By Todd Swift, UK (Published in Issue 14)
The poem that failed me failed you
It’s never clear what words can make
Appear, or give. Some lives were saved
By words, not mine or yours. Sour
The taste of promises unkept, on doors.
Knocked up, some laws, that changed
Some states. But protest never dulls
Spires so much as switches plates,
Or the bread that’s sliced. Interrupted,
But what was stopped was not rolling,
Can start again like any dull machine.
How much did blacksmiths derive
From their sparking trade? The faces
Up in churches made of stone scowl
Down the likeness of their makers
And are shadowed without sign
Of renown; unloved unless webs save;
So too do lovers splinter away on boles
To mark a green thing running, Christian
Twining crossing desire and fame – lies
Because what’s named is not just
The same as the thing signs indicate –
Worse, a replica; so writing love forever
Doesn’t promise heaven; only gestures
At the far blue air, at billowing rain.
Todd Swift is lecturer in creative writing at Kingston University London and poet-in-residence at Oxfam GB. His poetry collections include Seaway: New and Selected Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2008).