The Poetry Kit
An Interview with Michael Levy
Michael Levy is an optimist, his philosophy of life is one of optimism and his poetry is based on it. It is an interesting approach but the resulting poetry can sometimes appear archaic or twee. However at Poetry Kit we believe Michael represents something of the free spirit of the internet where all styles can find a home, and as it is our 5th Anniversary Jim Bennett took the opportunity to speak to Michael and find out more.
Tell us something about yourself.
Thank you Jim for giving me the opportunity to express myself. "To thy own self be true" are words written by Shakespeare 500 years ago, for his play Hamlet ... for me, it sums up why I write. Too many people, both past and present, take themselves too seriously. Since life is short, I continue to search for true meaning within my own life. I try to share my conclusions with anyone who also is searching for authentic meaning in their lives.
Many times, people who live with dogmatic, programmed belief systems, contend they know all the answers. They will put up defense walls, for they may find things hidden in their minds that they do not want to face... It may show they are not living true to their authentic selves, rather they are appeasing only their educational perspectives. My poetry tends to hit nerve endings and formulates thoughts they do not relish.
I popped out the womb in
, on the 6th of March 1945. The Second World War was drawing to a close and folks were just beginning to pick up the remnants of five hard years of conflict. For the first nineteen years of my life I lived in a corner terrace house with no bathroom, an outside toilet and green mold on the walls. I recall the early days, they were exciting times. Every day was an adventure on the streets of the inner city community... Nobody had any spare money. Even sweets were on ration until 1950, but nobody ever informed me I was poor. I just knew there were only so many hours in each day and was alive to enjoy them. I always went around with a big smile on my face and nobody was able to wipe it away. It is still the same smile today with a few extra laughter lines. Manchester, England
At sixteen, I thought it was no use continuing with an education, as I was attending school to make the teachers laugh and they thought they could teach me some meaningful knowledge. We both failed as I did not feel the knowledge being taught was meaningful to me. Once I could read and write everything else seemed to be secondary. The sun was shining outside and was beaconing me to play. Even when it was raining I thought my time would be better spent watching a movie.
Throughout my life many negative situations came my way but they did not knock me off the path of joy for more than a day or two at most. I got married at nineteen and started my own business with sixty pounds selling cloth remnants on the street markets. It grew into a successful wholesale textile business. I also invested wisely in commercial property and the stock market; I retired to
in 1992. Florida
How/when did you start writing?
After taking six years of time-out for deep thought to explain the source of true success I sat down one Saturday afternoon on the 1st Aug 1998 and in only ten days wrote my first book "What is The Point." To date I have penned seven books that contain poetry and inspirational philosophy combined with wellness/healthy living recommendations. I am a regular wellness columnist for Positive Health Magazine, the leading wellness magazine in the
. The Royal College of Psychiatry continues to publish selected essays and poetry. My poetry and essays can be found on numerous website, journals and magazines throughout the world. If you put the words "Michael Levy Poet" into a Goggle search it will keep you busy for many days reading the works on a variety of web sites. UK
How do you write? Do you have any particular method for writing?
Well, I am not your typical writer. I feel meaningful content is far more important than analytical grammar. The heart and soul of my compositions are born somewhere over the rainbow and somehow find their way into empty compartments of my mind. Most of my most meaningful works come to me after a deep sleep. In the early hours I write essays and poetry that still astonish me in their depth and fulfillment.
My subject matter is as vast as humanities actions, nature’s beauty and the cosmic size of wonderment. Unfortunately, too many people fear the truth more than they fear their God, so they hide behind man-made Gods and will ignore my works. Many academic editors will disagree with my techniques and forms of expression. For them my style and sassiness does not sit too well and may give them understanding digestion problems.
My lack of education makes my philosophy quite unique in a modern world, where everything is analyzed and sophisticated by experts until all true meaning is drained away. Many experts use erroneous intellectual reasoning and faulty egotistical logic to explain answers that cannot be lived by natural people.
