Emanuel’s poetry


Poetry was a great passion for me in high school. I served on the Lowell High School Literary Magazine Myriad from 1980-1983 and wrote many poems (of which only a few were actually accepted).

I imagined myself as a poet somewhere between T.S. Eliot and William Carlos Williams. But the truth is I have not looked at these poems for years. Here are a few selections. It was hard to resist the temptation to edit these poems after all those years, but I did.

Sadly I have not written any poems in recently in English and only one in Chinese about five years ago.



Emanuels Poems



In the beginning

God said, “Let there be light.”

And there was light

But the darkness lingered on.

And man was born of death

And rose from the darkness of childhood

To carry a club

Of gnarled wood.

And he howled into the wind

Of anger and suffering

And hated his world and his God.

And God said, “It is good.”

And on the last day,

God rested, and man

Suffered in an indifferent world.

And cursed his god,

And loved his god,

And made his god

In his own image.



Standing under the open window

Freshly cleaned, before I awoke,

A bowl of strawberries

Moist and fresh

But tasting of standing

With the dark crusted bread

And the wilted green lettuce

Overnight in the pantry

From yesterday

At the market, in the brilliant rain.



Death comes to me slowly

As the morning sun

Of restless afternoons.

Lo, I grow painfully aware

Of the fate of children

And crumbling cathedrals.

I see death in tulips

And evil in the simplest gesture.

Yet I cannot look away.




I am as best I can

I would be more than what I am.

I would have sacrificed everything

But I have nothing to lose.

I am a brave and worldly man

Who is weak and afraid

And fears suffering more than death.

Should I suffer without reason

Or reason without suffering?

Without reason,

I am a distant spectator

Distant as the planets

In eternal motion.





It was not that I was tired.

I had slept well.

It was not that I was old.

I was just a child.

I lay in bed and it came

Not from the dark and evil places

As one might think,

But from the passing of time

That takes up life,

That makes up life.

An ominous specter

Coming from the very thing

That is existence.

The subtle discontentment

That has no origin

That creeps up

And appears from nowhere.


Elegant Afternoons

Elegant afternoons

When the cat slept

On the sun-coated

Quilted couch.

Sitting in the library

Reading the first pages

Of yellowed books.

And then having tired,

I dozed in the warmth

That penetrated

The leaded glass panes

Over the faded flowers

Wilting in a Chinese vase.



Car Crash I

A car crash

With scattered people


Everyone turned,

Craning necks

As if to see


As if their own lives

Were not miserable enough.



Car Crash II

The world shattered

In just a second

What was is gone

And cold reality

Sets in around me

And the pain

But mostly the shock

And the hands that try to help

When I want to die

And the pieces of the car

And the blood

And the sickness

And the blackness

And the sleep.



A Ruin

The cool mist

Coated the valley,

Made less harsh

The battlements

And more rustic

The cannons.

The sun pierced

The clouds

And woke the lizards

To climb on

The towers of stone.

One could forget

That ugly past.



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