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I have not been touched by her hand,
nor felt it move through the drizzle
that might shine on a coat.

Not shivered as her fingers trail the arm
to the sleeve. To hover on the sleeve
and then slide into the clasp.

Not closed my own fingers
around her quiet bones, nor seen
the slow beat of those eyes,

the steady gaze which says, through rain:
‘I am watching. You are safe.’
Not heard that, nor seen the mouth

which forms the kiss. But I have felt her
deep in the chalks and irons
that make me more than stone.

I have known silence and also trust.
And I have watched the slow comings
of dawn over the slates of this jail,

wondering how the days get here
and where they go. And who I am.
And how I know that I am safe.

David Swann The Privilege of Rain Time Amongst the Sherwood Outlaws (2010)


ISBN 978-1-906742-09-6



David Swann was born in Lancashire, and worked as a local newspaper reporter in the last days of hot metal. Later, he graduated to become a toilet cleaner at the legendary Paradiso night club in Amsterdam before returning to the UK to work as a Writer in Residence in a prison.

Swann is now a senior lecturer in the English Department at the University of Chichester. His stories and poems have been widely published and won many awards, including five successes in The Bridport Prize. His debut collection of short fiction, The Last Days of Johnny North, was published by Elastic Press in 2006, and he is now working on a trilogy of novels as well as a collection of one-page stories. He divides his time between Brighton and Hove.

Swann’s ambition is to tell people he’s from Accrington and not hear the word ‘Stanley’ in their reply.

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