Three Poems by John Swain


Grasses at the stream
provide a tinder to lie
and now I am numb
to the barking
and the mountain.
A child girl whispered
into a rabbit skull
while I brought gifts
of tea and red silk
from the other land
I travelled by myself.
I mended the liveries
without obligation
or self-impetus
before the discipline
we turned into an art.

The Anvil

Pianos on the anvil
I took the blade
and hammer to myself
when you were vapor
outside white curtains.
I followed the shadow
like a royal.
I forewent the turning
of the floor
and resumed a service
to your word
by becoming a liar
like a beast sated
upon its own tongue.
And in a wind of glass
I cannot move to atone.


Sadness of the rains
glowing dark
when you did not want
to remember
that loving time.
Peridots filled a bowl
we swam when the sea
caught green stars
leaving the night sky
spun upon a loom
purging my thought
of illusions of order
as the breeze tousled your robe.
I could not disobey
the voices welling
upward like the hurt
brought upon mother.
Salt washed on an anchor
I could not lift
from the sand.

Profile: John Swain

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