Wisconsin Shore

A Poem by John Swain

The lighthouse a stone pile on Pilot Island
as the lake changes through the blue spectrum
and then into gun metal.
Sister islands rise in the whitecaps,
I fade to the swale like a labyrinth
the black bear devours.
The birches and maple burning a pyre at fall
for the great ships to ride into death
like a clear passage through the bay of the bays.
High waves break on the white shell shore
under the green house
as a bald eagle wing trembles raining lake droplets.
The water smoothed glass like an agate singers eye
I kissed in repentance for my life
awaiting the chord of the imagining light.


Black Shawl

A Poem by John Swain

Sun and hillside become
the same drought color
in the coastal morning.
Two snakes lie entwined,
one killed the other
as I awake to my purpose.
I try to find a stream of water
like your black shawl
flowing under the railing.
When I return
from below the omens
you left the essence
of lavender and sandalwood
as we diffuse.
A bird on your tongue
flew through the center
of your skull
into a summoning eye.