Poetry Blog by Ray Miller

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Isobel on Wild Geese in Tesco (Fri, 26 Sep 2014 07:20 pm)

Ray Miller on Eastnor Castle Easter Monday (Fri, 26 Sep 2014 06:04 pm)

Isobel on Eastnor Castle Easter Monday (Wed, 24 Sep 2014 03:09 pm)

Laura Taylor on Wild Geese in Tesco (Wed, 26 Feb 2014 02:00 pm)

on And when we were sat in the Odeon (Fri, 29 Nov 2013 05:32 pm)

Isobel on And when we were sat in the Odeon (Fri, 29 Nov 2013 12:45 pm)

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Ray Miller on He knew the score (Tue, 26 Nov 2013 10:05 pm)

Margaret Holbrook on He knew the score (Tue, 26 Nov 2013 09:52 am)

Dave Bradley on He knew the score (Tue, 26 Nov 2013 08:46 am)


You’re a literary lion!
Yet you’re invariably sighing
as you prowl round the page
lines escape from the cage
and the herd run off trumpeting.

Or was that I heard a siren?
You’ve been out clubbing with Lord Byron,
I’m digging your deeds done abroad
with a pen and a sword,
at least that’s what I thought –
now I’m strangely discomfited.

There’s been a local revolution:

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Eastnor Castle Easter Monday

~~Eastnor Castle Easter Monday

The bluebells, he decides, are a slide made of sky
lying over the hill where I’d like to decline
his interrogation fired ad infinitum
until all the eggs have been counted and eaten.
The Question-Master needs instant answers
and a database big as The Bible.
The family might call it repartee -
for me it’s a case of survival.

Dandelions can be yellow or whi...

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Wild Geese in Tesco

You do not have to be free.
You do not have to point yourself through sky, 
over rivers and mountains for your value to soar.
You only have to let plucked and frozen
flesh, naked and pimply, nestle
on a sterile white shelf. See
how much more is your worth.
Meanwhile the talk is of how long
to leave you and the climate that most
enhances your taste; we discuss and dissect
our favourite pa...

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And when we were sat in the Odeon

the day after the social worker phoned,
Remember To Leave Reality At Home
the voice from behind the curtains boomed.
She said Ray, have you left ‘ality at home?
I nodded and laughed. She frowned
and asked What is ‘ality, Ray?
as if I were The Light, The Truth and The Way
and would never dream of letting her down.

And when the school report suggests
she’s below average intelligence
I reca...

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He knew the score

and said suicide is like hanging
up your boots when the season
is early doors. It’s going to ground
too soon, not waiting for the whistle
and refusing to play through
the pain barrier once more.
It’s not being able to look
at yourself in the mirror
because you’ve lost the dressing room.
Unbelievable, really. He went straight
past us like we weren’t there.
He was just giving us the eyes.


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Soul Music

Suppose there are souls that really exist

in eternity on the other side

where 24/7 evangelists

promise death to those who bridge the void.


Suppose them sitting in homes and cities

in their virtual, spiritual forms.

Would their ghostly, gaseous entities

risk it all for a stirring of warmth?


Suppose that a soul accessed a peep-hole

and observed you ...

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Potted History

The way you don’t handle a cue like a broom

sweeps up and tucks me in the pocket of your room.


How you chalk the tip before you bend and break;

I stand up to study the positions you take.


As we kiss I am cast upon cushioned walls

before coming to rest within gaping jaws.


Using top and bottom to maintain command

you pull me across with the bridge of ...

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When I Was Your Father

I used to call you Clockwork Mouse -

wound by an invisible hand

on waking and off you went


like Mr Fluff, the cat who leapt

from our fifth floor flat

to a broken leg and holes in the head.


We paid the visits to the vet,

bathed the wounds and he bounced back

into the nest for several years


and a new address; then his face

appeared less an...

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My Favourite Glass

We’d ring in sick and drink a draught,

stick a needle on a turning track,

jump in bed and shag ourselves daft

to Martha Reeves singing Jimmy Mack.

When I tried to punch above my class

your shoulder straps outranked my cap

as you went Wham and I went Clash

with a nose turned up in the aftermath

of jig and fizz that flowed and splashed

from early doors ‘til whe...

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Lady Jane Grey was little more

than a holiday home, a change of air;

Elizabeth Woodville was Long Stay –

students dreaded placement there.

Hers was a thicker atmosphere: moon-fogged

with menace throughout the year.

It’s the Western Australian Blue Mist, Doctor,

or else I’m losing my eyesight.


When a man said he wanted to meditate

it mea...

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Lady Jane Grey was little more

than a holiday home, a change of air;

Elizabeth Woodville was Long Stay –

students dreaded placement there.

Hers was a thicker atmosphere: moon-fogged

with menace throughout the year.

It’s the Western Australian Blue Mist, Doctor,

or else I’m losing my eyesight.