At this point in time, schools and universities teach people to read and write to a good standard. However, very few teach wisdom to the students, on how to apply their learning for the benefit of all humanity, not just for a select few. Education is both a curse and blessing for humanity. Unfortunately, too many live the curse.
Many people see those who use poetry as a tool to sell a philosophy of their own making or have the reader buy into a belief system as creating poetry which is proselytizing or didactic. Clearly you write poetry with a message, but do you see the poetry as poetry or as a tool for your ideas across.
My poetry has many facets; however none of them are composed to deliver messages to indoctrinate the reader. The opposite can be said... some of my poetry is meant to stimulate the reader’s brain to start them to think for themselves and not to follow any other human being, without first verifying for themselves what they are reading makes sense to them. I am the last person on earth anyone should follow, as the core of my philosophy is to connect the reader to their maker or source of intelligence whoever or whatever they deem that to be or not to be. If they feel all is by chance they can connect to that thought and allow that to guide their path. The education system teaches students how to read, write and add-up sums. It does not teach them how to apply wisdom with their education because wisdom cannot be taught by clever people... It can only be directed by wise people who will admit they cannot teach it.
Do you make much use of the internet?
Absolutely, The internet is the great equalizer. Mainstream media has no time for expressive poetry and essays. I have been told on many occasions by chief editors there is no place in their publications for my works ... Happily, there are many editors on the internet that disagree with them and I now get daily requests for my poetry and essays.
One of my golden rules is to never pay for adverts, PR, agents or marketing. Also, I never send submissions by snail mail or pay for any editor to read my works. It is the poet who is the life blood of poetry magazines not the editors. Most poets do it for the love of their craft, not for money, so I feel they deserve respect of editors who are trying to fill their publications with the most eloquent, expressive works. If my compositions cannot speak for themselves they do not deserve to be published or read by anyone.
The internet is slowly changing the way society gains knowledge and understanding so maybe there is still hope for the human race to find their individual paradise? At this point in time my poetry continues to be read by millions of folks all around the world thanks to the internet. It does not cost them any money... often, I get feedback telling me it has made a difference in their perspective and outlook, which transforms from one of gloom and doom, to one with a brighter attitude. If I can help other people find their bliss I am contented to have that as my reward.
Why not poetry ... in my opinion nothing can illustrate human folly and genius better than poetry. Nothing can connect the brain to the every changing landscape of nature better than poetry. Nothing can express metaphysical connections between mind and soul better than poetry.
Impeccable poetry can express sentiments and feeling like no other form of writing. For me it encompasses all life forms in the universe that connect to a source of intelligence that feeds the poetry. It is a 360 degree kaleidoscope of universal, free flowing thoughts, feeding, a human mind that is receptive, and can use its own experiences, to formulate fresh invigorating reflections, questions, inquiry, deliberations and multi-faceted dimensions of meaning. It fits my philosophy of life like a hand in a glove. No Essay is complete without a few verses of poetry to give a dimension of thought the essay alone cannot deliver
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, I guess I could write a book about the things I would like to add. In a nutshell I feel every person can compose meaningful poetry, music, art, etc. There is a place for all types of poetry and poets should not spend too much time trying to appease the special section of the academic poetry world that believes they know how poetry should be formed. I am not criticizing them, as they are entitled to their opinions, however, good poetry will surface without any help from editors who try to hold stage in ivory towers. Rejection is a great motivator and on the occasions I get insults directed at me by an editor who has gotten out of bed on the wrong-side that day, I just bless his or her little cotton socks. Any human mind that is congested only by educational cleverness and intellectual knowledge will not contain the capacity to comprehend, nor absorb, authentic wisdom.
Every person on earth deserves to live a life of bliss and to dwell in love & joy. Regrettably, very few people understand the real meaning of love & joy and even though I have written seven books trying to explain it, I feel I have barely scratched the surface so far in improving peoples conceptions in following their bliss. Maybe if I live for another million years, I will be able to decipher and explain in undisputable terms what it means to be ... true to thy self?
