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A Reminder: To Be

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 Reminder: To Be 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 Reminder: To Be


Those of you with a unique voice,
with a vision painted outside the lines of over-regulated cadence and rhyme,
I implore you to continue exploring a core
that is fearless in writing against the grain of convention --
for this very friction is a sandpaper helping to perpetually re-invent 
yourself by smoothing your raw, unfiltered passion
into a timeless chair in which people of the future will sit in
while reading your poetry ....

.... and their brows will crease, their eyebrows will arch into gates
where sighs of enlightenment will pass through,
for they are reading poetry that has not lost its novelty,
nor is it mimicry: a despondent, washed-out version
of 20 million other identically tired poems already written and read.

If you feel yourself being sucked down by the undertow 
of homogenization, fight against the current, drag yourself onto shore,
let sunlight percolate pure word-intentions from the nucleus 
of your ancient psalm-writing ancestry.

Your ancestors left behind DNA building blocks,
disciplinary examples and practices 
with which to construct mitochondrial drift
that bridges together the past and future
into a runway for you to take-off from
after the training wheels have been removed,
and gain a bird's eye view of what was,
what will always be sacred but not yours to build a mynah nest in
once truth's marrow is tasted from its winged divine inspiration --
a bird's eye view lifting above carbon-copy complacency.

To always be the freedom that manifests your luminous originality.




September 18th, 2013

*Author's Note: This piece isn't about writing in form or not writing in form. 
To ass.u.me such, is being short-sighted.

Having been a member here for years now, I have noticed a recurring phenomenon 
on this site. Many times, new members join who showcase a freshness, a sharp distinction in their style and poetic voice. They are a breath of fresh air for this site 
to breathe in. Over time, one can literally watch some of these members begin to homogenize themselves into a more general, stale style of writing. I am not sure 
wot all the variables are for this phenomenon, and it likely differs according to each experience. Depending on circumstance, I can only speculate the reasons why some people are willing to compromise their distinctness on this site. Maybe sometimes it happens because of entering too many contests? Of wanting to fit in with the flock?

When I do see it happen, I want to yell: "No, no, no! Stop! Please don't do it! Turn 
back while you still have the chance! Please don't compromise your distinctness for some inane contest .jpegs and congratulations, or insincere, back-patting comments. One sincerely inspired comment, is worth more than 10,000 petty comments -- worth 
so much more."





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  1. Date: 12/3/2013 5:04:00 AM
    I read this last night and it comforted me. Isn't that odd? It was like a cosy blanket. I did not read it as a rant, at all. I read it as a calling. Hey, that poem you called fresh? It was born of this. I didn't censure myself. I just let it all spill. I am very sick, right now. Flu and laryngitis. EVERYTHING hurts, blah. My girl has bounced back and, apparently, I'm her diving board. I was going to comment last night, but you inspired me, so I went for it. Did you sense that, I wonder?

    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan
    Date: 12/3/2013 5:07:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    PS-- don't you dare erase this. It reminded me of Whitman and then Whitman reminded me of the power of words and then I let the words speak for themselves.
  1. Date: 10/25/2013 9:31:00 PM
    (continued from below). You're saying you want to yell at people to not lose a distinctive style. Get down and do it but do so tactfully. Also keep in mind we poets are selfish beings on the whole. We write for our own enjoyment first and foremost and our readers' entertainment has to take a backseat. That said, we're all comment whores and appreciate the back-patting, though more so constructive tips and suggestions. I know I do. By the by, great writing, Chris. Licia :-)

  1. Date: 10/25/2013 9:18:00 PM
    Mayhaps the reason you haven't read mine lately (lol)? No, I'm joking. On a serious note, nobody but nobody would land in my "fave" list unless I seriously cared about their writing. In my limited time available I opt for reading them first. I enjoy reading poetry more than writing and I do so critically. In my experience there's been overall growth in my "troupe". Running out of space here.

  1. Date: 10/17/2013 2:39:00 AM
    Lovely, Chris. You remain a cool and supportive friend on the site and many of us appreciate it all. Well expressed. I loved the verse. Always, Laura

  1. Date: 10/13/2013 4:23:00 PM
    hey Chris, well its been a long time since i read your work, not that I don't like it, is this a poem or a rant? speaking for myself I have always swam against the current, never gone with the flow just like you, we will always be what we were meant to be, convention is just excess baggage which we unload at certain points in life, the nucleus can only come from the heart it is not a phase in writing it is the essence of what we are....i like this...David

  1. Date: 10/2/2013 3:56:00 PM
    cont..Once i ve written a poem daughter of god..lover of the devil..and i received soup why i ve written that about myself.All i wanted to explain was that though i know im supposed to worshio God i do fail with my committed since.Yes its not always possible for me to write how i feel.Re contests..im hardly into.them but got your concept.An interesting poem and am favouring it.

