Selected Poems II


John Swain

On the Hillside Stair

Ramparts on the black river
with the violets,
stone spires
the gold thread embroidered
on the first king's shirt.

Her tender hazel eyes
given light
as we descend 
kiss to kiss
into the mute sky's oblivion. 

Grey rain on the city at night
and the wine
beneath the hillside stair,
the bell tower knells
among the trees of suffering.

Marigold Heraldry

Sun horse in the young willows,
blue and marigold its heraldry
with the night behind
I rise in time
with each shadowing gallop
toward the mountain. 

Clear water down the angle
of earth from snow melt
beginning a river
above my tongue
to speak her being this wilderness
reborn without a name.

The golden eagle rises
upon a wheel of fire
and then returns to the arm of a girl
set inside her spiraling tree
to be revealed
in the myth for a new mind. 

To the Low

Snow over the hill,
the grey river rises
in the tomb of the valley.
Steam off the deer
colors the sky in white
for my last breath.
Water of my body
flow away from the riders
to the unknown low.

I listen to you give
a voice to stillness
with this winter grieving
like camellia
below the dark stone.