Antony Millen

A Nova Scotian living and writing in New Zealand


Deeds & Words

(à la Robert Frost’s Fire and Ice)

Some tell their stories with words:
Some speak with deeds.
From what I’ve seen of this world’s needs
I hold with those who favour deeds.
But from what I’ve tasted of poetry,
Of Donne and Hughes and Lawrence
It might be of as much worth
To change the world with stirring words.


A Taxonomy of Wants & Needs

Some people yell at others or intimidate them to get what they want.
We call them bullies.

Some people trick and manipulate with words and moods to get what they want.
We call them charismatics.

Some people yell at others or intimidate them to get what they need.
We call them activists.

Some people trick and manipulate with words and moods to get what they need.
We call them politicians.

Some people give up what they need so others can have what they want.
We call them push-overs.

Some people give up what they want so others can have what they need.
We call them parents.

Some people give up what they want so others can have what they want.
We call them compromisers.

Some people give up what they need so others can have what they need.
We call them heroes.


Litany of the Dead

Faith . . . without works
Talent . . . without sharing
Love . . . without giving
Spirit . . . without healing
Power . . . without change
Hope . . . without action
A voice . . . without a song
A guitar . . . without ears
A husband . . . without a wife
Dreams . . . without striving
A river . . . without water
A school . . . without children
Streets . . . without footsteps
Evil . . . without deception, manipulation, hate
. . . is dead.


Somewhere, Someone(Is it you?)

Somewhere, someone is waiting and wondering.
Somewhere, someone is starting and believing.

Somewhere, someone is wiping a tear without shame.
Somewhere, someone has found a new place and is giving it a name.

Somewhere, someone has just fallen with no-one at his side.
Somewhere, someone is taking off his boots for the last time.

Somewhere, someone is planning to do harm.
Somewhere, someone is expecting her reward.

Somewhere, someone is making a promise she can’t keep . . . and won’t keep.
Somewhere, someone is choosing life over sleep.

Somewhere, someone is smiling, but doesn’t know why.
Somewhere, someone is saying goodbye.

Somewhere, someone is forcing his way in.
Somewhere, someone is desperate to be thin.

Somewhere, someone is doing it again.
Somewhere, someone is going the wrong way.

Somewhere, someone is turning and never going back.
Somewhere, someone is wishing he hadn’t said that.

Somewhere, someone is praying his will be done.
Somewhere, someone is asking if she’s the one.

Is it you?
Are you somewhere out there?
Is it you?
Are you the one – the someone?


Roller Blades & Blue Fairy Wings

Cruising, clumping and thumping
along the hard wood corridor,
into the thinly carpeted lounge,
gliding across kitchen linoleum
coming to an abrupt arrest
at the bench drawer ledge.
Then back again, singing
5 year old covers of
Spice Girls & Sesame Street.
“How do you spell B-R-O-D Dad?”
she calls out Dopler fashion,
playfully tugging at the tips
of her birthday blue fairy wings.


Still the World Never Changes

I’ve written a confession or two,
Busted a move in a white man’s dorm.
I’ve gathered my friends and bid them adieu,
Repented and been transformed.

Still the world never changes.

She’s left him behind a molten mess,
Clocked out from shifts of despair.
She’s collected her dreams and turned from the west,
Chosen to ask for her share.

Still the world never changes.

He’s stared at that mountain for far too long,
Chatted up some girls down south.
He’s disregarded the question of how old or how young,
Flown down to see, touch and speak with his mouth.

Still the world never changes.

You’ve spoken one thing and acted another,
Sugarcoated the truth as you see it.
You’ve written them off, no longer your brothers,
Placed His will far below your wit.

Still the world never changes.

We’ve rubbished our garden for all generations,
Charred our lungs with piles of sticks.
We’ve sacrificed our babies with new veneration,
Used their parts to patch up the sick

Still the world never changes.

He’s promised His help, an unshakeable vow,
Lifted us as high as we’ve let Him.
He’s poured out His grace from beginning to now,
Stayed faithful despite our sin.

Still the world never changes.


Rife with Promise

He wasn’t born in a smalltown,
But in a place not big enough to call town,
Not even a hole-in-the-wall town,
Nor in a last-summer-before-fall town.

He was earthy, raised from the dust,
Always sturdy, clear-sighted despite the dust,
Almost worthy, breaking free from dust,
Never dirty, a heart untainted by dust.

He left for the city when it was time.
Folks said, “What a pity” that it was time.
Some got shitty and questioned the time,
And saw calamity beyond the time.

He came and challenged what tested me,
Laughed and scoffed at what bested me.
Where I frowned, he just jested me
And took my burdens and so rested me.

He worked hard, didn’t say much.
When he was tired, wouldn’t say such.
When he was beaten, refused to say “crutch”.
When she called, he had to say “nonesuch”.

He loved her more than I could stand,
But by a friend like that I would stand.
She still leads him round more than I should stand.
Can’t he see it and make one good stand?

He has his flaw just like any man,
Despite the awe of his fellow man.
Could that claw be removed by another man?
Nothing’s so raw as the betrayal of a man.

He doesn’t scope chicks from side to side,
But keeps his gaze fixed on her backside,
Doesn’t feel mixed about his chosen side,
And seems transfixed somewhere on the inside.

He doesn’t know he’s under her spell.
His townsfolk know, and wish him well.
His friends all know but they won’t tell.
I don’t know how to get him out of this Hell.

He was gifted, yes rife with promise,
And he believes he’s got his wife of promise,
But we’ve all watched her make a strife of promise.
Oh – what a waste of a life of promise.

2 thoughts on “Poetry

    1. You are kind, Tania. Thank you. No, other than posting them on here, I don’t share these with anyone. I will look up Glenn Colquhoun – the only thing I’ve read by him is “Uncle Glenn and Me”.

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Antony Millen