic migraines, disillusionment and regrowth.

Poems in English, Malayalam, Chinese, French, Afrikaans, Dutch, American Sign Language (ASL), Navajo, Spanish and Welsh.

Touch nose to earth, to hear the inside of the forest
quickly morphed into
Sometimes I lie down
Rest my cheek on the damp ground
And listen to the earth’s heartbeat

Sabina England who was not English but a Deaf Bihari/South Asian American performed some of the poem in ASL while it was spoken in indigenous American Navajo, with English subtitles. A beautiful riot of communication.

A mist of burnish green fills my eyes

The frog survived right up until the poem was Google translated a hundred times. As you can imagine this was a seismic word shift. Google didn’t know what to make of it but it gave it a shot.

Sometimes I lie

It came back to Swindon once more via Spanish poet Cristina Newton (in the video above, captioned version to follow) who worked up a five page chaotic epic which scared her collaborator, Eduardo Yague. He decided confusion was the mother of invention and the result was a disturbing piece, his mouth in close-up, reminiscent of a line from the original Frog on Water: …like grinding teeth of children / up-starting with night terrors…

Accept your ignorance

The final line, which began life with a loss of frog on water, metamorphosed and redacted into you look juicy as an Armageddon dream.

Wild Whispers is a collaborative film poetry project, edited by Chaucer Cameron of Elephant’s Footprint, and was premiered at Poetry Swindon Festival, 5 October 2018.

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