Transparent Words - Poetry


4 Poems by David Swan




Child Soldier


I am a child soldier,

but I have never seen

the plains of Africa.

My battlefields

are the living rooms

of tired tenement blocks,

semi detached houses and

mansions everywhere.


I stare out across carpets

and see shrapnel of smashed

tea cups and mashed potato

smeared down the walls.

Broken records lie 7 atop

endlessly playing 'American Pie'.


I protect the Angel,

an embattled soul who holds her

bottle of martini aloft

like Joan of Arc &

sings the blues like a

dying Billie Holiday.


And you my sodden father,

drunken old teacher,

Zen master with war weary tales.

You would often cry,

and the tears would mix with

the spit from your palms

molded into mine.


Don't you know the Queensberry rules ?

She can't dance like a butterfly,

but you sure sting like a bee,

and now the whole world to me is Joe Frazier,

and I am Muhammad Ali.




Last Words


He hung there like a fake Rembrandt,

beautiful but false.

His slender arms stretched like twisted towels,

His legs delicately crossed,

the beauty of his body raised before me,

an unwilling shroud.

The blood from his forehead

moistened his lips as he raised his head

and said to me


"God is dead ! God is dead! Tell the people so

the future dies with me

and your father never was

and your prayers remain unanswered

just lonely echoes in the blanket of silence.”






Straight lines no curves,

history bombed flat,

a cold naked canvas at

the mercy of adventurous architects.


Meticulous plans laid down from the

dreams of scholarly men,

turning ghosts whispers

from the ethereal to the angular.


Some say dispassionate, abstract

forms of tactless construction.

I see true peace in symmetry

A prayer in concrete form.




Shootin’ Rabbits


The best time is early in the morning

when the sun lifts its eyelids

across the desert floor and the smoky

swirls of burning oil are chased away.


The smell of cheap black coffee

that catches the back of your throat,

the sight of your first rabbit. My gun

is the cross on which I die daily.


When caught in the cross hairs

my bullet could be galaxies away,

a message from the angels of death

chosen by God and not me.


How could you be so cold they say?

But I was trained to shoot rabbits,

it was the gun or penitentiary,

trained to ‘not’ think, just shoot.


There’s no room for a question,

for a chance to say 'drop your weapons'

ask what side you’re on, there’s only

one side for me, Nationalism.


To kill is drilled into me, to question,

left by officers. They provide

the excuses, one minute a hero next

a psychopath.


They say, why didn't you identify?

3 women, 1 child and a man,

daylight in downtown Baghdad.

Faces of hatred thrown at me.


But what some say is wrong,

is some times considered right

and war strips you of your humanity,

takes your soul and nails it to a cross.




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