'the ultimate spoken word artist' Apples'n'Snakes
'a force of nature' The Guardian

Credit: www.turningimages.co.uk



The tired November night sticks to my face.
I stroll the autumn streets just like we all
Stroll somewhere. Suddenly I slip and fall
And leaf-mulch holds me in its soft embrace.
I think Iíll stay here. I quite like this place,
Itís safe and simple, far from Covidís call.
I lie there on the pavement, feeling small
And insignificant, but then a bass
Note from a passing car stirs me to move,
Stand up and think ĎThis is a metaphor
For how we all fall down then stand up straight
And tell the stories that we tell to prove
Weíve lived through things that few have seen before
So raise your voice to lift the lockdown weight.í

© Ian McMillan

Out now, new pamphlet 'Yes But What Is This? What Exactly?'
by Ian McMillan (Smith|Doorstep)

'I've decided, after last Friday's Sporting History conference, that every conference should have a poet, and it should always be Ian McMillan!'  @RafNicholson 

'the verbal gymnastics of a north country Spike Milligan coupled with the comic timing of Eric Morecambe' Martin Dimery, Frome Festival
'I knew he was good, but heís even better' Wirral Festival of Firsts
'world-class Ė one of todayís greatest poetry performers' Carol Ann Duffy
'inching towards the status of a National Treasure' Andy Kershaw

Ian is poet-in-residence for The Academy of Urbanism and Barnsley FC. He presents The Verb every week on BBC R3 and heís a regular on BBC Breakfast, Coast, Pick of the Week, You & Yours, Last Word and The Arts Show. Heís been a castaway on Desert Island Discs and subject of The South Bank Show. Cats make him sneeze.

ĎIf there's a more engaging presence on the radio than Barnsley poet Ian McMillan and a more entertaining show than Radio 3's The Verb then I don't know ití Stuart Maconie, Radio Times

It is so cold.
The lines of this poem are sinking
Into the unforgiving mud. No clean sheet.

Dawn on a perishing day. The weapons freeze
In the hands of a flat back four. 
The moon hangs in the air like a ball
Skied by a shivering keeper.
All these boys want to do today
Is shoot, and defend, and attack.

Light on a half-raised wave. The trench-faces
Lifted till you see their breath.
A ball flies in the air like a moon
Kicked through the morning mist.
All these boys want to have today 
Is a generous amount of extra time.

No strict formations here, this morning;
No 4-4-2 or 3-5-1
No rules, really. Just a kickabout
With nothing to be won
Except respect. We all showed pictures,
I learned his babyís name.

Now clear the lines of this poem
And letís get on with the game.

No white penalty spot, this morning,
The players are all unknown.
You can see them in the graveyards
In teams of forgotten stone;
The nets are made of tangled wire,
No Manís Land is the pitch,
A flare floodlights the moments
Between the dugouts and the ditch.

A hundred winters ago sky opened
To the sunshine of the sun
Shining on these teams of players
And the sounds of this innocent game.
All these boys want to hear today
Is the final whistle. Let them walk away.

It has been so cold. The lines 
Of these poems will be found, written
In the unforgotten mud like a team sheet.
Remember them. Read them again.

© Ian McMillan for the Premier League and The Poetry Society

Agency: Adrian Mealing & Carole Mealing +44 (0)1684 540366 adrian@uktouring.org.uk  www.uktouring.org.uk  

Page last updated: 16 November 2020