With uncanny stealth, an eidolon
feathered with paradoxes, it cut
a startling impression, hypnotic
in its urgency, dread with portent,
a dream-shuddered expectancy
hovering in the sleep of the world,
Sibyl of a thousand years.
Disturbed rushes presage its coming,
scattered leaves hasten before the wind.
Its face lies in the moon, night silhouettes its wings;
silvered on oil-dark water, turgid wake
scrawls a lambent sign; a rustling dark form
glides from the other world to touch ours,
a gate slowly opening to uneasy dawn.
The Swan summons the seeds of old storms;
treacherous stars, cavernous suspense
reveals the tooth of the lion, the maw
of reddened fire an awakening of souls;
studded, a million sparks fly on black-feathered
shapes. An army breaks the edge of wonder
to fall like embers on a yawning grate.
Elizabeth Barton is an artist and poet from New Zealand, with work featured in Pink Plastic House, Fevers of the Mind, Black Bough Poetry’s Rapture and Christmas/Winter Edition 2021 and Vita Brevis Literature, Nothing Divine Dies. A winner of the 2020 White Label Cinq competition, she has a forthcoming poetry collection to be published by Hedgehog Poetry Press. Her art is in private and public collections worldwide, including the V & A Prints Collection, London.