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Maggie Emmett Jan 2015
Ms. Cho is so, so sorry
for the unintended worry
and the dreadful social uproar
she created
when she rated
her airline’s services as poor.

But any self-respecting South Korean
would understand the shame
when the macadamias came
not in a china dish
for this salty snack delish
was placed calmly on her tray
the cabin crew would say
resplendent in their jackets
“The nuts are served in packets
vacuum-sealed to keep them fresh.”

Hyun-ah proud and haughty
wagged her fingers, called them naughty
and summoned forth the Chief of all the crew
demanding that he tell her if he knew
if the in-flight rules were being followed
or was it in anarchy they wallowed.
He stumbled and he stuttered
swallowed, then muttered
he’d never thought this matter
was the least bit earth shattering.

“Nuts in a bag, are you insane?
You must be taken off this plane”
True to her word the flight turned round.
Until they landed not a sound
was heard within the cabin of that plane.
He was dropped back at JFK
and after some delay
they made their way again heading east.

But arriving eleven minutes late
Ms Cho had definitely sealed her fate
Notwithstanding Daddy’s power
as the airlines CEO
relations turned quite sour
his daughter forced to go
She lost each and every perk
that accompanied her work
her executive pay
all lost – such is the way.

So, finally in sum
Beware of a Cho tantrum
when you see that charming face
remember she’s a nut case
who in shrill and angry voice
made a devastating choice.

Never change an airline schedule
Never let your plane be late
Never waste expensive jet fuel
Or suffer Ms. Cho’s fate
© M.L.Emmett 2015 The nut rage incident, also referred to as nutgate , was an air rage incident that occurred on December 5, 2014, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Korean Air vice president Heather Cho (Cho Hyun-ah), dissatisfied with the way a flight attendant served nuts on the plane, ordered the aircraft to return to the gate before takeoff.
Maggie Emmett Aug 2014
The gondola chains ***** *****
with the rising tide
deep throated voices
echo and bounce
down the mist coiling canals
Raspberry golden dust rays
of a slow sunset
split the spaces
of the room

Are you still awake ?
I am,
but I pretend
I could close my eyes
forever now
and die here
with you.

© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Jul 2014
The jet- black, coal-smeared dawn
of days afterwards
of starless nights
and moon less nights
of deep dark darkness
thick and sticky
pitch and oil
***** 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
where can you find colour in grief? What magic or alchemy is possible? This is a poem about the red,black and white of loss
Maggie Emmett Jun 2016
You were no Eve of Russian literature
like Pushkin’s precious Tatyana.
You were no young, innocent, provincial girl
seduced by cynical Onegin, that bon vivant
corrupted by modern European values.
You were no mysterious Russian soul
brimful of essential purity and self-sacrifice -
with a love of pain and pure disdain of happiness.

Tatyana resisted all temptation, refusing
to take flight, rejecting the man she loved.
She was too good to be true; but you, Anna
what a pickle you got yourself in, choosing ****** sin.
You could share an affair with dashing Vronsky
elope with him and leave behind your husband
abandon your beloved son, Alexei.

But these were not the dreadful choices
sealing your tragic fate, my dear Anna.
It was those ****** feelings you chased
all based on the sin of selfishness.
You fed on romance, passion and desire.
Your hot-hunger was insatiable, a fire
rip-roaring through restraint and all decorum
You sweated and panted wild for ******.

They say you’re a ‘drama queen’; heartless and mean
a woman undone by excess, always longing to undress
nakedly making grand errors of judgement.
By ignoring Tatyana’s fine example, you certainly forgot
there will always be those who tot up the ledger.
Your blood debt was owing, it had to be paid.

You saw the light at the end of the tunnel -
cool down, Anna, let the raw feelings subside
be watchful, wary and ever-ready to step aside
let the moments of  menace and gloom drain –
it might just be an oncoming train is due.

© M.L.Emmett 2016
Writing a series of poems about women in literature. Anna Karenina is the title character from  Tolstoy's great novel.
Maggie Emmett Jul 2014
You're only seventeen -
the light seems to shine
right through you,
peach-furred skin
drawn in upon itself
- and old.

Your moisture-dewed youth
has evaporated.
It’s been emptied
****** clean
dried and drained.

You reach out
with snappable wrists
Your brittle bones
bulge and bow.

