Inspiration Comes Knocking

It came knocking and I opened the door and welcomed it with open arms. Inspiration brought friends, as I have been diving into the classics of late; Milton, Shelley, Poe, Goethe and then the music of Carl Orff and the more recent music of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and The Alan Parsons Project. From this mish-mash, has come a torrent of thoughts, ideas, annotations and my ideas Journal is looking very busy and messy these past few days … 🙂

I am putting the finishing touches to a few poems and I am for the first time in awhile excited about this new work that I am putting out, it is (IMO) quite a different style of writing …

So watch this space … it might be a busy few days/weeks that lie ahead, plus I have a few pressing editorial deadlines :O

Thoughts on Blake’s “Marriage of Heaven & Hell”

“evil is the active springing from energy”

William Blake (28 Nov 1757 – 12 Aug 1827) English poet, painter, and printmaker

For those who have not dived into the 27 pages of William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, a composition of brief texts and accompanying engravings (done by Blake himself). I would highly recommend that you embark on this very interesting journey as Blake takes the reader on a guided tour of Hell, in which he sets out to correct some of our incorrect notions. Blake was considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic and at times iconoclastic views on religion and politics, in as much he drew inspiration from the French and American revolutions. A more recent (and very short) study, William Blake: Visionary Anarchist by Peter Marshall (1988), classified Blake and his contemporary William Godwin as forerunners of modern anarchism. In later years after his death he was/is held in high regard for his expressiveness and creativity.

Heaven is good, and Hell is bad. We have had this trite observation told to us since we were old enough to comprehend “right and wrong” – or were told we had an angel on our one shoulder and the devil on the other, each trying to pull us towards right and wrong, good and evil. We have, and still are exposed to countless stories, books, movies and fables equating Heaven with all that is good and Hell with all that is evil. Which one are we always supposed to listen to?

 ‘Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence.’

Life isn’t such cut and dried, neatly separated into such clear polarities. Does it actually make sense to see everything in terms of clear distinct opposites: good and bad, right and wrong, true and false? “What if life is more like a giant pulsing mass of energy, which not only includes but actually needs the darker impulses we normally try to avoid?”

Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.

Each person reflects the contrary (opposite) nature of God, and that progression in life is impossible without contraries, almost as if in the extremes one finds balance. The push and pull of good and evil, this dynamic relationship is what makes us complete. We need them both to exist. Furthermore Blake explores the opposing nature of reason and of energy, believing that two types of people existed: the “energetic creators” and the “rational organizers”, or, as he calls them in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the “devils” and “angels”. It is this vision of the dynamic relationship between a stable “Heaven” and an energized (chaotic) “Hell” that has fascinated readers of this polemic (poem) since it was composed between 1790 and 1793.

In the most famous part of the book, Blake reveals the Proverbs of Hell. These display a very different kind of wisdom from the Book of Proverbs found in the Bible. Biblical. The diabolical proverbs are provocative and paradoxical. Several of Blake’s proverbs have become famous:

“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”

“The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.”

 

These are the questions Blake grapples with in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, as he feels that both good and bad are necessary, interwoven parts of (our) existence. If we shut ourselves off from the bad, we’re also denying ourselves the good.

The book ends with the Song of Liberty, a prose poem where Blake uses apocalyptic imagery to incite his readers to embrace change.

Let the Priests of the Raven of Dawn, no longer in deadly black, with hoarse note curse the Sons of Joy. Nor his accepted brethren whom, tyrant, he calls free, lay the bound or build the roof. Nor pale religious lechery call that virginity that wishes, but acts not !

For everything that lives is holy

Closing Notes:

 

220px-Nebuchadnezzar_in_MoHaH

Plate from Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Too Much Blood for Words

(Bleeding Words Part 2)

Additional thoughts on this poem I wrote on 27 Feb, 2018 – Bleeding Words – my journal is littered with half finished poems and new ideas/concepts/memories; keep falling onto the pages. Just battling to put many of the ideas to bed, as finished poems, the final close out of many of the poems just escapes me at present ….

 

red stained pages

drenched, dripping

cannot see the words for blood

draining from my pen

onto the floor

pooling

coagulating

words escaping

frozen and timeless

in blood

© 2018 michael d emmerich

goodreads Review

I don’t often post reviews of books that I read, but I have to post this link to my goodreads site, as this book will be placed alongside a few other books that will never leave my desk.

I am still flicking through the pages to read sections I have flagged … I find it such an inspiring read … cannot recommend it enough.

I need to state my conflict of interest upfront – I am a HUGE Springsteen fan 🙂

Michael’s Review – Born to Run

I have been forced to place the iconic album image from the Born in the USA album … by you know who …. 😉

bruce shrugs

 

A Dystopian Landscape

A series of pictures I took last week, whilst out on my mountain bike in The DRC (Africa), reminded me of a barren wind swept post apocalypse, dystopian landscape. The pictures are of a mine waste dump, so the soil is lifeless, the water is questionable at best, and the wind whips up the waste product into dust clouds that hang in the air, and distort the horizon.