  1. Date: 10/2/2013 3:51:00 PM
    Hi Chris how many times will i admire this in you..Your sincierity..That is one of the spices that make your poetry unique.Getting out of the comfort zone can raise eye brows at times..I remember when i posted a sensual poem ..nothing too daring but someone left a comment rhat her young kid can read it.When iwrote a poem inspired by a voodoo documentary..Someone left a comment 'Stay away from voodoo': )..thought mal of me.So staying in the comfort zone is safe though nit the best

  1. Date: 9/29/2013 11:08:00 AM
    Where are u hiding? I miss you. :)

  1. Date: 9/27/2013 1:36:00 PM
    That writing in itself was a breath of fresh air; many poems I do not get but i feel the persons emotions in it just the same...some not so much lol. That was a masterpiece of expression about expression and I'm glad you expressed it ;)

  1. Date: 9/26/2013 11:05:00 PM
    by the way, I am positive that I responded to some very intelligent comments you were making at a recent blog and I went back there and was surprised that I could not find my comment!!! I had agreed that what you were saying was true. Shakespeare often deviated from the strictness of syllable count. There can be great beauty in imperfection. I don't know how anyone could argue that. As for entering contests, I honestly would not be writing if I did not have inspiration from contests themes!

  1. Date: 9/26/2013 11:02:00 PM
    chris, I do not see great poets being sucked into changing their writing style. Most poets in general write a great variety of forms. Free, classic, haiku, etc. And maybe they do mediocre work in one form and better in another, but of all my favorite poets here, I do not see them melting into homogenized writing. I think what you are seeing is the way they already write!! Most poets just prefer rhyme. I actually love all kinds but it's more natural for me to do meter.

  1. Date: 9/25/2013 10:24:00 AM
    you echo a theme here dear to my own heart,,, the innocence of the initial..which of course life itself today destroys, like childhood into adult... as a simple example, i love music, that of all genre, yet it is with me anyhow, usually the artists first recording that i treasure, as soon as maturity sets in, i am somehow guided back to the innocents of what came at the beginning,, just as you comment on your poetry , your poetry here again inspiring, and a joy to visit to read.....

  1. Date: 9/24/2013 10:11:00 AM
    One of the best I've read all week! The opening is a gift of exploration that you're along for the ride, with the utmost sincerity. I like how you've articulated the rewards of a poet, "cringing brows, etc."... I started getting excited. Then you had the audacity to provide blueprints to escape the " crab in the pot" theory, a key element. Taking off this runway you've paved, inspires to land on freedom!... Faves, and I'm waiting on your next piece, been damn near a week lol!

  1. Date: 9/22/2013 12:21:00 PM
    Though is there not that happy medium, that point of diminishing returns where only a small group can understand or care. Tchaikovsky was criticized for being too simplistic compared with many of his peers but I think he found that point. Perhaps it is more---I could really step outside the box if I chose to but no one I know would read more than three lines but a select group here--so I chose not to. That being said I do hear you-----this should be a blog BTW---well done!

  1. Date: 9/22/2013 12:08:00 PM
    True Chris, and I don't think you are trying to say don't write to strict forms are you, but saying that no matter what you write to fly and step out of the box---I know I must do so more.

  1. Date: 9/19/2013 2:02:00 PM
    Oh yes! I agree with the message in this poem! I am guilty of entering contests constantly, and even when it goes against my nature to stick to the formats required,I almost feel I am betraying myself.In my heart I am a free-verse poet..it stifles me to write in strict form...how can one breathe, and truly let it all hang out, if we girdle our poetry with rules? I have often been scolded by a few .."This would be better as a sonnet" or "Work on your meter". It takes away the soul of the poem.

  1. Date: 9/19/2013 11:08:00 AM
    Reminds me of "LAZARUS THE TONGUE"... Good One! If it's for the contest, good luck!

  1. Date: 9/19/2013 8:16:00 AM
    Wonderful poem, with a message that is inspiring!!! I love it! I'm putting it into my favs! I think...this is my most favorite poem of all of them! Yay, Chris!!! Is it for the sand contest? If so, I think you've got a winner here! Love it!!! hugs, Catie :)

  1. Date: 9/19/2013 8:05:00 AM
    I love the message in this poem...one reading cannot possibly reveal all the delicious devices...(do muffins sometimes come in layers?)

  1. Date: 9/19/2013 7:49:00 AM
    Chris...your poem is in itself a sample of that "luminous originality". You are gift with words...unique...Thanks for the reminder not to stick to the tried and true. It means getting out of our comfort zones. That isn't always so easy to do...Great write!