Your ribs vibrate
with every breath
air thrills and ripples
the whole chest cavity.

Your hands and feet
Minnie Mouse big
too big
for the fragile framed
tiny dancer.

Your hips have become
pelvic bone butterflies
that arch and flare out
from your sunken abdomen
and strangely hung
with loose folds of skin.

Your eyes like oases
in the desert of you
cartoon-cute big
but sunken deep
into your head
as if drawing away
from the sight of you.

Just a few more Kilos
and you’ll be gone.

© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Feb 2015
Advice from Freuchen , the explorer

When Arctic blizzards blow
in Northern Greenland
and your supplies are low
and dwindling
the best advice is build an igloo
and wait out the storm.

And when you hear the wolves
howling with hunger
and prowling on your igloo roof
it’s best to go outside
and sing - only occasionally
though you will fight to be heard
above the judder of the wind.

Inside the igloo will be problematic
the walls seem to close in
as claustrophobic days proceed
it’s not an illusion
but a fact
each breath freezes moisture in the walls
and breath by breath they thicken
spaces close around your body
breathing yourself in a coffin of ice.

There’s no instrument of death
devised by man to so terrify
as being locked in space and time
each breath reminding you
of that closeness to that final loss
of breath and an icy Arctic death.
© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
~for Philip Larkin~

Soundless dark of wakeful night
panic thrills the heart
and chokes the mind
with dread of dying
of lying dead -
white marble stone dead -
beyond self
to nothingness
and nowhere.

Just energy burst free,
to the godless Universe
body to ashes
and nothing more.

© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Nov 2014
Moonlight swimming
bodies of shadow
wet skin-bright cloth
My Shot poems are modern forms of Haiku
Maggie Emmett Nov 2014
Beneath the sea
giant sand scratchings
saline bathing
My Shot poems are forms of modern Haiku
Maggie Emmett Feb 2016
At harbour’s entrance, a mile or more away
beyond high water, hunkered down
the old Quarantine station
on a flat patch of land
etched from the tangles of coastal heath.

The Barrack buildings besieged
by brooding sky and sea
and choking landscape – bush
thickets clambering the steep isthmus
backdrop of granite tor.

Chaotic angled peaks everywhere
indecisive stony sentinels
offering no certainty in the grey cloud
chiffonade of morning.
Slow, lingering clouds
wandering in confused circles
or passing over, casually
bringing squalls and showers.

Washing the pock-picked stone
to glistening newness of a palette
of fresh browns – tan, taupe, fox-brown
chestnut to black murky sludge
as if recently erupted
from earth’s muddy tender skin.

A cluster of cottages
a settlement of sorts with cannon ports
and flagpole and a fenced graveyard
still telling stories of pathos
pity and waste filling this place
with a strange, pressing silence
an atmospheric numbness felt
in dread and gravity.

© M.L.Emmett
This poem refers to an Australian prison settlement
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
At the Crematorium
white smoke curls
and coils
and drifts
- a wisp
of your hair.

Blood-red rich roses
thrive in bone rich soil
velvety smooth
and secret-scented
- the inside skin
of your wrists.

© M.L.Emmett
A version first published in New Poets 14: Snatching Time
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
In the seventies
we brought back silks and saris
hot with colours
that shocked the nights
Punjabi embroidery
on cheesecloth kaftans
mirror glittered skirts
that were spun with light
Kashmiri shawls
and Afghani dancing dresses
arms full of bracelets
silver and brass
enameled and etched
and singing with ***
rings of Ivory, sapphire and jet
necklaces of jade and threaded apple seeds
rain forest timber bowls
white marble boxes from Agra
with precious inlay stones
our little Taj Mahals
we wandered the globe
like a magical village
of lovers and
and came back
with backpacks of dreaming
and hope.

© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
The barbed wire is wound
and catches tight
around the torso.

Razor wire loops limbs
and worries the skin
to stillness.

There is a hot wire passed
through the skull
and down the spine
pulled tight and taut
and electrified.

Pain only lives
roasted in the core
of reality.

© M.L.Emmett
original unpublished poem13/06/99; revised 16/02/2016
No longer feeling this pain
Maggie Emmett Aug 2014
Aunt Lottie had a slow and careful walk
every step could jar
the delicate balance
of the fragile grand piano
she had swallowed.