These images have nudged my mind to craft a short story – what do they do for you? what emotions do they evoke?

2017-09-24 09.08.49.jpg

What are your favourite Dystopian Novels?

Here are a few of mine: (in no particular order – and I know I have left out so many more)

  • 1984 (1949)George Orwell
  • Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (1968)Philip K. Dick
  • Brave New World (1932)Aldous Huxley
  • Farenheit 451 (1953)Ray Bradbury
  • Logan’s Run (1967)William F. Nolan & George Clayton Johnson
  • Neuromancer (1984)William Gibson
  • The Running Man (1982)Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
  • The Drowned World (1962)J.G. Ballard
  • The Road (2006)Cormac McCarthy
  • The Postman (1985) – David Brin
  • The White Plague (1982) – Frank Herbert
  • The Children of Men (1992) – P. D. James
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960) – Walter M. Miller Jr.

Feel free to add to this list 🙂 – hopefully you will mention some that I have not yet encountered.

The Versatile Blogger Award – Nominations

I had the honour of being nominated by MrAnonymous, for the above award. More about him and his unique blog in his own words:

Stop by, and we hope you’ll become apart of the Project: Heard family. You are the voice, we are the platform. 

TheMrAnonymous

Rules of the Versatile Blogger Award:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and share their link.

2. Nominate at least 10 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs. Also, inform them about the nomination.

 3. Reveal 7 facts about yourself that your readers may not know.

Seven Facts About Me

  • I love my cats
  • Travel way to much and spend to much time away from home
  • Enjoy the outdoors – Running and MTB
  • Live on the most exciting continent – Africa
  • Addicted to EMS ♥♥
  • Chocoholic 🙂 … say no more
  • Enjoy Bourbon and Cigars

There we go … some useful (or useless) trivia about me 🙂

My 10 Nominations  – In no particular order – far be it for me to be accused of favouritism 🙂

They are a strange mix of poetry, books, music and writing sites .. a unique eclectic mix, I encourage you to pop in and visit them. They give me many happy hours of distraction.

See you in the blogsphere, next time,
Regards mikesnexus (aka – ME)

Into the Woods

hay little sister

do you understand

no red cape in the woods

will save you



hearts of darkness

bleed on the dark side

all the way

to the golden gate



be warned

scary things lurk in the woods

they said in hushed whispers

as I entered



looking back over my shoulder

with a faint smile

I said

I know....

© 2017 michael d emmerich

 

My Top 10 Reads of 2016

I have had the privilege to plough through many books this past year. Here are my 10 favourite reads of 2016. They range from Poetry anthologies, novels, non-fiction and collected essays . They are in no particular order, and many of them are not new publications … it’s just my 10 favourite books that I have read this past year, some left a profound impression, some I will continue reading in 2017 and beyond, whilst others where just a good rollicking read and the last in the list was just for fun 🙂 . The links are to goodreads.

The most thought provoking books in the list were War and Some Desperate Glory, the most enlightening was A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Painful reads were Resident Alien and Broken Bodies, Shattered Minds. I am still busy reading Map (and will continue with it for some time) so to with TS Elliot’s, Waste Land. There are some companion books that never leave my desk, I keep rereading those, but it would be unfair to add them to the list as they would be on the list every year 🙂

I would love to know what great books you have read this year, please share them, so we can expand our horizons with your reading pleasures. I look forward to sharing many more poems and creative writing articles in 2017 and hoping to have my anthology published in early 2017 … happy reading and writing for 2017. Much love and peace to all of the readers and followers of my journey.

Thoughts on getting lost as a means of finding oneself…

Rebecca Solnit, whose mind and writings are among the most consistently enchanting of our time, explores this tender tango with the unknown in her altogether sublime collection of essays in A Field Guide to Getting Lost 

I thoroughly enjoy her writings, having indulged in a few of her books and essays. And Getting Lost is one of the more personally transformative collection of essays I have had the pleasure of reading. Solnit, explores themes and issues of uncertainty, trust, loss, memory, desire, and our place on this planet.

Solnit writes in the opening essay:

Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go. The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation. Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration — how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?

Henry Miller wrote: “On how one orients himself to the moment, depends the failure or fruitfulness of it.” we are all apart of this transitional process called – Life.

“There is an illusion of ‘end,’ a stasis seemingly like death. But it is only an illusion. Everything, at this crucial point, lies in the attitude which we assume towards the moment.”

Henry Miller

T.S. Eliot’s poem Four Quarters –  expounds on the journey of life and its self discovery, and ultimately learning to know ourselves. we are on a never-ending lifelong journey of exploration – of our self, environment, the world in which we live.Life is a destination, but prehaps we never really travel further than we really are at this present moment, all that changes is our understanding of the now …

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation. Sometimes we have to lose ourselves to find ourselves. Never to get lost is not to live.

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