John Swain Louisville, KY poet

Along the Saltern

Pharos candlelight,
wet lips wet eyes,
this mud earth
this white horse
she kneeled
in lavender fields
in flowers of salt
raked from the pools
on the grey flats
of ancient life
blue seas scattered
to make this island.
I gathered my arms
to travel,
god of the sickle,
goddess a chasm,
born in the flood,
grape and roses,
the sluice she breaks.

–John Swain

white horse


John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Least Bittern Books published his second collection, Under the Mountain Born. 

Poets in the Pond: Least Bittern Books Anthology

Poets in the Pond is a supreme collection of poetry by Mary E. Weems, Prerna Bakshi, Tom Kryss, John Swain, Bree, Tiffany Tavella, Katie Curtz, Paul Corman-Roberts, Joseph M. Farley, Rob Dakin & William Taylor Jr.

These poets voices are what set the bar for poetry being submitted to Least Bit.

A collage portrait of each poet emerging from a pond precedes their work in the book.
It is a 6×9 100-page trade paperback, and will be available on Kindle as well (for 2$).


This is the first Least Bit anthology. Poets who are turned on by the work they find inside are encouraged to send their own best work anytime to

order at link above, or send $14 cash/check to Bree 147 Marcus St. #4 Pleasureville, KY 40057

John Swain Louisville, KY Poet

Constellation Amulet

Her body was blue and covered by stars,
I traced the glacial lake with deer and willow
until the silver morning.
Winds tremble in the birch around the spring
who gives the roaming children each a secret name
to disappear.
Cool of the blade in the sheath at my waist,
glass cast and sapphire she gives of the air
as the lowering waters bared a skeletal hill.
I drank in her mothering deep
like a horn for the dead she protects
in our darkness.
Sleeping in a casket window painted blue,
her outstretched arms enthrone my source
where the new moon drowns.

John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Least Bittern Books published his second collection, Under the Mountain Born. 

John Swain Louisville, KY Poet

Of These Waters
Sun cradled in the vast lake,
I waded to my chest
numb in the blue undulation.
An eagle courses the shore
before sharpening its claws
on a fish in the deep waves.
Paths in the dune grass cut
to the old camps,
I dug a silver necklace chain
from the ashen branches.
Day moon slow over the hill
as the goddess of these waters
comes through light.
I prayed with wild rose vine
to summon the arm I hunted
in the trees under the skin.
John Swain lives in Louisville, KY. His second collection Under the Mountain Born (2015) is available here or email

Review of Swain’s Under the Mountain Born

Check this review of John Swain’s UNDER the MOUNTAIN BORN

Doc Sigerson at Red Fez finds words to describe Swain’s inimitable voice, attaching to it the depth and illumination the editors at Least Bittern also discovered in his poetry.

130 pgs of arresting poetry, illustrations and cover art by Bree available here  for $13 or get Swain’s book plus Potts’ and Bree’s books for just 25$ thru LBB  = paypal to or snail to Bree 147 Marcus St. Pleasureville, KY 40047





John Swain like Least Bit is Kentucky all the way. His poems are little visits with spirit and animal, heart and landscape, conscience and endurance. If you are not familiar already, you can take a peek inside  his new collection Under the Mountain Born here.


UNDER is 100 poems, the poet’s handpicked carefully honed call and answer to the universe at-large, which includes YOU, so grab a copy up there or down here or or or

send check/cash for 13 dollars US to Bree Bodnar 147 Marcus St. Pleasurevile, KY 40057

*if ordering outside the U.S. please inquire first, regarding postage. domestic shipping free.
Look for Least Bit title by Charles Potts (Walla Walla, WA) in coming weeks, and see SUBMIT guidelines to have your poems appear on the website. See how many things there are for you to do?

John Swain Louisville, KY


Muscatatuck River

A circle of hawks with claws locked spiral
blinding the trail of sky and meadow with a gold sun.
Gnawing through bark, I freed my arms
to follow a blacksnake upward through the branches
and into the air dripping with light.
Below in the river, the muskrat gathered earth
to become the gentle mother of the world.
Sentience, our garment, the mind voices a deeper mind
like the song of the waters.
The sun moves from the sign of the ram to the bull
as the dead are released from their linen
with the strength a simple grass leaf emerges
through the opening ground.
And when I went back to the trees,
the forest moved in my body returning to wind.

John Swain is a poet in Louisville, KY. Read other recent poems of his here and right here. Red Paint Hill published his first collection, Ring the Sycamore Sky.

John Swain

Pocosin Lake Moon Threshing

Thunderstorm the red wolf howls
deep in the cathedral trees
between the field and a lake on the hill.
The rainwater of the shallow lake
preserves ancient canoes on the bottom
resting for a further journey.
Shells clatter like teeth on the beach
to honor the body of a drowned deer,
I rattled back with my steps.
Eye of the bone needle thread with hair
seals the world in a skin bag calling
back to the shadow of the wolf.
Hidden within this dark sphere,
I birthed a sovereign purpose to inherit
legacies of the red moon threshing.

John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. His poems paint shifting faces on mountains otherwise featureless. Red Paint Hill published his collection, Ring the Sycamore Sky.

About Least Bittern Books