It was no ordinary instrument
it was entirely made of crystal
which added to the fears
of its disturbance
or destruction
by the simplest slip or stumble
or missed footing on a step.

It was a slight inconvenience
she had taken in her stride.
Matters concerning the said piano
were only discussed in hushed tones
on Wednesday afternoons
and only with her dearest nephew, Ludwig
who sensitively seemed to understand
the precious nature of imagination
and the tickling discomforts
of digested furniture and such things
as fancy may create.
Maggie Emmett Feb 2016
The relationship between my family
and the ideal was the same
as a black hole to a star.

We burned out at the centre
yet still we shared
the same dark energy.

who could not escape
each other.

We continued to orbit,
even slid by
each other

at regular intervals
avoiding connection
at all cost.

© M.L.Emmett
Originally written 07/02/99; revised 31/08/2014 & final revision 16/02/2016
Maggie Emmett Aug 2014
~ for Angela Scuteri ~

Cancer cells bloom and open
their capsules split apart
and spit the pips
on the red tide.
Maggie Emmett Apr 2016
(On the death of a daughter)

The death I must pronounce upon
For you, parents, the wait was long
Across this land unjustly tried
Your silence only proof you lied.
In pitch darkness, dragged overland
By Dingo jaws and human hand
Guilty and gaoled, she would have read
In her sixth year, were she not dead
Just six weeks, never spoke a word
Now flies the night, free as a bird
Over deserts ochre and red
On Uluru she rests her head
Wakens and plays in sunlight stark
Darts in rock shadows, cool and dark
In Rainbow Spirit surely trust
She lies lightly in sand and dust.

© M.L.Emmett
In the style of Martial in Epigram 5.34
Refers to the death of Azaria Chamberlain near Uluru (once known as Ayres' Rock)
Entry into John Bray Poetry Prize 2012
Maggie Emmett May 2016
~ For Molly ~

There cannot ever be, for me
an emotional peak so high
and beyond all other experience
so much my own, entirely.
A speechless secret, my unsaid words
preserving its wonderful wholeness
the not-telling, keeping it so precious
too precious for me, I fear, to shatter
the silence of its perfection.

The blood bond between us
holds no hidden barriers
in this amniotic floating universe
shock-absorbing all the outer world
nutrient rich, nourishing your growth.
My voice vibrating, rippling
in your sonic breathless bubble.
My body, in all its actions
and motions, marking your time
rolling and turning your shaping.

Your rhythm pressing my organs
punching and kicking, demanding space
Immersed in my body’s womb-core
snuggling safe and deeply nestled
in our sheer and utter intimacy.
I give you all I’ll ever have
my blood, my breath, my everything
beyond all my knowing and imagining
this is a devotion most terrible and sublime.

© M.L.Emmett 2016
Poem for my daughter
Maggie Emmett Feb 2016
Each day the light slips
into the murky shadows
of the bedroom-morning-depression

Cars swish by
in the rush hour of work
and school

routines, timetables and teabreaks
weekday working
full of purpose.

On the edge, outside the frame
margin people wait
silenced and destination free

unmapped, unseen
locked tight
in a circle

their perimeter
only hoping for a break.

© M.L.Emmett
original unpublished poem 1996
revised 16/01/2012
Maggie Emmett Sep 2015
Emily will take her cedar box
of hidden poems
throwing them on a Sou’ Westerly breeze
in a New England Spring —

They will be snatched and fly
daring, dainty flutter byes
across the stretching continent
the Great Plains and New Frontiers —
The Sun — rising in ribbons
Mountains dripping scarlet sunsets
vast Miles of Evening Sparks —
as the Hemispheres come home
to early Night —

they’ll be read by lonely cowboys
drinking whisky, in the sagebrush
Indian braves campfire smoking
Sung in Saloons by husky-voiced dames
can-can dressed and a whole lotta grit
and gumption.

Emily, lightened of her load
unknotted the Skein of Misery —
Universe unstitched —
in this moment of escape
Landscape will listen —
Shadows will hold their breath
until the words are spoken.

