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 The yellow and green rose, and the pink rock,

The chestnuts blooming, the cobblestone square,

Our Lady’s tower rising everywhere,

Dark timbered fronts; the mechanical clock

Whose rooster crows three times for Peter’s flock,

The Apostles, the old man’s and the child’s share

Of time—aspire I’d say to make me stare

And stop. I praise what I might otherwise mock,

The locked contingencies, the stock of losses,

Bright liquidity everywhere channeled,

A storied cityscape of destinies

Averted as when, turning, a young Turk tosses

His hands in the air and my chest’s pummeled,

“My brother, forgive me!” and my thoughts freeze.


In Watch, Greg Miller describes a fresh purposefulness in his life and achieves a new level of poetic thinking and composition in his writing. Artfully combining the religious and secular worldviews in his own sense of human culture, Miller complicates our understanding of all three. The poems in Watch sift layers of natural and human history across several continents, observing paintings, archeological digs, cityscapes, seascapes, landscapes—all in an attempt to envision a clear, grounded spiritual life. Employing an impressive array of traditional meters and various kinds of free verse, Miller’s poems celebrate communities both invented and real.

Praise for Iron Wheel

“Miller demonstrates that what Eliot said about reading a poem may be equally true of writing them: the best thing ‘is to be very, very intelligent’ and intelligence is not the same as erudition. Whether the world is made, found, or named, Miller offers an engaging portrait of things as they are.’’—David Orr, Poetry


88 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2009

Phoenix Poets



“Miller explores the shared terrain of the spiritual and the quotidian through carefully wrought poems that also reveal a great depth of emotional intelligence. The author clearly has an affinity for poetry that has come to be called metaphysical—a noted literary critic, he recently published George Herbert’s ‘Holy Patterns’—but he wears his scholarship lightly.”

Library Journal

“Greg Miller has the rare ability to make his devotional energies seem felt and available to all of us, in poems that are unlike anyone else’s in their intelligence and passionate meditation and mediation of the Christian myth. He’s a latter-day, wised-up Adam who despite his exile from the garden can’t suppress his desire to praise. He sees the natural world with a clear, joyous eye and achieves his own sense of supernatural abundance from the purged accuracy of his descriptions.”

Tom Sleigh

“In Watch we see Greg Miller at the top of his powers, inspired by the world of art and the world of nature, by moments of pain and moments of joy, by relationships and by solitude. These poems are rich and varied and haunting. They are, to use Eudora Welty’s words, ‘made by the imagination for the imagination.’”

Suzanne Marrs, author of Eudora Welty: A Biography

“Time after time, in poem after poem in this book, the brave colors of the creatures of this God-given world are celebrated as they survive, sometimes barely survive, or not, as the light turns: a flower awakening; an oak tree splitting in a storm; a loon diving; a tom turkey strutting; a rock lizard flecked with rocklike black and gray; human beings—a saint in a painting about who she was and what she suffered; Dinka refugees in a church, sharing a meal, and dancing; the fragments in a field of a long-gone culture, left there to teach us what they were. These beautiful attentive poems keep watch.”

David Ferry

Table of Contents



From the Heights




Not Proud

“Pain’s Required, Suffering Optional”

Gascoigne’s Weeds







White (I)

The Future Queen


White (II)


In Arles

Water and Light

Le Cheval Blanc (Gauguin)

Caravaggio’s Saint Ursula

Late April Snow

Between Bonnard’s L’Atelier au Mimosa and L’Auto-Portrait


La Vierge de Douleur

Capital Towers




Common Ways




Holy Conversation


Come Out


The Lotus Tree

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