Author Archives: Jeff Schwaner

About Jeff Schwaner

Poet: three published books of verse and two novels. Studied poetry at Cornell University, where I was awarded the Dorothy Sugarman Poetry Prize and George Harmon Coxe Award for Contributions to Creative Writing. Entrepreneur: Co-founder in 2000 of Booksurge, an author-initiated self publishing and Print On Demand (POD) site purchased by Amazon in 2005. Working guy: manager at LexisNexis. Family man: husband and father of three. New England native and current Virginia resident. Big fan of Blue Ridge mountains and hills and trees in general.

Poem to be read in the middle of the night (iv) / Skyline at dusk

Poem to be read in the middle of the night (iv) / Skyline at dusk

I lean my head back against the transparent beach.
Starlings pull up the garland of the sky and hang it on trees.

Miniature lake, street puddle spilling sky on a tire.
Because they leap, like that boy I was

we make a leap of faith and the stars stand still–
just the illusion of motion on motion

And the moon, black like a lost penny, shining
only on the edge, has been laughed at enough

to appear a smile. The starlings sharpen
their beaks against the wheel of the hour.

Poem to be read in the middle of the night (iii)

Poem to be read in the middle of the night


In the forest path dream where the light slashing through
leaves are words written too fast for me to read

And your spirit animal pauses, its white head shifting as if sniffing
the undergrowth and pulling the colors of the undergrowth into the air

I am the trunk of the blue tree, observing silently as you walk by,
grazed by your eyes like understanding is a wounding season

Still unaware the words in the air are poems I am writing
by the light that filters past me unabsorbed and I’m growing only

to be still, rooted deep at passage’s edge to the turning earth
beneath the whistling sun shuffling its days


-painting by Mary Winifred Hood Schwaner

Poem to be read in the middle of the night (ii)

Poem to be read in the middle of the night

Crow shadow passes across the shrugging pine
In the dark a shadow cannot move

It is paralyzed even when the body moves
the shadow stays you cannot shake it

When light filters through the branches
the bird long gone the shadow will

hold still, as if it were never there

Poem to be read in the middle of the night (i)

Poem to be read in the middle of the night

In the daylight the wind in high branches
can at least be seen if not heard

In the spring it will regain its voice
the trees will put on their hands and applaud

Their applause is what we hear
The performance itself slips through ungrasped

Sky to Star


Sky to Star

How can you lose the sky
When you can look right through me

And see the gears of the earth
Building themselves to your motion

Down on the ground where it’s all
silent as time I weave the weeds

On the river of dirt
Into my invented life

But the least rooted stalk
Will have none of it and flows off

and the weeds see through me
They see you   they see you

Last Days

Last Days

Told me to wait another two nights.
and the truth would rise like ice cubes

In a celebratory drink. Without taste
But accentuating the taste that’s there

Already, then adding volume to it
While weakening the taste but by then

It’s not the taste you’re after is it and where
Has it got to finally, absorbed, invisible?

The moon looks full but it’s not. Not that
It matters but it does. Like other things

That never happened but did anyway
And because they never happened never end