p0etryb1ts

Archive of my 2019-2020 Instagram project @p0etryb1ts, in which I combined lines of poetry with screenshots from old videogames (in chronological order from earliest to most recent).

Emerald Hill Zone from Sonic 2; two tree trunks and a pink flower set against a cloud reflected in clear blue water. On the horizon in a pale blue sans serif font, W.S. Graham's lines 'Gently disintegrate me / Said nothing at all.'
Text: W.S. Graham, ‘Enter a Cloud’
Game: Sonic 2, Sega Mega Drive

An interior shot from Chrono Trigger, of a cauldron stove and a small larder to the right, stocked with plates and apples. Superimposed upon the shelves are Aram Saroyan's lines 'Insist / on / certain / things.'
Text: Aram Saroyan, untitled
Game: Chrono Trigger, SNES

Monochrome shot of three Koopa Troopas in Super Mario World, marching towards the edge of a platform. At the top of the image in a fixed-width typeface is Hamish Henderson's line 'this nicht the glamourie o the wuids is daith'.
Text: Hamish Henderson, ‘La Merche’
Game: Super Mario World, SNES

Ecco the Dolphin just below the surface of a calm ocean, with a small, possibly volcanic island framed in the background. Below Ecco is Keats's line in small pink serif text: 'ye soft pipes, play on'.
Text: John Keats, ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’
Game: Ecco the Dolphin, Sega Mega Drive

The game over screen from Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, showing Link lying face down on a black background. Directly below, in small all caps sans serif text, is Shelley's invocation to 'WEEP FOR ADONAIS'.
Text: P.B. Shelley, ‘Adonais’
Game: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, SNES

A shot from Shining Force showing a stony path on the left and a dense forest on the right; emblazoned on the left is the phrase 'NOR STONE', and on the right 'NOR EARTH', in reference to the first line of Shakespeare's 65th sonnet.
Text: Shakespeare, Sonnet 65
Game: Shining Force, Sega Mega Drive

The white fluffy cloud from Super Mario Bros. in the centre of a clear blue sky. Inside the cloud, in reference to Wordworth's poem, is a single word: 'lonely'.
Text: William Wordsworth, ‘I wander’d lonely as a cloud’
Game: Super Mario Bros., NES

A resting Sonic the Hedgehog sprite set against a black background. Above, in a font similar to that used in the early Sonic games, are Keats's lines 'O what can ail thee knight-at-arms / Alone and palely loitering / The sedge had withered from the lake'.
Text: John Keats, ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’
Game: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega Mega Drive
(First Panel)

The level title card from Sonic the Hedgehog on the backdrop from Star Light Zone from the same game, showing a star-filled night sky over some indistinct city blocks. The text on the title card is from Keats: 'AND NO BIRDS SING'.
Text: John Keats, ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’
Game: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega Mega Drive
(Second Panel)

The cherries powerup from Pac-Man set against a black background. At the foot of the image, in all caps text with a bold red shadow effect, is Gertrude Stein's timeless line 'A ROSE IS A ROSE IS A ROSE'.
Text: Gertrude Stein, ‘Sacred Emily’
Game: Pac-Man, arcade

A shot from Columns showing a Greek warrior with a spear in one hand and an urn of some kind in the other; a woman stands behind him and another hand emerges from the left, holding the same urn. The line 'yet give us, they still cry,' from H.D., follows the line of the spear; the following line, 'give us books', extends from the base of the first line in an acute angle.
Text: H.D., ‘The Walls Do Not Fall’
Game: Columns, Sega Mega Drive

Skyline from Scrap Brain Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog, showing a dystopian factory landscape in shades of red and brown. In the centre of the image, in a fixed-width typeface, is the T.S. Eliot line 'HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME'.
Text: T.S. Eliot, ‘The Waste Land’
Game: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega Mega Drive

The word 'ARCDADIA' in blue on an off white-background, in a typeface mimicking the SEGA logo of the 1990s.
ARCAAAAAY-DIAAAAAH!

