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C Richard Miles

Updated: Tue, 7 Jun 2011 12:39 am

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Brought up in the rustic backwoods of the Yorkshire Dales, I have been exiled, through self-infliction, in the metropolis of London for over half my life, living near the notorious Murder Mile. It is perhaps to reach an audience for my Northern musings, occasionally with dialect which sounds somewhat alien to listeners in the metropolis that has motivated me to join this group. The few published poems of mine have mainly appeared in Yorkshire-based magazines although others, posted on the Internet, have come to the notice of a more varied audience. Not entirely sure that I qualify to be counted in such an exalted company, I started dabbling in poetry at the somewhat advanced age of 46 in January 2008 since which I have been bold enough (foolish enough? arrogant enough?) to foist myself intermittently on the fringes of the London poetry scene. My poems range from the traditionalist sonnets and strict metrical forms, through the rural and industrial scenes of the North-country, past reflective, nostalgic memories of childhood, to sardonic comment on today's modern lifestyle and humdrum London life, slightly humorous nonsense verse and, finally, feeble attempts at more contemporary poetry, the temptation to revert to trite rhyme prevailing far too often. Please note the first initial to my name - there appear to be at least two established poets with whom I share my name; I would not wish on them the embarrassment of misattribution of one of my petty scribbles!


God’s Marble Collection Our solar system is perhaps a cosmic game of marbles Played by God on the black silk handkerchief of sky. Even though each planet may resemble hard glass globes That he scattered randomly upon the smooth cloth. The garish yellow bulls-eye sun, a giant boiled egg-yolk Carefully placed on the exact epicentre of the sheet. Then Mercury, a small grey glob, still hot from the mouth, Of well-chewed, flavourless, discarded chewing gum. Venus next, a misty, mysterious, cloudy creampuff, But red hot as an extra-strong mint on the tongue. Red, cherry-tomato sized Mars spins slowly on its axis Wizened after a week or two in the chill cabinet of the fridge. The stripy humbug Jupiter, a great gobstopper of a globe Hulks its bulk halfway to the edge of the silk square. Like a jumbo flying saucer, Saturn spins enthusiastically, A fun-filled surprise of fizz in the calm sea of space. The green, unripe nut-case of Uranus totters haphazardly, Skewed sideways at right angles on its slender stalk. Duck-egg blue, cool nugget Neptune sits sole, slinking Out on the margins of dark matter, unconcerned That the is-it, isn’t-it thought-bubble that was Pluto Has been popped permanently by the so-called experts. And, closer to home, the scarred white-alley of the Moon, Battered and cracked with a thousand close encounters With ice-cored comets and asymmetrical asteroids In this Elysian target-practice shooting-gallery. And what of the prize in God’s marble collection? The one he deems more precious than the others, Earth. Earth, that finely-crafted paperweight of Waterford crystal So intricate in its design and diversity, firm yet fragile. Earth gleams ice-white on a blue-green pool, decorated, With the billion millefiori of its unique flora and fauna. But then we glimpse an army of black-ant humanity Crawling malevolently irresistibly across the greenery, Locust-plague-like, indiscriminately decimating and devastating Till all pales to a morbid, turbid, unappealing grey smog. But God may just be resting in his marble game and waiting To pitch his newest shiny acquisition in the rink And will he score a hit and smash to smithereens The one that once he prized which now has lost its sheen? Ingrow Mills Gelled fast by grease-lank lanolin from lambswool Stand eyeless skeletons clawed back from death throes. Bare bones of blood-red brick and black soot. Stripped, glassless mills slink stark in Ingrow. These throng-less halls, which one held thousands In industrial prime who sweat-spun rank skeins Into coarse-slubbed shoddy, or dense worsted, Simply stall and draw the smoke-grey sky in. They shall not long rest roofless, sacked and empty: Developers draw dark arcane design-drafts Which convert, to chic sleek city crash-pads, Sheds that heard rough shouts of low-class workers; And when the smug-smile upstart middle classes Move in with their swish foreign-spun garments, Will these walls feel shaken, shamed to silence That they cannot now themselves supply them? Hairy Canary I've got a rare hairy Canary And I'm right at the end of my tether For the absurd bird is all furry Where it should be covered in feather! And my hairy canary's a worry; It looks quite pathetic and shabby. And its not a bright yellow shade either; It's ginger or possibly tabby! I'll soon take it back to the pet shop If it doesn't shed some of its fur And it won't even sing for its supper; It makes a noise more like a purr! Yes, I will take it back to the pet shop And give the shopkeeper a chat About getting new specs, for I wonder If he misread Canary for Cat! Irises As I plodded paths through Hackney, packed with People deeply drowning in their humdrum London Lifestyle, plugs of gum, untongued, and bunged on Pavements gave my way some sullen colour. Glum grey, gum lay gummed on kerbstones, near where I heard tones of traffic rumbling, grumbling Drivers moaning loads about the roadworks, Church bells telling tales of souls they tolled for. In the drabness, patches of bold blue soon Grabbed me, thriving irises amongst ice- Hardened gardens, first signs of the springtime Climbing out of doubts that frost might weaken. Though not Van Gogh's bunch, this clump, where vandals Had graffitied fences dense with slogans, Shattered drudgery and budged the dullness That I moped, with hopes of better weather. These dwarf flags that forced up, by coarse flagstones, Flagged the passing of this winter's strictness; Spear-slashed harshness that the hardest hearted Passer-by could hardly fail to notice. Though this year we had the meanest season For some time, as sleet and snow oppressed us, Pressed beneath cool earth, these bulbs had nurtured Life to bring to birth to pierce my bleakness.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

Audio entries by C Richard Miles

Let there be Peace (25/06/2016)

Allus tummlin’ i’ summat (02/04/2014)

Windhover (04/03/2014)

Cotton Mills (15/11/2012)

New Year’s Day on Brighton Pier (30/12/2011)

View from a steamed-up bus window (11/12/2011)

Bus Ride to Hebden Bridge (01/08/2011)

Meadow Melody (20/07/2011)

Tewit Nesting (05/07/2011)

Technology! (14/06/2011)

More audio from C Richard Miles…

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Shirley Smothers

Wed 9th May 2012 16:18

Hi Richard. Thanks for commenting on my poem "Nontraditional Haiku about my Poem".
I like to write poetry but I have no illusions of being a poet. This is why I was so surprised. I have found this poem on other websites but have always been credited. I posted a poem prior to this one titled "Haiku about my Stolen Poem", about the same subject.
Thank you

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John Coopey

Sat 16th Jul 2011 22:45

Thanks for the comments on Costa Coffee, Richard. I hope you got those coffees for the Japanese kids on expenses otherwise you'd need a mortgage!

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Andy N

Thu 9th Jun 2011 22:32

thanks for the comments M8 on Summer is here I wrote this after getting soaked at lunchtime on Wednesday and thinking oh god - here we go again - lol.. particularly enjoyed God’s Marble Collection although i suspect that would tie me up in knots trying to perform it - lol A

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