Emily’s skipping down the stairs
of that morbid, cold wintered house
with its bare Slants of Light —
rushing out the door
throwing herself on the Open day —

Telling True, but slanted.
Alternative Histories
Maggie Emmett Nov 2014
Fear makes our rational minds corrode
Empty, paralysed and in shock
Our sense of hope starts to erode

Plane-bombed towers stretch and implode
Bone dust smothers a city block
Fear makes our rational minds corrode

Suicide bombs start to explode
None live to stand in courtroom dock
Our sense of hope starts to erode

Buses are blown up in the road
Red heart of a city they mock
Fear makes our rational minds corrode

Another gruesome episode
We’re held in a violent deadlock
Our sense of hope starts to erode

Where is the truth that we are owed?
Death’s time is set on Terror’s clock
Fear makes our rational minds corrode
Our sense of hope starts to erode
Villanelle form. Written first 24th October 2005 & edited several times since.
Maggie Emmett Aug 2014
Young women know all about style -
how to fix the decimal point
between them and their mothers
differentiate themselves
from Special K over 40s wanna bees
mini skirted and high heeled
trying to catch their husband’s eye

Yummy mummies in their 30’s
are separated from the new stock
by firm elastic flattened midriffs
no bulge or wobble
unlined skin taut sometimes
navel peirced or *******
their legs wear the 4” heels again
on winklepicker pointed toes
for a mid century crop
of bunioned feet.

No scraggy necks or waddle
no tea tray arses only
plump peaches
in the bend over show
of skimpy, lacy thongs
of ****** floss

So, **** femme fatale is cool
body object the thing to be
flouncing and  preening
flirting and *******
random hook-ups on the run
in the alleys of time on the net
in the warp of space
Killer !  Whatever !
Wicked ! Yeah feral !
An ironic take on **** feminism and glam-**** kulcha.
Maggie Emmett May 2016
Gendering Woman *******

Beautiful, anatomical part //  Ugly, anatomical part
Natural, pleasurable             //   Burdensome, loathsome
Female Symbolic                //    Femme Symbolic
MALIGNANT                             HEALTHY

fearful, tearful, wretched     //  joyful, hopeful, euphoric,
bereft, wept, grieving          //  embryonic, rapt, relieving
leaving, loss                         //  believing, gain
m a y b e - d e a t h                                            r e - b i r t h
Operating Theatre

SURGEON                                         ANAESTHETIST
cleaning/ cutting/ knife/ scalpel   //   doping/ unconscious/ airway
blood / tissue                                 //   hypotension
loss/ damage                                 //   shock
drains                                             //   sinus rhythm
stitches                                           //   pain deadening
tight binding                                 //   reversal drugs
a l i v e                                                a w a k e

draining, bound & stitched               draining, bound & stitched
    ­                                   ~ UNBOUND
                                       -- UNSTITCHED –

Empty chest                                                    Flat Chest
FREEDOM from Disease                               FREEDOM from Dis-ease

© M.L.Emmett
This was written to explore the different responses to bi-lateral mastectomies, one woman with Cancer; the other trans gendering. It was inspired by reading The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, whose partner, Harry, was pleased to be rid of these cumbersome appendages & by my friend, Angela who had breast carcinoma and felt very differently towards the loss of *******.
Maggie Emmett Nov 2014
Ginger nut crunch base
creamy Philly cheese
bitter **** lemon filling
birthday cheesecake
tongue tasty sweet when we kiss
A non-traditional taste Tanka
Maggie Emmett Nov 2014
It happened on a Summer’s morning
Hiroshima’s bomb once dropped upon that day
She was feeling tired and started yawning
Her crochet rug was tucked around her knees

Hiroshima’s bomb once dropped upon that day
The yellow capsules easily went down
Her crochet rug was tucked around her knees
She’d sent Arthur on a journey into town

The yellow capsules easily went down
She couldn’t stand another day of pain
She’d sent Arthur on a journey into town
At 82, she hoped they’d judge her sane

She couldn’t stand another day of pain
Two wars survived and still it came to this
At 82, she hoped they’d judge her sane
There was nothing left on earth that she would miss

Two wars survived and still it came to this
There is simply nothing more that can be said
There was nothing left on earth that she would miss
In a little while I hope I will be dead