Axel in a city street of the first stage of Streets of Rage, having just smashed open a rubbish bin with his fist and revealing a health-giving apple inside. At the foot of the image, in a white serif font, is Milton's line 'Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit'.
Text: John Milton, ‘Paradise Lost’
Game: Streets of Rage, Sega Mega Drive

A haunting forest scene from Mickey Mouse and the Castle of Illusion. At the base of the image is W.S. Graham's line 'I have set you here and it is not a dream'.
Text: W.S. Graham, ‘Imagine a Forest’
Game: Mickey Mouse and the Castle of Illusion, Sega Mega Drive

One of the elephants from Dhalsim's level in Street Fighter 2, framed against an off-white background. Below, in a black serif font, are Yeats's lines 'Those that I fight I do not hate / Those that I guard I do not love'.
Text: W.B. Yeats, ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death’
Game: Street Fighter 2 Turbo, SNES

A calm seascape with large white cloud on the horizon, from Ecco the Dolphin. On the horizon, in a white fixed-width typeface, is Edwin Morgan's line 'a far cool beautiful thing, vanishing'.
Text: Edwin Morgan, ‘nine one-word poems’
Game: Ecco the Dolphin, Sega Mega Drive

A shot from Columns showing two Greek women (possibly goddesses of some kind) playing a vaguely metaphysical-looking game of marbles. Below in H.D.'s line, 'Your walls do not fall, he said.'
Text: H.D., ‘Tribute to the Angels’
Game: Columns, Sega Mega Drive

A seascape from the early moments of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, with the wake of Sonic's jet-skiing visible in the bottom-right quarter of the image. Spaced evenly along the central x-axis as the words 'blue / tremulous / afar', from Nan Shepherd's poem.
Text: Nan Shepherd, ‘The Hill’
Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sega Mega Drive

An image from Sonic 3 comprised entirely of flames. On top, in stylised black sans serif, is Shelley's line 'Ah me! Alas, pain, pain ever, for ever!'
Text: P.B. Shelley, ‘Prometheus Unbound’
Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sega Mega Drive

A cavernous scene from Ecco the Dolphin, showing (successively) a shell, coral, and a 'glyph'. Spaced throughout the image is the text from Valéry: 'a crystal, a flower, or a shell, stands out from the usual disorder that characterises most perceptible things.'
Text: Paul Valéry, quoted in Gaston Bachelard, ‘The Poetics of Space’
Game: Ecco the Dolphin, Sega Mega Drive

A scene of a fruit tree from Marble Garden Zone in Sonic 3, positioned next to a pure white circle. Above, in a warm blue sky, is Pessoa's line 'to eat a fruit is to know its meaning'.
Text: Fernando Pessoa/Alberto Caeiro, ‘The Keeper of Sheep IX’
Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sega Mega Drive

A frozen scene from Ice Cap Zone in Sonic 3, showing a dark sea spotted with icebergs, and a large ice cube in the foreground. Surrounding the ice cube is a rendition of Gomringer's concrete poem 'silence'.
Text: Eugen Gomringer, ‘silence’
Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sega Mega Drive

A shot from James Pond II: Robocod: three objects - globe, apple, hammer - on a red-brick rooftop in front of a starry night sky. Above the objects is Fuck This's line 'a little bit of bread and no cheese'.
Text: Fuck This (Nicky Melville), ‘Operation Yellowhammer’
Game: James Pond II: Robocod, Sega Mega Drive

Scene of an orange and five cheerios arranged on a kitchen table, from Micro Machines. At the foot of the image the text reads 'for the temples of the greeks our homesickness lasts forever'.
Text: Ian Hamilton Finlay, ‘For the Temples of the Greeks Our Homesickness Lasts Forever’ (quoting Herman Hesse)
Game: Micro Machines, Sega Mega Drive

A vapourwave sunset over a deep blue ocean from Ecco the Dolphin 2: The Tides of Time. On the horizon is Pessoa's line 'you can be happy in Australia / so long as you don't go there'.
Text: Fernando Pessoa/Álvaro de Campos, ‘Oxfordshire’
Game: Ecco the Dolphin 2: The Tides of Time, Sega Mega Drive

Ecco the dolphin, from the second game in the series, performing a backflip in front of the shore of a tropical island. In an arch around the somersaulting Ecco, Marianne Moore's famous phrase 'IMAGINARY GARDENS'.
Text: Marianne Moore, ‘Poetry’
Game: Ecco the Dolphin 2: The Tides of Time, Sega Mega Drive

Dolphins, fish and molluscs ascending through the sky, in the iconic scene from Ecco the Dolphin. Among the transcendent beings are the words 'so / much / depends / upon', from William Carlos Williams.
Text: William Carlos Williams, ‘The Red Wheel Barrow’
Game: Ecco the Dolphin, Sega Mega Drive

An ominous-looking mountain pass under a stormy sky, from Chrono Trigger. Along the bridge which spans the mountains is Shelley's text 'the everlasting universe of things / flows through the mind'.
Text: P.B. Shelley, ‘Mont Blanc’
Game: Chrono Trigger, SNES

