Monthly Archives: October 2014

Slaughter Circle

300 year old Oak Trees at Oak Alley Plantation Louisianna









The scent of death
lingers for years
in a place

lodges in the soil
and slowly compresses

composting down
deep down
in dirt

the earth turns
and the seasons pass
time and space and silence

until the coiling roots
draw back again
and all that grows

from baby’s tears
to blood red poppies
oaks and elms

bear testimony
to the forgotten
© M.L.Emmett

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Filed under Death, Poem, War

Drilling for Eloquence








I want to drill for eloquence
that oil that seeps
easily out of her lips
every time she speaks

I want to pump it
in pristine, perfect pipes
around Australia

So even in the bush,
people can sound
like 18th or 19th Century,
top of the League Table,
English poets.

We’ll seem polite and genteel
educated, even erudite.
We’ll hold moments
remembered in tranquility.

We’ll think of Grecian urns,
Kubla Khan in Xanadu
as an every day affair

Conversations will naturally turn
to La Belle Dame Sans Merci
Or Mort d’Arthur

Syrup, sweet word music
will fall softer than petals
blown from roses on the grass

Passions will be expressed
without exposing flesh.

© M.L.Emmett

SA Writers’ Centre: Humorous Poetry Competition, 2010
Winner as judged by Jude Aquilina

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Filed under Australian Poetry, Humour, Language, Poem


Half a century and more
living as a woman
in the Western democratic world

I wear no burkah
no hijab
yet, I am invisible

unless I choose
the age illusions –

chemical poisons to dye my hair
botoxin bubbles under my skin
collagen to puff my lips
implanted silicone

or starvation,
to look ‘years younger’
thin and wrinkle free –

to hold some
objective existence
in this man’s world.

© M.L.Emmett

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Filed under Feminism, Poem, Political

The Alchemy of Loss

The jet black coal-smeared dawn
of days afterwards
of starless nights
and moonlesss nights
of deep dark darkness
thick and sticky
pitch and oil
dirty days of charred wood
and ash.

That scouring whiteness
that etching acid purity
of white heat metal days
The crisp starched sun-scented
wind sail sheet
smoothed flat peace flag days.
That white marble slab cool
blanched forensic world
of questions and answers.

The sunset rusty reddening
pain deadening
leeching of the scarlet wash
crimson and vermilion
ruby berries and rose blush
blood tear letting
letting go.

No lead for gold – no alchemy here
No runes or trickery – no book of spells
No steady path of transformation
Just the heavy hollowed wreath
that black, white and red tricolour
of grief.

© M.L.Emmett

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Filed under Death, Grief, Poem, Uncategorized

Mad Man Walking

He walks lopsided
shaking his head
he has a swarm of bees
inside his head.

He paces wide strides, up
and down the median strip
going on a journey
but turning back.

His feet retrace
crushed grass outlines
he’s a caged animal
staring at the bars.

He mutters
and shouts
at his voices
negotiating peace.

The argument gets louder
voices more insistent
he holds his head steady
in his hands ready
to stop dead.

He screams shrill bursts,
knots of pain
their grip on him.

He stands statue still,
catatonic still,
locked in a gesture
face frozen.
He stays
that way
’til the winds stirs.

Who the hell you calling crazy?...







© M.L.Emmett

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Filed under Madness, Poem

Last Breath

Death is a terrorist
planting devices
inside minds
ready to detonate
and explode
the calm facade
of pleasure and pretence
that life goes on
beyond being

but it ends
slowly or suddenly
with one last breath.


© M.L.Emmett

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Filed under Feminism, Peace, Poem

Flying with Fury

We drive back slowly
along roads widening
with emptiness.

House appears
tall windows gaping
black eyes.

Gravel sprays
machine gun patter
as we arc and stop

Door opens
for breath

Another solemn black
stick person
pity-pored and forgiving

I could slap her face
kick her shins
punch squarely her solar plexus

flying with fury
soaring like a street fighter
in Hong Kong.

She would smile weakly
that sickening look locked in her eyes
and say inanely “I’m so sorry for your loss, Dear.”

First published in Blue Giraffe, October 2006
© M.L.Emmett


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Filed under Death, Grief, Poem

In the Bluebell Wood

26th April 2007 , my father’s 77th birthday
between 0100hrs & 0945hrs, my brother died.

So you were backed into a corner
the one where honour meets death
and by the light of a crescent moon
you gently eased the black hose
between exhaust pipe
and passenger windows
air gaps stuffed
with a Christmas scarf
of creamy cashmere wool
sealing your coffin of a car

Seat back flat you lay
watching the drifting clouds
of your last Spring night
you heard the haunting calls
from Rotherfield woods
saw the blink of the bat’s wing
on the edge of sight
heard the hoot of white faced owl
jarring the quiet night
and the gentle rumble
of the old Renault’s engine

That single molecule of Oxygen
locked you away
from fresh life breath
the steady pulse of the motor
rocking you asleep.

Bluebell dancing morning
sweet scented and warm
two ladies out riding
find you alone and hiding
from the day.

Bluebells in Greys Court 2





© M.L.Emmett

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Filed under Death, Grief, Poem

Dead Hand Playing

Each time I turn on my computer
Password – Accept
Open windows – click
Programs – click – to
Accessories – click – to
Games – click –

I find my dead brother
in the Microsoft Network
waiting to play a game
of cards called

© M.L.Emmett

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Filed under Death, Grief, Humour, Poem

Dark Days Don’t Need Verbs

Dark days don’t need verbs
no doing, thinking action days
no being beyond the room, the bed
the dead edge of damage.

Imperative exclaimed!
no jump to attention response
no buck up buddy or pulling
yourself together.

Not on the dark days,
hugga mugga, meddlesome days
shilly shally days of drugs and drag
doing nothing in silent spaces.

Nouns are the flash-cards of memory
Adjectives hint at the mood
and trajectory of feelings
describing the possibilities and limits.

But the subject and the object
have no relationship.
not on dark days.
No, dark days don’t need verbs.

Dark Green stormy tree on horizon image Davena








© M.L.Emmett

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Filed under Poem