The first poem projects the quantum universe in a way that connects religion with science and allows the reader to walk over the bridge to view scientists looking at spirits work in progress. Every time I read it I find fresh meaning.
The Gyrations of the Universal Wheel
Mammoth supernova spews storms of heavenly fire,
Celestial music simmers, in vacuum of mystical melodies,
Stratospheric fountains flare, from kabalistic galactic gasses,
Mountains of nothingness erupt, in voids of abundance.
Unfamiliar planets snowball, from spiraling exotic dust,
Orbiting eccentric suns appear as monumental Gods,
Pulsating forces dance to the gravitational beat of celestial violins,
Each note forms figments of heroic luminescent chaos.
Light spectrums expel voluminous electromagnetic wave bands,
Marching in a parade of exquisite grace, in costumes of ultra-violet radiance,
As a casts of billions join, the gyrations of the universal wheel,
Reeling in deep space, until the moment life is discovered.
An encore is requested, by the standing ovulation of vibrating gravity,
A Mother is born, waiting for her earth children to evolve,
Fed by a milky way, ascending out of a black hole,
A race of cosmic particles will mystically develop,
viewed through the lens of astronomical candidates
This poem expresses my feeling on war. It reveals the folly of humanity quest for power in minds that accommodate ignorance of truth... It is significant for me as I feel no war is ever won...just some lose less.
Wars Awesome Gale
Narcissism runs fast
in partisan vein,
steadfastly ... warriors strength
fades away, with little gain.
Engagement with foes,
married to spite,
non did return
so silent the night.
drenched by times noble reign,
how sadly drips blood...
such erroneous mortal drain.
Will the world preserve memories
the sacrifices bestow,
as we submerge the caricature self,
so loyally we know.
Laments flow strong
an' death tides surge higher,
fight wars awesome gale,
the consequence dire.
Their loves drift freely
'n clouds in the sky,
crossing beyond bridges,
where no body can lie.
To the east,
to the west,
new seeds set to grow,
blooms in fresh seasons
may cast ... a truer, inspirational show.
I wrote this poem a few years ago whilst on a cruise ship. It was 6pm and I was just getting ready to go to a gala dinner when this poem come floating into my head. The next day I received, the Cruise Times fax and it told of a celebration called, "The Day of the Dead" in
where there are two cemeteries. One for the poor, and one for the rich. I had never heard of the Day of the Dead before that news release and the poem was composed before I knew what it meant. New Orleans
A Passing's Lament
Windmill's turn in an empty shell,
A tree falls silently in a faraway dell,
Modes of style, in a void surround,
Crumbs of time, sinking into the ground.
Drops of rain down a window pane,
The taste of sweetness of the sugar cane,
Merging strands, distant rays of light,
Shades of blackness, in the still of the night.
Fading laughter, in the valley of death,
Echo to echo ... mountains of wasting wealth,
Tormented minds, rewards of a King's purse,
Human conditioning ... a fatal curse.
Chill winds bite, shivers in the nape,
Purple velour, the caskets drape,
Sobbing wails, fields of decay and ferment,
Memories and desires, they came and they went.
The echoes of a passing lament.
This poem goes beyond reason and logic... It sends the mind on a blissful journey of delight.
Travel to Infinite Places
Music drifts through a thousand minds,
Through doors, windows, walls.
Serenades sail tranquil waters,
Ebb in one ear, flow out the next,
Ever onward, navigating infinity,
Lovers touch, sending electric messages beyond space and time,
Turquoise crystal thoughts blow freely,
Across oceans, mountains, plains,
Visions of extreme delights fly faster than light,
Beaming sensitivity beyond the eye,
Taste buds explode into magical dimensions.
Perfumed orchid neurons bring forth aroma's magical sensation,
Be aware; joy of life entwines the wise one's Globe.
Travel along beyond thought ... to infinite places.
