Poetry for the Curious across the Religious Spectrum



{David Swartz}

write to WOCL@aol.com

                                    at 37

                           J. Swartz  


                                                                              D. Swartz

"When soporific mankind discovers how to record its dreams, every individual, even the CEO, will become

an artist of great magnitude."

[David Swartz] November 11, 2008

                                                      at 62


                                                            J. Swartz 

                                   at 66

                                 J. Swartz



Elsbeth {at 69}

                                D. Swartz

the poet {at 46}

                                                                              J. Swartz

{at 46}


                                                       J. Swartz

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"There is no greater nuisance than the genius

Who has rediscovered the human condition."




He is David Swartz, author of CANTICLES FOR JOHANNA, LAST JUDGMENT, SECULAR FICTIONS and BIBLICAL FICTIONS [under the pen name, Dante Alighieri Vid--the former soon now in print, the latter including all sacred poetry, including the only appearance of "David"]; Triptych: 3 Biblical Fictions; A Journal of Prayer; Shaksper: The Soliloquy; Faces from Firenze [with Belaboring the Transparent]; Hart Crane: The Immolation; Diptych [Voyage to Ernie and Other Fictions & Spirit, Swell a Large Lament]; Pieta`: Song of the Blessed Virgin; Rothko [deconstructing the artist] a verbal record; Splice: Three Fictions; Gnosis: Psalms for a Secular Age; The Will to Christ: An Oratorio in Four Voices; The Prodigal Son: With Esther and Gethsemane; Dreamsongs and Other Songs; Nightwork; Uncle Wiggily; Autumn in the Hothouse and Other Poems; The Old Man and the Bird and Other Fictions; Fragments in Search of Him [deconstructing megraw] [a raga]; A Second Coming: Birth of the Poet [a Memoir]; The Tao of Cannabis and Other Poems; The Dinner Party; Lines Written in Dotage; The Gospel of D.A.Vid; The Ceiling of Buonarroti; Magnificat; Heart's Chasm; and Scapegoat Sonatas and Other Sermons.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"Grant us the wisdom, Lord, to choose what must exist;

There is a knife that cuts a smile by the same twist."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

About the Author:

The poet has numerous volumes with iUniverse. The ambition was boundless. He edged into boundary. At 72, the existential reaches, likely, a shred of acceptance. Wisdom, on the other hand, belongs with the very young.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"I have willed to conquer Christ in my own heart,

And prayed that prayer might finally cease; life ends

Where it starts; suffering bends the knees."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

About his Prepenultimate [10th] Book:

Triptych: 3 Biblical Fictions

Triptych begins with 3 quasi-Biblical dramatic poems, all dark, all convincing, an atavistic testimony to the harshness of an ancient Creator who exacts horror from his children, an unsettling tribute few will recognize from their childhood instruction, if any, in the ways of the elder Testament.

The Daughter of Jephthah is the 1st, a fleshing out of the story of a man who trades, unwittingly, victory in a great battle for his daughter, killed by his own hand. Judith is the 2nd, the beheading of Holofernes, a fairly literal paraphrase. Susanna is the 3rd, the bloody perdition of 2 elders, a fanciful adaptation.

Millennia later, The Mask on Brahman captures Justin Price and his attempt to relive the late Sixties within the context of 1976 and a journey west to Wisconsin. This prose-poem ends with Justin's satori--or suicide? The reader must decide.

Beyond the Human Predicament is a series of poetic aphorisms and the underpinning of all the author's work.

Slow Lane Cantos is a concluding episode of sorts, culled from the poet's own biography, 24 cantos, each of 9 tercets. Intensity is sacrificed to a levity and irony which ease one out of a fiercely emotional book.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Although all the volumes present on this website are essential to the Swartz canon, all essential to an understanding of the author's breadth of gift, Triptych in particular seems to chart more than all others the tremendous scope of poetry inherent to a seeming mission.

We are less conscious of Shakespeare here than Aeschylus, a Greek's stark fury, an often nearly untenable concision. And yet no one of the listing fails to provide a relief in laughter, both human and cosmic, and in that sense we sense an indebtedness to the great Elizabethan and even to Chaucer.

What is utterly new, however, is the grounding in a contemporary yet profoundly archaic sensibility that springs from the Christian faith and which, on the other hand, resonates with the total spectrum of religion, from mysticism in its ancient roots to the vast continuum of orthodoxy from Christ to Buddha.

