3 Poems by John Swain

Pic by Jaymantri




Night rose over the waves,
the rain of night dove through waves of air,
moon view, the sea comes to fix your headdress,
the sea comes to meet the rain
falling through infinite space,
you lay your waters’ arms across the black shore
to bury the moon in a wicker fish basket.

Lightning in the silver trees behind the beach,
the hidden moon your gazing pool,
you cut lavender bracts to perfume
the silent waters striding like a lion to your waist,
you touch the water to be alone,
black flowers appear like a wound at each finger
and then collapse before the orbiting.

Night conjures the inner voice of your solitude,
the pure night will nourish the mouth of your abandon.


The Levitation

Spin of the hill where the black rocks break at sea,
silver shale wet, the jade slopes salt, jade water rolling the coves,
contemplation of the turning form,
the braided climbing rope slips with mist in your hands,
a raw grip left at the handhold, the line tightens at the bolt.

Below, the waves lull in green backlight, the day moon grey,
the waves float a trail of the purple moon bathing,
the waters open a rising globe
as the sphere of sky and sea separates in echelon,
the distance of the moment in tension through winds stringed with a gut.

The sea surface trembles building sea to meet the dark cliffs,
the poppy green water contours the ray of your diving length,
the upsurge return blurs with swimming horses,
warm at the neck and unfearing, you swim pulse in the moon bell.


Street of Crowns

A circle of white birds, your pearl
pendant clasped as the azure flashes merge
and disperse in uncertain intervals.

The sky rises like a grove of viburnum,
vines twist on the hill level at the chained gates,
glass flowers burst from your pouring vial.

Sun touches the rush as the hillside falls from the air,
the weight of your body presses to color
a mirrored tile with the world’s absence.

The pavilion spirals unfurling like a crescent,
a warm silver run traces the inner arm
of our fragile meridians.

Dans le rue des Couronnes, on the street of crowns,
I follow the form of the word to your silence.


About the Author



John Swain is an American poet whose most recent chapbook, On the Roof Terrace, was published in France.