The human body is 80% water. It is water that has been flowing around earth in different forms for billions of years and will continue to do so well after my poems turn to dust. This poem gives one, from the infinite dimensions of human make-up, that I feel is important for me to be aware.
The ocean; she pays no mind...no heed to herself,
she allows herself to wander freely,
to evaporate from sight,
then; to appear in the sky
as free forming, towering clouds
any shape - stratospheric ...any size - translucent
black, white and all shades in-between,
to wander where she may,
night or day,
wander freely across mountains,
across valleys...across dales,
the ocean...she cares not,
she has no worries, no woes,
the ocean knows that all...
all that evaporates and travels far...far away,
will one day return home and be content,
to tell of sublime tales...of noble adventures,
that blew them off course,
thrust by hurricanes and mighty winds,
unleashing such monumental power,
gargantuan bolts of sound,
and awesome streaking light,
magnificent view they had,
of all natures scenery,
as the metamorphism,
reversed itself once again,
and transpired as lucid rain-drops,
into streams, ponds, lakes,
seeping into earths crust,
flowing into raging rivers,
within the rhythm of time.
Whenever I feel as though I need some reassurance of living in my authentic attire of joy, this poem strikes a light of veracity to guide my path.
The Land Where Soul Play.
An awakening to dawn mist on the water,
flowing Spirit's streams to God's alter,
purifying essence whistles through the trees,
images of the sacred blowing in the breeze.
Flights of fancy from birds up high,
feathers of many colors filtering through the sky,
sun, moon and stars envelops Earth's dome,
we're all birds of a feather, finding our way home.
Spectacle of mesmerizing movements flashing in the mind,
melting pots of humans, secrets hard to find,
love all embracing whispers on the wind,
no physical presence, ecstasy from a light dimmed.
Gifts of joy enmeshed in music and dance,
visualizing images filtering in a trance,
warriors in a drumbeat at journeys end,
back to the womb of creation enmeshed in a substance blend.
Wondrous dreams in the stillness of the dark,
journey on uplifting voyages in paradise park,
thunder and lightening points the way,
a prelude to the land where Soul's play.
The final poem goes back to the first line of my interview with you Jim. It is important to me for I do want to always be true to myself. This poem is a good reminder who I am. Thank you once again for taking the time to interview me.
A Merry Old Soul
I suppose you might say I look antiquated, but I don't feel it,
Strange is it not?
You would think I would be showing my age by now,
After all; I have been around for a lot longer than three million
What's that I hear you say,
"How can that be?'
How can that not be, for I have nowhere to go.
Whilst it is true I persistently change my roles,
I still enjoy every one of them... come what may.
On the surface,
it could seem there is a lot of havoc and mayhem
in my existence,
But it is just that; Only on the surface.
Many of the characters I play appear to be enduring life,
Running around like headless chickens,
Taking things; Oh! so seriously,
Worries and anxieties abound.
And I sense it all and yet; I still love life's featured charades,
The make-believe world of deceits and lies,
My, my; What pretense. What grievous dis-ease's of the mind.
I'm glad it is only fabricate illusions.
It fashions a variety show of drama, adventure, comedy
Not to mention sorrow,
"No! Please don't mention sorrow" I hear you cry,
Well, I did mention sorrow, for it all seems so real to the
personalities I play,
Good Game; Good Game.
You see; I have no need of pipe or fiddlers three,
For no matter what... I Am A Merry Old Soul,
For no matter what... No matter lasts,
Hee hee... Sorry but I have to chuckle,
For in reality... I will always wonder freely,
It looks like it's the end of another innings,
Pull up the wickets and change the rules then.
I presume I'll have a heavenly rest stop.
An episode of doing nothing in my true attire of vacuity,
It's all the same to me, It's all so sublimely divine,
What a great boss I have and no wages of sin.
I must slip into something a little more comfortable,
I guess it's time for a cup of spirituali-tea,
Bring on the elixir of life.
Be a dear and pass the honey.