The poet simply "reeks" with the sacral. There is something here for ANY of the curious--a Mennonite, reading through a cross-country train trip to San Francisco, curiously enough, put it as well as any: "Your 'Will to Christ' is a revelation, yet deeply troubling." [And yet he emerged "enriched, strengthened, not shaken."]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This site includes 3 sonnet sequences, requiems [for his mother and  for his father,  2 [one book-length] oratorios, 14 short stories, 5 novels, 3 one-act verse plays, a sampling of free verse lyrics, a book of psalms, a Christological treatise, a metaphysical journal, a journal of prayer, a book length collection and poem, two secular verse plays, and 6 Biblical verse plays. There are narrative poems as well,  sections of a poem regarding a major abstract expressionist, 14 "metaphysical" lyrics derived from accom-panying graphics, a graphic page as such [4 of the poet's own pastels and accompanying portraits], a rhapsody, 3 dramatic monologues, 5 hospital lyrics, a 14 page paen to a devilish quadruped, a sermon in quatrains [paired couplets] addressed to his versifying peers,  and an in-depth review.

{{{{{Here is hubris but, above all, poetry.}}}}}

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"An aching heart resists

No true affection.

Such souls as sweep

To the rhyme and twists

Of this sad farce

ARE simply twisted,

And even flies must die

[We can't determine why]

A fate insisted and resisted

By all living creatures--

What pretty mask

Distorts God's features!"

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .


 "Aum," 1968-2004

                                                             D. Swartz

Imitating Pollock, 1957 


Complete Verse, 1991

                                                                       D. Swartz 

{at 48}


                                                                    J. Swartz

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Number 34, 1948

                                                    J. Pollock

A Second Coming


                                            D. Swartz


                                                       D. Swartz

Number 32, 1950

                                                              J. Pollock





                                                            D. Swartz


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Jahweh as David, Sr.











the elder Jahweh




{before the elders} 





Fort Dix, 1960





Jahweh at 20








Jahweh as Shaman




                         H. Namuth


{at 17}





                           D. Swartz



{Johanna, 1969}





{the mother, the father}





 at 21, in Johanna's garden



                             J. Swartz



Elsbeth {at 69}




                                                                                            D. Swartz




 {as Hemingway}








Golgotha {the concluding sonnets}





YOU'D tell my story if you truly knew

My pain.  You'd spell me out.

You'd eat my doubt, my final doubt,

You'd eat despair.  Oh Christ, these thorns

Are just a tenth of what I know.

The worst of it's below,

Those haggard, believing faces,

The soldiers gaming for my robe,

Sweet Mary aging by the minute, and Magdalene,

That whore that braved it all,

Dear doubting Thomas who would feel for blood,

And God himself, almighty God—they suck

Me dry, lusting for some splendor.

I'd torch them all.  They look like tinder.






Dear Christ, there will be drama!

Is it my sight?  Here the sixth hour there is

Darkness on the earth,

As if your mouth has eaten half the sun.

And darkness deepens, darker than my heart,

If such can be, a hole as black

As perjury, Jehovah's kiss,

Barely a blood-red light to glean the crowd

Beneath like Judas railing.

And still I'm wailing, neither dead

Nor dying, simply molten lava itching

Through my entrails.

It is not enough to feel.  I feel their fear.

This death is crazed, heaving toward another year.






Dear Christ, I've murdered my first soul.

It is past my reckoning,

Beyond control.  So Judas burst.

I have heard the shriek.

Here the ninth hour, I am ravaged, weak.

I have heard your shriek.

Oh Christ, dear God Jehovah, hear me speak.

If only I could call it back

You'd hear me speak.  You'd hear Creation's pain

Flooding this skull where I'm gripped to die.

You'd hear my cry.

The pain would flood the earth.

If only death were birth!  It seems I'm finished.

Dear God, by death alone I'm not diminished.





                                                                          Rothko {untitled}





                         Rothko {chapel}



Yahweh as Rothko  



                                                Rudi Blesh Papers


I conclude this page with a curiously modest assertion:


"There has been no greater Poet in the English language!"




"D.A.Vid is placed just under Dante Alighieri!"



[July 15, 2013]