e   i   g   h   t      p   o   e   m   s


Ingrid Swanberg

                                                     the horses

petals of moonlight



into the thousand



I had come down here to surrender,

           riding the white sail

           blown inward from

           the window of my birth,

                                              the moon shedding petals


                      into the hollows.

                                                             I have come down here

to the river

                      with its broken cargo,

                                    the dark blood unfurled,

                                                    a silver dollar in my pocket

                                                    and my feet in the black mud of spring.

I was trailing the shadows of the horses

                    thrown by the light below


the night you were born

neon, phosphor flowered

blue and pink

on the wet streets

it was raining

in the beautiful darkness

for a moment

headlights cut

into the depth of the pines

without disturbing their sleep

but continuing to pour soundlessly

filling with long needles of rain


dark summer wind

swells the deep green sail

in your absence
the mast towers and gleams

the hiss of the moon on my shoulder

dark summer wind
fills the dark sail

we drift the night spume



may I be thin and cold

as the first snow

fallen late and silent

in the secret night


sub rosa

unhappy flower of august,
flower of the black field,
unable to speak
the perfume of your desolation

bloomed in the fullness,
summer overgone

the cicada in his tower
burns with the terrible light;
sweet cricket pulse
in the pure undertone

the angel of the train
having already passed the hour,
its sooty gloriole . . . .

pale orphan of silence
untouched, alone
among the deep shades
of the afternoon


his name

snow falling          from dark to dark
darkening the trees          on one side

someone stands          in the clearing
in the gathering          whiteness

where the path curves          faint fire or bells
white ceremonial robe          thickly feathered in snow

he turns          and looks at me
a long time

what was hidden          in the quotidian
brightness          braided here

with bread,   stars,          his dark eyes
a long time          snow falling

from dark to dark          he turns
and looks at me


powder blues

         for Fred Dalkey

this far north
there is an early morning light
already crumbled into gold
and softly thrown
over the chicory
thriving along the rails

their blue rises
closed by noon

it is the blue of those
small butterflies
nectaring upon lupin
or sipping at the mud
of some clear stream
there in the west
where the light
is always young

          spearfish canyon

within the cataract of light

                            the heart grown numb

                                                    sheer bridal veil

                                                          falls shy of

                                                 the dry creek bed

there are traces of the old flume

                                              on the canyon wall

                                                                                  an eagle loops

                                                                                                    and disappears

                                                                   into the high rim's shadow

the tall pines are dying out                             dry grasses stand

                                              amid young spruces

                   farther along the path

                               the open carcass of a doe           mixes with the sun

and deep in the canyon

                            the tamed water

                                         glides quiet

                                                         over greening moss.

the last gold

                       leaving the aspens


These poems have previously appeared or will appear
in the poetry journals Abraxas and Osiris.
Copyright © 2001 by Ingrid Swanberg

Light and Dust Anthology of Poetry