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Poetry by Milner Place 

Milner Place lives in Huddersfield, England.  His 7th poetry collection, Caminante, is his most recent work - released by Wrecking Ball Press (  He has also written The City of Flowers, Piltdown Man and Batwoman, In A Rare Time of Rain, etc.



© 2006 Milner Place





The Song of Eulalio del Rio


Born in a land of dust, bitter in the throat,

in a summer when crows and rats fattened

on corpses that swelled in the cornfields.

The deep song remembered, sung by the river.


The blood of my people couldn't quench

the thirst in this soil, sapped by roots

of cork oaks and olives, while willows

mourned to a reflection of the moon.


Next year my father died of lead;

up north, by some river called Jarama.


                                                            All in the name of their country.

                                                            All in the name of their gods.


First love on a carpet

of almond blossoms.

Black hair

like a night wind;

days long,

the wine cool,

reeds whispering

to a river swimming

to the sea.


                                                            Ripe oranges,

canticles of bees.


The wind salted,

a ship reeking

of tobacco and coffee

steamed into sunsets.

The world uneasy,

flecked by fins

and petrels,


in a wall of palm trees,

a squandering of surf;

songs of mosquitos,

feverish crabs.


Strange birds, strange trees, throttling vines,

the forest like a stagnant sea where swam

great undulating snakes and pig-sized rats.

But the familiar strife for life, breath, bread,

greed, sex, and sorrow in its sable weeds,

was rife. Harsh laughter in dank steamy bars

where mercenary love was sold; envy, sharp

with the steel of knives, hatred an axe;

sins of the old world grafted on the new.

Bird-calls silenced by the whine of saws.


The forest, with its myriad forms of life,

stank of death. Only a voracious few,

jaguar, cayman, eagle and great snake,

might live their lives to die of age.


Chained in the forest by hunger,

                                                            shackled for the reaping of trees.




the hour-glass

has been turned

so many times

the sand's

worn fine,

I still can smell the forest's decadence, its very sweat.

The dead I drank with rotted on its floor. Its rivers

mist-hung in orange dawns, sandbanks where caymans

soaked in sun, and maybe, in a break of trees,

snow white peaks floating above the clouds.


Deep, deeper into that omnivorous world the river

slimmed, the vine-hung walls drew closer, sky-high

mountains grew, drawing me like a haltered mule

to where the trees no longer grazed; cold tumbled

down the screes, and in the wrinkles of the skin

water cascaded, shouted, roared. Atrocious winds

fell on the hungry farmers scratching at rare soil.


                                                            On what the condor leaves,

                                                            the zopilotes feast.

The air too spare

for my poor lungs,

the cold not to my taste.

So downwards then

towards another coast,

towards the setting sun.


A desert whispered,

voices of the dead. The sand

abandoned among empty streets

of cities populous with bones.


A port, another city

with its vitreous towers,

gilded shops and restaurants,

while all around, like garbage

piled, a detritus of shacks.



                                                            at the country club.

                                                            A baby is dead

                                                            at a mother's breast.


Juanita lived beside the shore.

Some mud-brick huts above a bay,

perched on red-rock cliffs

where gallinazos wait for death.


She cleaned and cooked

the still wet fish

I brought her from the field

we reaped. She kindled

a fire to burn at night.


The making of our love

a surf that broke

            and broke

                and broke

in spray.


Two years

and then she died.


The song is sung.








All work is property of Milner Place.




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