When a man said he wanted to meditate

it meant he wanted to ...

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Bethlehem is bolted shut

and there no jobs in this England

The innkeepers hold cardboard doors

and he been on his bike so long

That say no room and we full up

for twenty, forty miles and more

An angel’s crying for her mum

and he has turned his cycle round

The shepherd cannot find his flock

and wise men have all been and gone

The donkey’s ears have fallen ...

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Alf Ramsey - My Part In His Success

Around the time Cup Finals

were first shown on television

and the towers were erected   

overlooking our back garden  

with the lawn striped and manicured

just like Wembley Stadium;  

the Chief Scout would be watching

from the 6th or 7th storey

as I tried to keep the ball within

the central midfield area

away from the flower beds

my father set such st...

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Path of Peace

It wasn’t that her parents wouldn’t attend

because the wedding clashed with Remembrance Day

and poppies exerted a powerful hold;

nor that my Best Man was newly diagnosed

as a schizophrenic cum manic depressive –

though we were both in two minds about that.

Neither that my brother-in-law turned up

in a T-shirt bearing the legend



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Sky Garden

He was of a kind that’s highly individual

and his feet were barely felt upon the earth;

not exactly selfless but so spiritual

though he hadn’t followed Jesus since Rebirth


as an Astral Avatar known as Sky Garden -

which hadn’t pleased his parents very much;

they’d have rather he remained their little Gordon

but while he tried to find himself they kept in touch...

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We reel ‘em in with Ritalin,

(Big Pharma pockets the profit)

Viagra and the Vitamin –

it gets so hard to come off it.


Increasing dependency doses,

the playground exchange of bright sweets;

damned by a dual diagnosis,

the endless prescription repeats.


To manage stress a bullet-proof vest

is obligatory in these quarters:

the weight you can’t get...

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They reckon at 7 you’re too old

for adoption. I look down on your head

that’s too tiny to fit in a swimming cap

or a bicycle helmet and trails behind

your peers by 4 years in reading and writing ;

at your inside out and backward dress

bespattered with pie and think on all

of the words you forget from one line

to the next; the daily reports of doors slammed


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Betting on a Photo

On the back of a picture of me as a nipper

are the names of four horses: six doubles,

four trebles and a roll-up. I’m bearing

the stamp of my father already,    

his Daily Mirror crossword precision.


I try to imagine when it was written:

rationing over - no shortage of paper;

betting illegal but under the counter;

in a hurry, late for work or the boozer,


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Donkey Jacket

They said it was the longest suicide note in history

and created Care in the Community.


They said it was disrespectful to wear a donkey jacket

and then they sold us shell suits.


They said that council houses were rubbish

and lots of people bought one.


They said there was an enemy within

and gave birth to New Labour.


They said there was no ...

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The Dark Ages

Claudia Cardinale was wearing

white linen as old as the century,

milky light clinging to the clouds

of her breasts. Her voice no more dubbed

too dangerous for  cinema. Her sweat

shone as cold as a magazine cover

and the eyes of the audience blinded

by labour and driven mechanical.

I’d love to retrace the wheels of her carriage

and carry her luggage all the wa...

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Black Market

Someone whispered on a fiddle,

a siren blew that hung and stretched

out long notes, slung slow rope

around my baby’s neck.

Man came with tape and pencil,

cut him and coloured him grey,

cast a net and like a marionette -

pull on a string and he sway.

My man look sorry

now he nobody

these melancholy days.


An agent of the devil,

Jezebel in disg...

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The evening paper and the scuffers

brought revelation. Sammy wasn’t even

his name I discovered and the prayers  

I’d offered were misplaced and useless

or somebody else had stolen salvation.

He wore Ben Shermans, Doc Martens

and a Harrington jacket but a uniform  

isn’t a suit of armour and a five-inch blade

punctured his stuffing, left him clutching

at nothi...

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Napoleon’s Hat is there, so they say,

on the pink granite coast where water’s weight

has rounded rocks to a sculptured flesh

etched frozen rosé, creating shapes

of Turtle, Bear and Elephant.


We took the customs officers path

and came upon an Upturned Foot

and The Pile of Crêpes. At Ploumanach

two scuba divers, female, French,  

surfaced crablike and cli...

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We’re sharing a bottle of vin de table

and your mother’s letter

wonders who you take after -

all this gallivanting palaver.


You took after me across La Manche

swapping one tongue for another,

sliding down France’s helter-skelter

wherever our thumbs meandered.


You slept through a film in Angoulême.

I stabbed the stomach of un étranger

whose fin...

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I met Madonna in a dream run

by the Foster Care Co-op 

for parents who’d adopted

from unusual angles.

We split into pairs

to address a dilemma

and she sat at my table

all crucifix and cleavage

revealing how she used

the kids to keep a handle

on the teenage market.

An in-house focus group;

it beats climbing chimneys

and it’s tough at the top


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