back toJacket2

Jacket 19 — October 2002   |   # 19  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |
This issue of Jacket is a collaboration with Verse magazine

Leonard Schwartz

Three poems


You who endow me
with eel, I want to taste you
who conditions like the wind,
speaks in the watercourse.

Disseminated among reeds, you run
as a marshland runs, slowly.
Knees like fishing beds I wade in worship.
Deliberate as sea lavender against calf.

Yet nothing is outward in you, not even
driving rain, loosening the lagoon’s
buried relics, preparing the next sediment
as potsherds wash up beside long flamingo dresses.

Whence the light undergoes — submersion.
Which will make a murky subject in that half-world
flocking so seasonally into this field where I am dying.
How will I who am not alluvial layer myself?

I will go to the beach. I will offer myself
as earthenware, in emanation you will be a leaf.
One is the clay, one goes on yielding.
Inside the newly assumed shell I quiver at the beak.

Disorder Sonnet

Left to its nuns the soul is literary,
nouns loaded onto provided transportation.
Yet it’s the unbundled traveler
that goes further into beauty,
her voudon that makes elegance from meat.
A light so nude it disorients dunes.
Spill of our forms, foam
and thunderstorm that shudders
in almost delighted loins,
O tolerant sieve that daily flaunts
its latency over incoherence, nightflower.
An exile its never forced.
The svelte caravan advances in glorious disarray.
Left to its verbs the soul is always fervent.      

Point of Entry I

Certain portals, happily, just hang around:
           closed, they’re open:
           hinged but limpid
the engravings just teem from their surfaces.

Yet one lusts for a material language.
Air as still as a sad suitor
who inwardly, alas, oscillates
before such portal, in the swollen interval of doubt.
Who sees none of those fluid but inalterable forms
           spawned just there, swimming outwards.

Is it the Queen of Thought that is
maladroit, or are those your own rough renderings?
Mood caws, swift to project a wall.
A crow as black as tea leaves, but
it’s with hot tea that nature kneels to human action,
cups of porcelain fill with running life —

In which each ripple of light opens a door.

Like that sitting rock I’d rejoiced over.
Or that moist sapling delicately anchored
           on the far-off hill.

And when it comes time to name
those manifold willows whose frail bodies
each weep differently, for a different sun,
all immense beneath the creeping curtain of fire,

Then from the marvelous river-banks
lifts a single silken bridge.

A white moth, this evening’s motif, hunts its mate
through orientalized labryinths of lace.

Jacket 19 — October 2002  Contents page
Select other issues of the magazine from the | Jacket catalog | read about Jacket |
Other links: | top | homepage | bookstores | literary links | internet design |
Copyright Notice: Please respect the fact that this material is copyright. It is made available here without charge for personal use only. It may not be stored, displayed, published, reproduced, or used for any other purpose

This material is copyright © Leonard Schwartz and Jacket magazine 2002
The URL address of this page is