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A Degree in Phantasmology

Chris D. Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner - Premium MemberPremium Member Send Soup Mail Go to Poets Blog Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled A Degree in Phantasmology which was written by poet Chris D. Aechtner. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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A Degree in Phantasmology

Viewed from outside, the forest appears to have been gobbled up,
erased by a gigantic sponge of mist.
Only the tips of a few cedars pierce through the miasma.
No, they aren't piercing through the veil; more so, they are disconnected
from the rest of their towering bodies -
green, sharp cones floating above the lumbering, pulsating cloud.

But once within the forest, having stepped through the perimeter of trees,
visibility opens up a little, as wispy tentacles retract into the canopy above,
as if in retreat from an approaching intruder.

I do not know precisely what I am looking for,
simply following a strong instinct 
as to the whereabouts of what I desire to find.
How is it possible to desire something I do not know?
Oh, but how I so desire to find it....

Fiddleheads uncurl, silent players in an orchestra,
giving a visual impression of the sounds vibrating 
beneath their spiralled stalks.
A strange hour for crickets to be tuning their Viennese strings.

Over to my left, sits Voltaire with a crooked grin.
But upon closer inspection, it is only a rotting stump.
Voltaire, you sly, sly genius. Always so sharp and forthright.
How you must have wormed your way into Luther's head,
as the two of you hid in Frederick's fortress castle.
Yes, you were always so keen and brilliant,
but disconnected from your heart. Were you not?

I push deeper into the forest, scaring off a mole
who had a momentary lapse of courage within the mist.
The curdling vapours recede even more,
clearing up my lines of sight.
There! Is that what I am searching for!?
Naye, it is but a smooth, polished stone set amongst a crowd
of dangerous looking rocks, poking out of thick, wet moss -
dangerous rocks with slippery, jagged edges,
resembling the dagger of Brutus.
23 stabs in Caesar's back, on that cruel midnight hour.
23 chromosomes added from each half,
giving birth to a story of deception and betrayal.
And of a captain going down with his sinking ship.

Pondering over these spectres, suddenly jogs my thoughts -
thoughts no longer connected to a physical body.
My hands resemble the fog--thick as illusions,
but also transparent, depending on the vantage point.
I have found what I came looking for,
confirmed my own mortal death,
as I now appear to be existing within the memories of the living.


I did not find the forest after all,
instead, Death found me.
The true reason for having arrived here,
is to earn a degree in phantasmology.










February 16th, 2012

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  1. Date: 11/20/2012 1:04:00 AM
    WOW! Now, im the maddened kite riding electricity! Great write, Chris. (Frederick? Chopin?). What can we do without Deborah? Instead of trying to improvise a polite blah blah...I'm going to say...I agree with her! LOL! This poem is a potent tropical thunderstorm ...and at the end, it seems as if you cool the temperature down ...and the winds...so suddenly. I swear, Im not smoking at this time! : )

  1. Date: 3/11/2012 6:53:00 PM
    You capture the essence of dark forest and their death defying ways, sounds creepy, well done.

  1. Date: 2/23/2012 6:26:00 AM
    Congratulations for a fine contest win and thank you for your comments. Sorry for generic response but I’ll be home this weekend. I like to read every poem I can for individual comments. Love you guys…..Craig Wow what an amazing mind you've got...this is 10 poems in one..have to come back and read again!

  1. Date: 2/22/2012 10:27:00 AM
    Yay, I am finally able to comment on your longer writes! What can I say but by golly Wow! I loved this one! I was just so drawn to everything here, vivid yet hushed imagery and it has that fantastic atmosphere to it, yet has that hmm how should I say it, eloquent, somewhat classical feel to it-- honestly, i read this aloud and was giving it a British accent- ok my lame attempt of it! lol)--I think your ending here was super! Definitely deserving of that major win! Super congrats, Chris :D

    p.iNk Avatar binibining p.iNk
    Date: 2/22/2012 10:29:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    See? haha I even got to type in this other comment while waiting for my connection to go back up... :)
  1. Date: 2/22/2012 7:49:00 AM
    phantastic swirl of images, chris... the forest of your mind bombards me with a visceral feel... congrats on your win, big time..:) huggs!

  1. Date: 2/21/2012 11:22:00 PM
    CHRIS... NICE WIN..... CONGRATUALTIONS IN CATIE'S CONTEST.. ;-) ~ always*PD

  1. Date: 2/21/2012 7:35:00 PM
    Congrats Chris on your winning poetry, enjoyed the verses, love,vie

  1. Date: 2/21/2012 3:02:00 PM
    Chris, this is a superb write. I really enjoyed it. Congrats on placing on Catie's winners' list...........S.Ronthorpe

  1. Date: 2/21/2012 11:42:00 AM
    Very surreal, I like this enormously.

  1. Date: 2/21/2012 11:36:00 AM
    Congrats on a well - deserved win Chris...I agree, you are one of the best on here.

  1. Date: 2/21/2012 10:27:00 AM
    congrats Chris on an amazing win for this extraordinary and outstanding free verse luv..

  1. Date: 2/21/2012 9:58:00 AM
    Congratulations on your placement in ~Catie's~ "Free Verse" contest Chris. Love, Carol

  1. Date: 2/21/2012 9:00:00 AM
    LOL I see you have won grandly without my advise! LOL [I still want more to bloom from this for I am greedy!] Congrad's on your win you have a poem didicated to you from me ;) you inspiring reprobate! Light & Love

  1. Date: 2/21/2012 6:32:00 AM
    such amazing fantasy! Congratulations, Chris, on your win in my free verse contest. You are one of the best free verse poets on this site. hugs, Catie :)

  1. Date: 2/18/2012 11:31:00 AM
    I am...an idiot. Proved myself yet once again, lacking in a classically educated background. Not what I thought at all. Went searching, yet again, and read up a wee wee bit on Voltaire and this gave me more insight. Frederick, the king, Voltaire, the poet, friends -- too similar to stay friends long. Interesting. Thanks for making me think. Or is that dammit why did you make me think? ;-) Cyndi

  1. Date: 2/18/2012 11:20:00 AM
    Tons in this. What a walk. Fiddleheads... loved those lines... but the one that clings, my favourite is my hands resemble the fog... as thick as illusions... That one seems to speak to me on a personal level. I went searching for Luther... and found a reference to an East vs West debate saying that Voltaire must not be confused with Martin Luther... is this what you're referring to? Hmmm... Frederick... lol... this is gonna bug me. Love the poem but I'm in quicksand now... sinking ;-) Cyndi

  1. Date: 2/17/2012 3:35:00 PM
    brilliant imagery, Chris, as usual an interesting read, enjoyed this poem, tends to take one away from the real word, and that can't be bad. harry

  1. Date: 2/16/2012 12:56:00 PM
    A chilling write, Chris...I especially liked the "Fiddleheads uncurl..." to "...Were you not?" part... Great twist at the end :)

  1. Date: 2/16/2012 11:47:00 AM
    Well Chris..hmm a couple of things come to mind [1 tahnks for your concern over me!] I think you have a work in progress above which may turn out to be more than one verse ..I liked where it was meandering but perhaps there are too few 'bread crumbs' for the reader ..and your ending is weak..I feel mostly because the appears to be on strong climatic revealtion? Anyway..tweak, polish and please do enter it in my contest for what is it about if not transformation! Light & Love

  1. Date: 2/16/2012 11:18:00 AM
    This is awesome Chris, you have definitely earned your degree in phantom ville, had the chills reading this, bravo let me know when it will be starring at the theatre, want front row seats, love,vie

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