Contents | March 2004
More on poetry from The Atlantic Monthly.
The Atlantic Monthly | March 2004
Is light the last thing lost or never lost at all?
by Joan Swift
There is light so far away, it's gone
by the time we see it,
the tail lights on the highway far ahead
that say someone is traveling
this same dark way.
Those blue clumps lost ten billion light-
years ago at the edge of the universe
redshift from ultraviolet to the visible
and are found by the Hubble telescope,
sleek horse pulling through dark
the reeling carriages of space
even as they change into roses
or thunderheads or phantom animals
we never imagined.
What fiery dust was our beginning,
left us a tender earth? Far out in the universe
a tomorrow we can't see is singing the last word
of a song we heard long ago under stars
like blossoms on black water.
Joan Swift's most recent book of poems is The Tiger Iris (1999).
Copyright © 2004 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; March 2004; Light Years; Volume 293, No. 2; 88.