There is simply nothing more that can be said
She was feeling tired and started yawning
In a little while I hope I will be dead
It happened on a Summer’s morning
This poem tells the true story of my grandmother crippled with osteo-arthritis, who chose to **** herself on August 6th 1982. She had lived through both World Wars. Hiroshima Day was a very important day for her each year. She would have been 83 years old in the November of 1982. Her note simply said,"I can't stand the pain anymore.".
Maggie Emmett Nov 2016
Hope is the thing with feathers  
That perches in the soul,  
And sings the tune without the words,  
And never stops at all,  
And sweetest in the gale is heard;          
And sore must be the storm  
That could abash the little bird  
That kept so many warm.  
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,  
And on the strangest sea;        
Yet, never, in extremity,  
It asked a crumb of me.
To all my friends in America I offer this wonderful poem by one of your greatest poets Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886). Emily was an American WOMAN
Maggie Emmett Jul 2014
Hot boys express emotion  
in the resonance and width  of their exhausts
in pipe dreams of measurement
in the rev and roar of super heated motors
mixing spark and sensibility
in the sudden screech and stretch of rubber
marking asphalt and *****-u-men
out there in the middle ground
where the road humps.  

Hot boys light up the night with high beams
cruise the darkest alleyways of masculinity
challenging old men at intersections -
in their soft leather seats and euro-neat boxes
of air-conditioned luxury and debt -
to pole position and the chequered flag of fortune.

Hot boys in cars that throb with bass notes
and bootilicious chick lyrics -
sung by black boys wicked in the zone
always bragging ’bout their bone
and how they make the ***** moan -
snarl abuse at walking women
fragile objects on the pavement shelves
shaped colour lost in time
that pass beyond their touch and reach.
Hot boys are tiny traces of an oil rich mixture
trailing blue smoke in their wake
foot to the floor high stakes, top geared no brakes
as they snake round the hills and the hairpin bends
as they wrap tight trees at the crash, crush end
and the hot boys cool in the night.
A black humorous poem about so many young men who believe they are invincible and who sadly, are not.
Maggie Emmett Nov 2016
I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,"

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.
For all Americans to consider today!
From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Knopf and Vintage Books. Copyright © 1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes.
Maggie Emmett Jan 2015
My partner has a crush on Karen Black
He watches every movie and repeat
Anyone would wonder what they lack

As actors go, she surely is a hack
but “A Trilogy of Terror” is his treat
My partner has a crush on Karen Black

It’s not as if she has a fulsome rack
But something stirs his blood to boiling heat
Anyone would wonder what they lack

I dream of Idris Elba in the sack
Sheer perfection wrapped naked in a sheet
But my man has his crush on Karen Black

Her voice so harsh the underground would frack
Split layers of the earth beneath our feet
Her smiling face would every mirror crack

Despite all this, she seems to have the knack
To entice and tease every man to cheat
My partner has a crush on Karen Black
It makes me wonder what it is I lack.
© M.L.Emmett 2015
For humorous picture of this poem:
Maggie Emmett Aug 2015
Lady Macbeth washed her hands
cleaner than Pontius Pilate
with a new improved, bio-enzyme
oxy-bursting, 99.9% germ-scouring
recommended by dermato-logists
scented with rose attar
oils from Arabia
and spermaceti soothing
unguents from long dead whales.

She’s going to the nail bar
for a manicure and application
of semi-permanent, diamond-
tipped, acrylic base-coated
in red blood enamel.

She’ll scratch
and etch rich tattoos
on her husband’s back
with every ******, he will shudder
with pain and delight
He’ll soon forget long, dark nights
bewitched by ghosts and ambition.

© M.L. Emmett
Alternate views of Literature
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
Venice was a place for sudden ******
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
Venice is still
the place of death.

© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Aug 2014
Cold sunlight
River Thames shivering
chopped glass
Maggie Emmett Feb 2016
Lost in my chiaroscuro world
I cannot be followed
No-one knows my secret language
No-one knows my passwords
or my frames of reference
Everything said, is coded.

In desperate times
speech becomes pure sound
rhythmic and completely foreign
People can make out words
but they have no context

George, Jean, Martin
Arthur, Margaret
Names like rays on a compass
They were my world
of visible magnetic forces
I could no more abandon them
than rearrange the continents.

But you can learn
when the old geography
is too painfully familiar
not to abandon it
But simply invent
a country of your own.

A landscape beyond maps,
compasses and sextant
Beyond a dictionary
of common usage
and invented diction.

You can search
but the unseen
patterns of dreaming
are as easy to find.

Isolated, distant
language fractures
and returns to you
words are breaking the barrier reef
an exile in a shadow land.

