Category Archives: my poetry

Before and After Tankas

The Flood, High Tide © 2012 A Leon Miler

The night room closes
With Crumbling roses and tea,
With dust and ginger
Steamed in the whistling sea,
Then chilled in old empty sheets.

The round table waits
With silent morning sun-bursts,
Waits for toast and eggs,
For tea poured from decanters,
Sweetened to smooth the bitter.

The night room closes
As lilies unfold slowly
To white butterflies
And kisses that whisper songs,
That flutter cold cheeks at dawn.

The round table waits;
It waits until the clouds will
Spread the cloth and plates,
Cut fresh the morning roses,
Pour the tea out, steeped in rain.

p.s. Yes, I randomly steal my dad’s images for my blog. Please visit his blog here. His artwork always makes my poems seem better, somehow.


The Peregrine Three

Several years ago, my dad, artist A. Leon Miler, asked me to write a poem based on his image of a peregrine:

Because I had lost all my confidence in my ability to write poetry (not that I’d ever had any), I wrote numerous small poems about peregrines and never gave him any of them to use with his bird. Since then, I’ve found three of those peregrine poems. They aren’t great pieces of poetry, but they’re interesting. Take a gander–they’re short enough to hold most people’s attention span.


His perch rests on the highest throne,
a raven wounded by the dart,
whose beak tears at the serpent tail.
He turns from flight to death to hell,
but Peregrine, he tears the heart,
then rises to his tower stone.

A counterpoint to Peregrine,
whose height and gravity and flight
will rein the wind in vacant skies,
in deserts etched with falcon eyes,
he draws his story in the night:
the swan and eagle light his screen.

His lights are visible from earth,
where truth is history’s weight to bear.
His wings flash brilliantly, then dim
and fall below horizon’s rim.
Yet, Peregrine, he rules the air
by snatching those who sing his worth.


He snatches song birds from the air,
the bloody peregrine;
he chants his song on top his throne,
the chiding peregrine;
he gathers movement with his eyes
and rides the air between
the sky and earth and stone, tall tower,
such cunning, peregrine.


The fields are orange—the world’s on fire,
And songbirds flee the acres at break-neck.
They search the river in ribbons of sand—
in glimmers of light—they search for water.
With aching and sorrow in silent currents,
Peregrine snatches the songbirds in flight.

The fields are orange, the world’s on fire,
the chollas are blazing with yellow light,
and Peregrine rises to his tower,
chiding his song, his goodness—the liar,
night from day and spirit from song,
scorching the fields until darkness is fire.


A Chiastic Poem

My God, my heart is broken
as I’m stranded on this table,
from where I spy a corner
of the Jujube, its leaves and dates,
and hear San Miguel’s ringing–
ten peals, and the wind abates.
The light is my only mourner
that moves in shadows, a fable
of health, a glittering token.


El río frío

I found a Spanish version of my poem, The Cold RiverThose of you who know Spanish will notice that it is quite a bit different from the English.  That’s because the Spanish one has rested dormant on a hard drive, and, meanwhile, I’ve revised the English poem.  Oh, and, as usual, don’t be too hard on me.  Spanish is not my first language: no es mi idioma nativo.  But sometimes I feel that it ought to be mi idioma natural.

El río sigue la noche
por poca razón,
lavando las piedras
con risas burlonas.

Él sigue la noche,
su lengua, gris y lisa
prueba la ribera,
sorbos dulces y fríos.

Sin fondo se sigue
hasta, al oir
de sonidos estirados,
murmullos del aire–

quiere parar, pero, en vez,
sigue soñando que
la ribera le espere
en su cuerpo.

Sus pliegues apretados
y suspiros largos,
alcanzan las luces allá
donde mezclan colores.

El río refleja la noche
burlando la;
aun los colores en el aire
no están tocando.