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A NEW POEM BY TODD SWIFT



Autobiography of a lost soul

I thought to be recognised
knowing myself as special
as anyone has ever been
since the moon shone

on Caligula’s cruel breast
or later on the cane
of Chaplin; on the bent wing
of that aviatrix who went

down in the unspeaking sea;
all those who came before me
including that painter
of wild nights of blue disorder;

I vibrated with their frequency
or so I felt, self-grasping
and self-revelatory –
but sought out the lofty critics

eager to welcome evaluation,
to crown my greatness.
None stepped down to laurel
my brow.  I began to sense

there was no order or control
at the fashionable core of art,
and so, my new philosophy
was to go to God directly,

for union with such an authority
would confer an overwhelming
aura of utter dignity.
However natural

all the loneliness
of my unjoined genius,
I soon tired
of spiritual practices, turning

instead to cold love for hire,
tedious nights in parlours
spending long hours on games
of chance.  All because

no figure or force higher than
I was came forward
to ask me to the dance, posterity.
Then, I met a person, so fierce

and strong, I thought no more
of what a grave might say.
In her blessings a new song
came to dominate my mind,

in which brilliance was the sun,
and in the morning and the night
were all the needs of prize and play.


poem by Todd Swift, September 2013
London
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