A shot of a desert scene at sunset or sunrise, surrounded by a dark yellow border. In the same colour, in the centre of the image, Akhmatova's text 'I AM LIVING FOR THE LAST TIME'.
Text: Anna Akhmatova, ‘The Seventh Book’
Game: Phantasy Star IV, Sega Mega Drive
(First Panel)

A shot of an earth-like planet from space, surrounded by a deep blue border. In the same colour, in the centre of the image, Akhmatova's text 'I AM LIVING FOR THE LAST TIME'.
Text: Anna Akhmatova, ‘The Seventh Book’
Game: Phantasy Star IV, Sega Mega Drive
(Second Panel)

The night-time cityscape from the Streets of Rage intro sequence. In the classic Streets of Rage typeface, Coleridge's text appears: ''Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs And vexes meditation with its strange And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood, This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood, With all the numberless goings-on of life, Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not; Only that film, which fluttered on the grate, Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing. Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature Gives it dim sympathies with me who live, Making it a companionable form, Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit By its own moods interprets, every where Echo or mirror seeking of itself, And makes a toy of Thought.'
Text: Samuel T. Coleridge, ‘Frost at Midnight’
Game: Streets of Rage, Sega Mega Drive

A scene from Stardew Valley showing a fenced field of newly-growing crops on a rainy spring day. Inside the field is a sign reading 'KAIL YARD'.
Text: Ian Hamilton Finlay, ‘Kailyard’
Game: Stardew Valley, PC

Sonic the Hedgehog snowboarding down a steep snowy mountainside, in the opening scene from Ice Cap Zone Act 1. In the blue sky above is Bachelard's text: 'In *Les paradis artificiels* (p. 280) he speaks of Thomas de Quincey's joy when, a prisoner of winter, he read Kant, with help of the idealism furnished by opium.'
Text: Gaston Bachelard, ‘The Poetics of Space’
Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sega Mega Drive

From Chrono Trigger, the altar of some kind of cathedral; light spills in from three windows, the centre of which features a stained-glass angel design. In a similar colour to the spilling light, cascading towards the altar, is Baudelaire's text: 'you feel yourself / vanishing / into thin air / and you attribute / to your pipe / the strange ability / to smoke you'.
Text: Charles Baudelaire, ‘The Poem of Hashish’
Game: Chrono Trigger, SNES

Green Hill Zone from the closing sequence of Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic looks towards the camera surrounded by squirrels, birds and penguins. Above, Coleridge's text reads 'A delight / Came sudden on my heart, and I am glad / As I myself were there!'
Text: Samuel T. Coleridge, ‘This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison’
Game: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega Mega Drive

A light-blue sky populated with a few small fluffy clouds, from the Harvest Moon intro. Emblazoned diagonally across the image, from the bottom-left to the top-right, Aram Saroyan's poem 'MORNI,NG'.
Text: Aram Saroyan, ‘morni,ng’
Game: Harvest Moon, SNES

An idyllic waterfall scene from Earthbound. Along with the water tumbles Dickinson's words: 'Soft / fall / the / sounds / of / Eden / upon / her / puzzled / ear;'
Text: Emily Dickinson, 148
Game: Earthbound, SNES

An empty, almost liminal-appearing room, with wooden floor and a single window looking out to the sky and some indistinct greenery. On all sides but the right the image has a thick black border; in the top and bottom portions of this border is Marlowe's famous phrase 'INFINITE RICHES'.
Text: Christopher Marlowe, ‘The Jew of Malta’
Game: Earthbound, SNES

A discoloured still from Labyrinth Zone, Sonic the Hedgehog; Sonic is underwater looking up as an air bubble rises unreachably towards the surface, poised to pop. On the right, in a small fixed-width typeface, is Glück's line 'We look at the world once, in childhood. The rest is memory.'
Text: Louise Glück, ‘Nostos’
Game: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega Mega Drive

A harbour featuring a number of identical small fishing vessels, from Earthbound. Among the boats can be read Pessoa's words: 'I who love modern civilisation and kiss machines with all my soul would love to see once again only wooden ships and sailing vessels.'
Text: Fernando Pessoa/Álvaro de Campos, ‘Maritime Ode’
Game: Earthbound, SNES

From Earthbound, a single boat sailing on a clear blue sea. A facsimile of Ian Hamilton Finlay's concrete poem is superimposed on the image. It's first and last two lines repeat, respectively, 'redboat' and bedboat'. In between the spaced-out text 'do / say / dream / fish / do / say / touch / sleep / catch / do / fish' can be read.
Text: Ian Hamilton Finlay, untitled (facsimile)
Game: Earthbound, SNES


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