Cole Swensen Poems

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Five Landscapes

Green moves through the tops of trees and grows
lighter greens as it recedes, each of which includes a grey, and among the
greys, or beyond them, waning finely into white, there is one white spot,

The Invention Of Streetlights

noctes illustratas
(the night has houses)
and the shadow of the fabulous
broken into handfuls—these

What The Ventriloquists Said

amid the growing craze for automatons
The voice within the device that moves is not
(as if nothing human

August 1427: Abundance

Item: this year:
and made so beautiful August that it made never of the age of
man alive
Comme (as) dit (is) est (said):

The Evolution Of The Garden

As Albertus Magnus instructs us
that shade is dearer than fruit and the trees be not bitter ones let them
not be
bitter please

The Painter Rearranges The Mirrors (1415)

Languor. Succor. Ardor. Such is the tenor of the entry. You open a little door.
The door could be anywhere.
And laid there a face. For instance, at certain points, no longer wishing or able
to emulate Rome,

from "Thoreau"

In the essay "A Winter Walk," which predated the more famous essay "Walking"
by a few years, Thoreau paid particular attention to the astonishing array of whites

from fog to snow to frost to the crystals growing outward on threads of light. The

No Worry

No, worry about nothing
but the chiseling
of hills into distance

Fade to Light

Hand me this hand
The sail is bent
The trail is sold
and the wind tied in knots

A Ghost

erodes the line between being and place becomes the place of being time and so
the house turns in the snow is why a ghost always has the architecture of a storm
The architect tore down room after room until the sound stopped. A ghost is one