The damage grows inside
sensed but unseen
seeping into crevices like moss
and lichen gripping
spreading and creeping
a spiked vine
flaring down to the tongue.

© M.L.Emmett
original unpublished poem 07/02/99 & revised 16/02/2012
Maggie Emmett Aug 2014
Sombre bronzed fog
across the sea
loosing form
at the shoreline
and engulfing
every sound.

© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Sep 2020
The space between the Mallee roots
is where the fire breathes in the grate
it slowly stirs and shifts
and shows it is alive
and full of nothing more
than its smoky-scented heat
and blood-red glowing coals.

© M.L. Emmett
Fire watching on a cold afternoon
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
Miss Haversham has shaken
off the cobwebs and the deadly dust.
tore down the tattered curtains
moth-eaten and frayed
She’s flung open the windows
thrown away the detritus of decay
into the path of passing winds
napery tossed down to the garden.
Even the mice have run for cover
as she tears off the raggedy sheds
of stained satin and be-ribboned lace.

She stands naked in the barren room
Estella has prepared a soothing bath
perfumed rich with oils and fragrant attars
to steal the acris stench of unwashed years
coaxing the arid brittle crust away
saving the soft delicate skin beneath
viciousness, sloughed smooth
and vengeful purpose passes.

She is reborn a Botticelli Venus
standing in an open shell
long hair shining and wrapping around
her creamy skin, voluptuous
curvaceous, slippery with life
newborn yet wiser for the years
of reflection, ready to deflect
romantic nonsense and live
free and breathe again.

© M.L.Emmett
Alternative Stories
Maggie Emmett Apr 2016
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 ****** 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
25th April Anzac Day 2016
In remembrance of the total waste and loss of young mens' lives in WWI. For all the civilians who died and the mothers, wives and sisters who waited in vain for so many soldiers who never returned.
Maggie Emmett Aug 2014
Morning pallor on a grey day
not a five cent shine
to the sun.

Bitumen hissed all night
trees tossed and tangoed
shuddered and split.

Navy clouds, blue with rain
surfed in from the ocean
racing on the wild wind
learning to scream.

The stones listened
moon listed and tried to find
a space in the cloud-tide rush
to quiet-light the gloom.

Morning Armistice on a pale grey day
of debris and displacement
refugees and leaf litter
surrender and detachment
silent and still
only a five cent shine to the sun

© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Nov 2014
In the moonlight, high in the Lemon Gum,
perched under the arching ghostly branches
two eyes of jet peer from a snow-white mask.
Tyto Alba, the Barn Owl, with heart shaped
****** disc, edged with ruff of stiff feathers.
Mottled pearl-grey body feathers above
the moth like plumage, purest white beneath
her slim legs are bare on the lower half,
with small feet that end with deadly talons.

Nocturnal, she roosts in the heat of day.
You will hear her screeching in the cold night
hear the scream before you ever see her.
She can see in the half light of humans
night vision even in total darkness
pinpoints her prey by listening to each sound
the desperate, scuttling little creatures make.

She is a well designed killing machine
with hooked beak, powerful feet and sharp claws.
Her flight feathers have softened edges
to make her deadly flight near soundless
She swoops silently down without warning
seizing victims with her claws, biting deep
into their neck arteries, puncturing
their most precious organs for a quick death.
Owls are deadly but fascinating birds of prey.
Maggie Emmett Sep 2014
Blood punching hard through every vein
White thunder drums with fists of rain
Lightning’s whip cracks flashing white
Ships heave and seem to leap in light

Sea spins and swirls staccato pace
Engulfing waves rush strong embrace
Blood pounds the human heart with fear
Just spume and brine with no-one near

Cold wind is whining overhead
Its roaring sound could raise the dead
The strafing power of Nature’s might
On this shuddering dark, bleak night.

© M.L.Emmett
Written in response to the Storms at Sea painting of JW Turner.
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
~ Otto Dix Plate 22 ~

Each night I meet myself in nightmares
I am my own enemy fighting in No-man’s land
I am material and real, yet I barely exist
in my imagination.

There is nothing whole and complete
nothing has retained its shape or structure
everything is splintered into surfaces
in my imagination.

There can be only shreds and shards
only textures, hard lines and spaces
where white light can dance free
in my imagination.

