COG Poetry Awards finalist R. H. Miller is Emeritus Professor of English and Humanities at the University of Louisville.  Besides his scholarly writings, he has published a memoir, Deaf Hearing Boy (Gallaudet UP, 2004) and a booklet of poems, A Long Glance.  In addition, he has published poetry and fiction in various magazines. 

2015-2016 FINALIST

Cabin on Tim Pond

R.H. Miller


Once more we are here
in Maine where the pines
greet us like old friends
and the water of the pond laps
against the dock in a soothing
cadence and we lackadaisical
as we are skip stones since
on a crisp fall morning
skipping stones seems the right
thing to do. We catch
lovely brook trout vermiculate
deep green bodies dotted red
and blue dazzling white bellies
black and gold streaked fins.
Our old cabin leans
precariousy to one side
to give its floor a dizzying
slope and the porch slants
downward in sympathy with
the list of the cabin.
But its faults do not trouble us
as we come here not to see
things in perfection
but to see them at a tilt
so we can go back home
walk across level floors
and live upright.



R.H. Miller


Lily Briscoe in To the Lighthouse

So that is marriage
a man and a woman looking at
a girl throwing a ball.
Across the years they sat
side by side watching the girl
throwing the ball. It started
with the man and then there was
the woman and in good time
there was the girl and then the ball.
The woman was first to go
in a fog of pain and then
the man felt the fog surround him
and slowly smother him
and then the girl grew pale
and lank and the fog enveloped her
and she was gone.
There was the ball.


Choose Life

R.H. Miller


It comes on slowly
a tremor in the hand
your mind confused at three a.m.
a pain in your hip
you don’t recall having had before.
Tests are performed muscles pricked
a diagnosis is rendered and you ponder
the long days stretching out
and you think of Jacqueline du Pré
who played the Elgar concerto as no one
had ever played it before and then
knowing she would never play it again
chose life even though
in the end it was taken from her.
Her paradox is now your paradox.
Choose life knowing death will choose you
but choose life.