William Miller

William Miller’s sixth collection of poetry, Recovering Biker, was published by The Edwin Mellen Press in 2017.  His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The Penn Review, Westerly (Australia), Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner and West Branch.  He lives and writes in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Shelley at Oxford

In a high-pitched reedy voice
he said he’d raise the devil,
then and there, to prove
there wasn’t one.

His rooms were the secret
headquarters of noble sons,
the latest cream of aristocratic
blood unmoved by matins,

the black gowns of dull dons.
The drapes were drawn—
the porters gone for the night
and the town asleep beneath

grey clouds of ignorance.
He spoke Latin well, first
in his class at Eton, the baronet
with brains, no visible fear.

The devil invoked, “quomodi…diaboli,”
never made his entrance
in black and red, a snarl
on his rebel lips.

He disproved, then demanded
the stark appearance
of the hero who climbed Olympus,
stole sacred sparks.

Before the sun shone through
stained-glass windows,
they saw flames in his pale blue eyes,
fire in both elegant hands.

© 2019 William Miller