IDDU – God of Fire


Artwork by Saoirse Cruise

Iddu (Him) is the nickname given by the locals to the volcano in the island of Stromboli, Italy. Its living presence inspires awe and has such a powerful effect on the imagination that regularly, every time we run a visual art course in Stromboli, many participants feel the urge to write poems about it. It is a special occurrence demonstrated by the fact that poetry-writing doesn’t happen in the other locations where we run courses.

To spend some time on the slope of a live volcano is indeed an experience you don’t easily forget so I wasn’t surprised when a few days ago in reading the book Alchemy by C. G. Jung’s long-time friend and co-worker Marie-Louise von Franz, I came across this passage:

“An experience of the Divine is often of an overwhelming power, but to which one has to adapt, as one has to adapt to a manifestation in nature such as the eruption of a volcano. That is a beautiful sight, but one must not get too near, and it is impossible to relate to it. You can look at it, but it is something which you never forget. Emotionally it does something to one, but it would need a poet to describe it.”


Red, blue, brown,

Fermented orange green


Dead prickly pears underfoot

Ripe prickly pears drooping pregnant from overhead

Unfamiliar sulphur tang hanging in the air

Rumbles deep underground

Fire from the core of the earth

Iddu sighs smoke

tossing stones downhill

Opening crevices

cracking rocks



Acceptance rolls over me with the all

consuming heat

Slanted light reflecting on whitewashed walls

knife cutting sharp striking


on rounded pillars

folding into the sky

Houses square

white stepping stones


towards the sea

Four swift footsteps

I am a giant

An expanse of pure blue sky and water


A chain of Pyramids shimmering in the distance

Wings spread gliding towards the light

I am a bird

Peace has just descended upon me

By Denise O’Brien



Artwork by Denise O’Brien


Last night I dreamt I had accepted death. “There is nothing we can do about our fate”, She said, in a calming hushed voice.

I’m sitting by the beast, on the beast!

Iddu can swallow me whole and smother me in fiery breath.

Burning my skin like the scarred landscape on it’s belly.

Yet I’m not afraid, I stand strong and brave.

As I sit by the prickly pears, I share their trust in him.

Like and old friend, he nurtures us both.

By Saoirse Cruise



Artwork by John Kavanagh


To Journey

Inward, a meditation on the senses

A physical world – living- ripening-decaying

As I open

into feeling

the sensual joy of flowing

into art

Il dolce fare niente

To feel the heat, releasing pressure –

plumes rise in me

Diving deep into the crystal splash of the flowing current

As I flow

into feeling

of salt-water turquoise, white and green

Fall darkness now obscured shadows from floor

to sky

The rich blacks of a nightscape veiled sweet in

latte-foamed starlight

Pitch darkness of my mountain, stands.

Mapping my landscape with armies of cactus forms

Wild protection shapes my rugged home

Recovering from a twilight winter running

Headfilled and abstract

Another world now – distant in shade

A life of colour – seeing through the senses

Even the eye wants its part*

Speaking in forgotten bursts of reds, golds and blues

Trusting old words of song-filled flavour

Urgently thrust into sound, sight, texture and taste

Once forgotten – now refelt

Im an upcycled soul of reformed joy

Today my fire embers – buzzing into droning chorus

Of rockfall clatters and threats of power

My ceaseless dance of shadow and light

My volcano – a dangerous comfort

A fertile soil for my island


into feeling

I stand in stoic contemplation in a sea of turbulent change

* anche l’occhio vuole la sua parte – italian saying; great food is also a visual sensation

By John Kavanagh