A decorated special forces combat veteran, he was in the first wave of eight major amphibious actions in the Pacific in WWII. Many of his published poems are based on his wartime experiences. His "Drums and Echoes," a work for spoken chorus and percussion, composed with Richard Albagli and dedicated to Ernie Pyle, was premiered in 1999. In 2001, he was awarded a New York State Arts Council grant for a series of poems honoring the heroic actions of members of New York's 27th Infantry Division, in the WWII invasion of Saipan.
Robert Pinksy, U.S. Poet Laureate, 1997-2000, had this to say about Swash:"Gorgeous sound generated by fresh language; a musician's way with rhythm; powerful emotion, treated directly; a distinctive, individual voice aware of history's flow and not swamped by it: Paul Elisha's memorable book has all of these. This is the work of a true poet."