Gary Miller Songs

"As a song poet there are few in the world today to match him"
Green Man Review, USA

 

Unlocked Gate

 

Lyrics

The trapper-lad from Percy Main

With an inward eye and an outward flame

And a restless soul no books could tame

Rose up from the ground


And he burst forth like an outcast flower

Seizing on his lucky hour

His poetry poured like an endless shower

All nature to expound


Straight from the heart, to the heart

His words more keen than a piercing dart

Of weeping mothers torn apart

Like he was one-way bound


And as the big pit-wheel kept turning

Through his years of toil and learning

He found that he was earning

Freedom from his fate


But by the coal-fires burning

He found his stomach churning

For in his mind he kept returning

Back through life’s unlocked gate


In the dusty books upon the shelves

At the Lit and Phil where a deep mind delves

Into the corners of ourselves

Where no voice can be heard


He buried his head and he set his mask

And struggled to rise up to the task

To advise the borrowers who came to ask

Upon the written word


He returned to the mines until another chance came

But a porter’s work was not the same

So another bridge burned but who could blame

This flightless, restless bird


As the wheels of life kept turning

Through the chances he kept spurning

His heart was ever-yearning

To be back where he might belong


For he’d grown more discerning

On all matters concerning

What keeps the pages turning

Through the circle of life’s song


“I have gazed upon the wonders of mountains and lakes

Marvelled at the design of stars and snowflakes

Delighted in wandering by farms and by streams

Scrambled up hills where sunlight streams


I’ve pondered the mysteries of a life beyond

To many questions I felt the need to respond

I’ve been vocal in social circles but then

Retreated into solitude with my books and my pen”


Onwards now to Shakespeare’s abode

But this humble man bore a heavy load

All the patronage and the favours owed

For a life that did not suit


A poet’s paradise for sure

But for the bores he had to endure

Even the garden held no allure

For one who could not take root


He listened to his inner harp

His gifted mind was shrewd and sharp

His instinct led past cliff and scarp

Not for him the easy route


The carriage wheels kept turning

Towards the home fires burning

And for all his years of learning

He found he had no fear


For the chances he was spurning

Nor the bridges he was burning

The circle had ceased turning

And he was finally happy here



(Gary Miller)


© 2019 Whippet Records

Copyright Control MCPS/PRS

 

Notes

In 2017, Gary was commissioned by Northern Voices Community Projects to write a song for 'The Pitmen Poet of Percy Main'a book celebrating the life and work of Joseph Skipsey, published to mark the 185th anniversary of his birth in the colliery village of Percy Main on 17th March 1832. The song he wrote was 'A Dream of Joseph Skipsey'.


Since then, Gary has written further songs about Joseph Skipsey, including 'Show Me' and 'Unlocked Gate'.


An EP release of Joseph Skipsey songs is tentatively planned, to include all of the above songs, together with a number of Joseph Skipsey's own poems set to music by Gary.

Illustration by Helen Temperley

 
 

Currently unreleased