Poetry Drawer: Stuffed by Raymond Miller


They were no less than stately homes;
visitors welcome, within reason.
Lovingly sculptured gardens
wreathed the facades of baroque bedlams
just far away enough.

The learned pages of medical journals
were stuffed with architectural theories
explaining how external grandeur
would raise the oppressed
spirits of the mad.

Yet what palace can agreeably
cater for thousands?
From the spaceless dormitories
bursting with the fetid stench
of a blistered and purged humanity,
the wretched spilled out
into the airing courts.
A hollow laughter tolled time
for those marooned
behind the Ha-Ha walls.

You’ve stood this side of them at the zoo:
forbiddingly tall to the inmates,
low enough for visitors
to view unrestrictedly.

A sign requests that you refrain
from feeding the animals.
There are people specially trained
to do that.

Raymond Miller is a Socialist, Aston Villa supporter, and faithful husband. Life’s been a disappointment.

You can find more of Raymond’s work here on Ink Pantry.

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