Tag Archives: death

This was a New War

It has a new scale of reference
vast, vicious and unforgiving
death for millions will be anonymous
machine gun arbitrary and indiscriminate
shelled and shocked, barraged and buried
no whole corpse to recognise as human
no remains to mourn and grieve
just rich blood and bone for Poppies
growing strong in the Flanders’ fields.

Landscape resculpted to barest bone
earth desecrated and destroyed
every old tree and young bush uprooted
tossed like feathers to the blackened sky
debris swirling in the clouds of poison
gas and the putrid stench of burning flesh
in pyres that smoke and stink for days
just fertile ash and dust for Poppies
growing strong in the Flanders’ fields.

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The Other Side of Words

abstract artwork with writing, artwork is created and painted by myself

On the other side of words

beyond adjectives and metaphors

beyond comparisons

and differences

beyond actions and tenses of verbs

and  even beyond the definition of noun-names

there, the dead are asleep

in a wordless ever-night

a never-light, twilight

on the other side of words.


© M.L.Emmett



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Filed under Death, Language, Poem, Poetry Form

Sewing the Moon in the Sky

I have sown the moon in the sky for you
so every night its there for you to see

I have stopped every clock from ticking time away
I have turned the tides back from the shore

I have stopped your world in blue belled Spring
and locked my in the falling leaves of Autumn

So now you can rewind the moments of the world
You can go back, to that one moment of choice

and never find the hose, nor set the engine deadly running
nor send those texts of fond farewells, to friends who looked away

nor write to me with love a comfort letter
for the dreadful loss.

No! Just you:
the tufted, still blonde cowlick sticking up
the crinkled nose and cheeky smile
those sea blue eyes to drown in
strong brown arms, muscles flexed and toned
wrapped tight around me warm
and alive.

© M.L.Emmett

Moon Leaf

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Writing Martin Again

(For Martin, my brother)

I write your name
on window panes

I clap out its five syllables
for the five fingers of my hand

and the five senses
lost and abandoned

I see deep white snow
and signposts buried in the drifts

I hear the jet black engine
running under my sternum

I touch the mirrored stillness
You still, me still here

I smell the red raw emptiness
bloodied, boned and free

I taste the green of bitterness
acid etching ulcers in a stomach wall

I trace the ink of your signature
follow each loop and dot of the ‘i’

that ‘i’ Martin
that has been erased forever.

One of a series of poems about the death of my brother on 26th April 2007

Bluebell Wood

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Remembering You Again

For my brother, Martin

I’m going to sling your memory
over my shoulder
back pack you round the world

slide you on to station platforms
alongside the passing panorama of footsteps
that echo on that slice of cold cement

tuck you into airplane lockers
overhead the sleeping flyers
in that metal coffin in the ice cream clouds

nestle you among bus luggage
beneath the picture windows
and the ribbon racing road

I will unpack you in every village
every town and every city
in every land and nation

on every continent and land mass
crossing the oceans and seas
catching every wave and tide

circling the earth on winds and breezes
following sunsets and solar eclipses
and every cycle of the moon

until I find a place of resting
until I find a place of peace
until I find a place of peace

© M.L.Emmett

Written for my brother, Martin.
Died 26th April 2007 by his own hand in a Bluebell Wood

bluebell sunrise


Filed under Death, Family, Grief, Poem

Monash’s Lost Boys

In Neverland – never to grow old
never to marry that sweetheart
never to have children and grandchildren
nor watch hair thin and grey.

Full of derring-do – more dash than discipline
lanky and loose-limbed they swank and saunter
not like soldiers at all
no doff the cap humility
to the old rules and distant monarchies.

From a newly stolen world
hardly secured or steady with itself
lodged on the edge of a vast continent
clinging to a rim of turquoise blue.

Now cramped
in the pock-holed sores of ancient lands
richly bone-dusted from time to time.

Waiting for the fight to end
to go ‘back home’ ‘over there’
to farms and factories; schools and stations.

Still there – left behind
in the archipelago of cemeteries
as far as Fromelles, Pozieres,
to Bullencourt and Paschendaele
in fields of beetroot and corn,
fields bleeding red with poppies
beside the Menin Road at Ypres
in bluebelled woods of Verdun
in the silt of the Somme
on the plains of Flanders
in the victory graves at Amiens

Monash’s boys – the lost boys
cried for their mothers
begged for water
screamed to die
hung like khaki bundles on the wire.

Commanded by Field Marshalls
who never went to the fields,
who played the numbers game
in a war of bluff and bluster,
who never touched the dirt and slime,
nor waded through the bloody slush
of broken men and boys,
never waist-deep in mud and sinking,
wounded and drowning in that shambles of a war

Wearing dead men’s boots
and shrapnel-holed helmets
tunics and leggings splattered and rotting
with dead men’s blood and brains

Some haunted boys came home
knapsacks full of secret pictures,
old rusty tins crammed with suffering
breast pockets held their grief
wrapped in shroud-shreds.

They brought their duckboard demons
to the world of peace
Gas-choked fretful lungs still brought
the caustic fumes with every breath exhaled
and from every pore the death-sweat of decay.

But most boys were lost boys
lost forever in that no-man’s land
that Neverland of lives unlived.
© M.L.Emmett

Poppies wild Davena

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Lagoon Libraries

Venice was a place for sudden murder
a stiletto plunged in velvet
vengeance tied in a knot of silk
piracy on any dark canal
robbery under quiet bridges.

Water laps the crumbling walls
salt hunger creeps up
seeps between stones
worms its way through cedar
settles in the sagging shelves
where old books bound in leather
edged in gold, embossed with crests
are best left well alone.

In these libraries of the lagoon
chapters and paragraphs
sentences and phrases fragment
nouns lay down with their verbs
creating images from metaphors
startling and sublime, but hidden
kept in these word-chambers
they slide away in time.

Each passing month, each day
restless and uneasy
festering in this state of decay
Venezia is still
the place of death.


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