Why I write Poetry

Writing is an art form and all art is a means of self expression. I weave words not yarn; mix metaphors not paint; rhythm words not chords. Words are my brushes and paper is my canvas. Poetry is the screen shot, screen grab of the writing world, fitting as much as possible in a succinct concise form. It is the literary equivalent of a selfie, a tweet – the Instagram of writing. Poems are this poets answers to the “Why”, attempting to satisfy my urge for closure, even if it is not forthcoming (which often it is not). Everyone is has to figure out there own “Why”, even this poet.

But Why ??

Writing poetry is able to put us in touch with people who are different from ourselves in a non-violent fashion, it becomes a means of pacifist activism. Writing has become who I am, it is both cathartic, healing, confrontational and a means of seeking (partial) closure or venting my darker emotions. My poems are a mix of thoughts, questions and ideas; from journey’s travelled, literal and imaginative; creating a picture of the world from my perspective. Even if, in the writing, there is no closure, that is the closure I require, at that moment.

“Poets have an audience because we need to know how to go about reaching the next day of our lives.”

It has been said, to use a bad metaphor: Poets are kind of like canaries in a coal mine. The conscience/voice of the voiceless. Often my poems, emerge from the pain of personal experience, leading to angry outbursts against the coal mine, in which I from time to time, find myself.

The Arrogance of Entitlement

The Banality of Corporate Deceit

Speaking for myself, but I’m reasonably sure other poets would at times agree. We can’t explain ‘why we write’, but they would certainly understand and agree, that we write for the love of writing poetry. Poems are literary mountains that need to be climbed, in a page or a few lines;  the poem has to be condensed, without straying from the main theme, and it also usually has a beginning, middle and (sometimes) an end. It is this journey which is the challenge, in most cases a deeply personal journey; so walk with me as we step back from your reality and gaze into the abyss of my mind, and let’s see what stares back.

In closing, ponder the words of John Keating from the film: Dead Poets Society.

We don't read and write poetry because it's cute.
We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.
And the human race is filled with passion.
And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life.
But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
To quote from Whitman:
"O me! O life!...of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless
of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?"
Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play (goes on) and you may contribute a verse.
What will your verse be?

John Keating, Dead Poets Society.

A poet writes poetry because they love poetry

© 2016 Michael D Emmerich

A Day (Life) of Remembrance

“Nonintervention does not mean that nothing happens.

It means that something else happens.”
Christopher Hitchens

On this day when we remember the fallen, lets gave pause for thought, to the boys forced to become men, to become killers. In silent contemplation, I at times shout out to my silence; why do we discard our best and brightest to senseless conflicts. The hopes and disappointments of generations of young (mostly) men/boys are always dashed at the altar of political expedience and greed. Young men fighting old men’s wars. The First World War poets have always stuck a deep chord on my soul and I reread the poems and contemplate deeply on the what, why, how and the loss. The poetry of Owen, Rosenberg, Blunden, Gurney and Sassoon are those that I turn to when I need to pause and think, why is this world so fucked up?

Consequently, I have put my pen to writing about war, and the effect it has had on me; as who served, and on our youth and the broader society. Here are some of the poems I have written with a precise of what inspired/motivated me to to put pen to paper. Not in the same league as Owen and Sassoon, but hopefully it will cause you dear reader, to pause, and reflect as to where we are going in this crazy world.

The Forgotten Soldier

Upon reflecting on my time in the military/war as an Ops Medic, my mind flitted around the war, in which I was involved, and its unpopularity (in my opinion) and the baggage that one carries after the fact. The PTSD that soldiers carry with them for life, but that society has long forgotten, especially if the war was unpopular. Sting said: “History will teach us nothing” in some respects he is true.

Fuck War

The passing of Muhammad Ali gave me pause for reflection on the issues of war, forcible conscription and all that goes with it, he went to prison rather than be drafted to serve in Vietnam. I then reflected back on my time when I was forcibly conscripted in 1981 and my battle with the process of all that is war.

My Enemy is My Friend

This arose from a dream I had, which then made me think back to a Wilfred Owen poem I read, “Strange Meeting”. Upon further reflection I cast my mind back to when I was an Ops Medic in the bush war in 1981/82 and the time I spent treating patients at the main POW camp in the now Namibia. My thought process then meandered through a montage of past present and future. It was a difficult poem to write but the words just spilled out once I began.

White Feathers

Penned this on the International day of Peace in Sept this year.                                                 To quote John Lennon: Give Peace a chance.

…. and a few others:

Mist of War

Peace in our Time

The 1% War

© 2018 michael d emmerich

© 2018 mikesnexus.com


Every Breath (Rise Up – Part 2)

every breath is a doorway

to heaven or hell

so just breath

and see what awaits

as you pause to exhale

by not breathing

we are forced to choose

heaven or hell

but let not fear inspire

either mortality or immortality

let Virgil be your guide

through the mythical dark wood

of spiritual values

that at times

pervert human intellect

the pilgrims journey

demands questions be answered

within the dark forest

on a crooked path

the meaningful can become meaningless

as we journey on a quest

into the soul of god


© 2016 Michael D Emmerich

Rise Up (Part 1)

when you down who lifts you up

when you lost who finds you

when you fall, it is from grace

if so, whose grace

who is lost with you

who binds the wounds

who do you discover when you are down

yourself or another

what waits over the horizon

what lies beneath the wounds

what lifts you up

come on rise up

we rise by lifting others up

we discover ourselves when lost

we need not be alone

come on stand together

every breath is a doorway

to heaven or hell

so just breath

and rise up

© 2016 Michael D Emmerich