Each night I crawl through ruined houses
along dark passages that close me in
dropping to bottomless depths of myself
in my imagination

There are only axons and dendrites in my mind
electric sparking, all atoms in a crystal night
a grasping hand, a gaping eye disconnected
in my imagination.

Each night I try to find myself in nightmares
I am my own enemy fighting in No-man’s land
I am dark energy and matter, yet I barely exist
in my imagination.

© M.L.Emmett
This is a response to Plate 22 Etching by Otto Dix, who fought in WWI and was haunted by his service. He was despised by the Nazis.
Maggie Emmett Jan 2015
Blackbirds nesting in the Pergola strut,
shaded in a Wisteria bower,
the first year it decided to flower,
untended, ragged spirals left uncut.

Father jet black darting past the window,
sudden flashes of his yellow rimmed eye.
Dowdy brown mother has no need to fly,
snuggled down as her love swoops to and fro.

Plaintive high-pitched cries announce their hatching
Three fledgling wide mouths hungry to be fed
A fortnight growth before learning to fly
one falls to earth is ready for snatching
Screeching alarums in fear and in dread
The jaws of a cat are no place to die
First published under the title ‘Blackbirds Nesting’ in THE MOZZIE, Volume 13, Issue2 March 2006.
Maggie Emmett Nov 2016
Harsh wind screaming
with the crisp bite of Autumn night

Dark shadows dancing
with the branches of bare grey Elms

The lanes are winding
in the pale orange glow of headlights

Sudden hedgerows
edging the limits of the night

Power-cut darkness all around
strange in the headlight beam

No farm lights distant on the Tor
beacons of open field and place

Cottages shuddering their thatching
chimneys smoking message-morse

Pub signs banging wildly
in a crazy dance
inside candles flickering
patterns in tiny panes of rounded glass

Old stone steeple steady
dull toned bell
a ride on the wind to the copse

And still the lanes thread out
a ribbon of pebbles and stone
stretching into the night
until they melt
into the flat black tarmac
of the motorway.
A poem written about Swallowfield, Berkshire
Maggie Emmett Apr 2016
~ To *****, on the death of our mutual friend John Keats ~

What steadfast equilibrium
Can border vastness of grief?
Nothing ever becomes as real
Till it be experience.

Life’s fragile day is done for Keats
Imagination his belief
His Monastery, he its Monk
Beauty’s spell, fervent relief.

He died in Rome mourned by so few
Bright star, by none more than you
He hears your tender-taken breath
Ever feels soft fall and swell.

If warm,  wind plucked purest  harp
Words from tranquillity have sprung
Then Nature’s might and awe arouse
World’s sheer grandeur will be sung

Yet will black shadows cross the land
Swarming clouds of  Erinyes
Snatching this poet young and sweet
More mortal than his poetry.

© M.L.Emmett
In the style of Horace Odes Book I . XXIV
John Keats corresponded warmly and lovingly to *****.
Keats fans may find inclusion of familiar language and ideas here...
Maggie Emmett Sep 2016
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied.  It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

From The Complete Poems 1927-1979 by Elizabeth Bishop, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Copyright © 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel.
I find this poem so wonderful despite never having mastered its art!
Maggie Emmett Nov 2014
There walks no Daphnis with his mournful song
Blinded by the vengeful nymph, whose love was unrequited
He does not wander in the hills above this place
Playing his pipe and singing of his sadness
Aphrodite can punish him no more
For he is gone to the quiet land of shadows
Taken by Hermes, herald and messenger
Of the mightiest of gods, to cross the river Styx
His soul guided by his father’s loving hand,
to Hades and the final still of time and season.

In the quartz sculpted gorge, beneath the waterfall
Naiads lithe and languorous once bathed
Alabaster skinned, in the crystal brook
Auburn ringlet tresses were shaken free
When they stepped among the mossy rocks and ferns
Their peachy cheeks flushed vital rose
Their strawberry ******* raised and glistening
Their teasing laughter that once echoed in these dales
Through verdant pastures and the bluebelled wood
Is heard no more, for they have passed into memory.

It is silent now, the Jackals are not howling
The threat of Wolves and Lions gone
This pastoral world of goatherds pining
Is but a world of dust and dreams.
This poem was written for an Idyll section competition. It was first published in Yellow Moon Issue 17, Winter 2005; p.39.
It uses all the traditional Greek images with a little twist or two.
Maggie Emmett Aug 2014
Children need to breathe the air of protest
walk together, arm in arm with strangers
wear badges of hope and T-shirts with lifelines

Sing words of wisdom and history
chant choric responses of camaraderie
in a mass movement of human voices.

Understand the justice of causes
and the constant need for change.
The dignity of freedom
and the strength of real choices

Find courage to lead others by honourable action
spreading metaphors of compassion
over roads of pain and tears.

Letting the certainty of liberty
beat with their hearts
as strong as empathy

And may peace be tattooed
on every breath
they ever breathe.

© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Jan 2016
I’m just a lanky lass from Wycheproof
Born on the right side of the tracks
Law degree and a stint at Racing Vic
I’ve risen well above the backroom hacks

I’m revered
and I’m feared
I’m Tony’s confidante
I scream, I shout, I rant
Back benchers quake
Ministers shake
I’m an armoured tank
You know I outrank
any one in Coo-ee
of super-strong me

Chief of Staff to the PM
I’m the ultimate femme
Murdoch grumbled, tried to call me to heel
I’m never humbled, I’m totally real
I am the ‘she’ who must be obeyed
I am the piper who must be paid
I’m the gate-keeper
I’m the scythe-reaper

Tony knows who makes and butters his bread
I keep him happy, I keep him well fed
I am Salome, when I call for a head
a platter it’s given, my enemy dead.

I was top of my game and top of the list
of Helen McCabe’s ‘Women of Power’
I’ve never cowered, brown-nosed or ****-kissed
I stand tall, over midgets I tower
Natural-born killer exudes from my pores
I suffer no fools, I banish the bores
I mark my territory, a ******* dog
Clear dry is my vision, no room for fog
Some say I influence all decisions
I’m an enforcer of rigid divisions
There is only ‘us’ in the battle of wills
Ride on my side, for the endless high thrills
Of course I agree I’ve had an impact
It’s true without me, poor Tony can’t act
But sad to tell you, it’s still more than that
I’m in charge of the ball and even the bat
I know there are some who cannot like me
Though I control the national psyche
So come Malcolm, Julie and sad sack Joe
I will decide when it’s my time to go
No-one can challenge Abbot, my hero
I’ll zap them to ashes, to dust, to zero
I’ll huff and I’ll puff and blow their House down
Forever secure and wearing my crown
So don’t mess with me, you miserable crew
Just you crawl away in case I say, “Boo!”
I’m beautiful fearless, utterly bold
Remember, I serve revenge icy cold.

© M.L.Emmett
This is political satire. Peta Credlin was the Chief of Staff of Tony Abbott, Australia's most recently deposed (2015) Prime Minister. In 2015 she headed the Australian Women's Weekly (published monthly) 50 Women of Power. She stated in the presentation that she had got the government into power - such is her hubris!
Apologies to Jane Russell re- opening lines which mimic her song in 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'.
Maggie Emmett Sep 2014
Idyllic love poems wander the hills
with a pining goat herd playing his pipe
and singing mournful song
echoing down the quartz sculpted gorge
beneath waterfalls
where alabaster-skinned Naiads
lithe and languorous
bathed in crystal brooks.

Romantic poems lounge on sofas breathless  
wearing corsets and crinolines
and untouched
strands of hair

   John Donne’s love poems
are wet
  with wit.
Maggie Emmett Aug 2014
Poets are word canaries
prepared to die in dark, airless places.
Poets are sharp sirens
alert, alarmed and warning of the firestorm.

Poets can read
tree bark calligraphy of knots and scars.
Poets decipher codes
and shrewd puzzles, bold and enigmatic.

Poets ignore the talk of Angels
their prophecies and broken promises
Poets turn over Tarot cards
lay out rune stones, fearless of the future.

Poets steer clear
of treasure, jewels and golden ingots.
Poets climb ladders
and stairways cut in rock and stone.

Poets can see beyond
apple blossom, lilac blooms and dead lilies.
Poets find the past
in patterns of stars and the orbit of comets.

Poets lick salt
relishing the wounds and tears.
Poets throw life-belts
wreaths onto empty oceans.

Poets split existence
into life and death with nothing between.
Poets sift ashes
and sand for the rough edges of infinity.
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