Cole Swensen

from Landscapes on a Train
November 13, 2011 Swensen Cole

from Landscapes on a Train


There once was a church. There once was a steeple. These things fall into landscape.

And then there were none. Canal across one. One white bird. Go on. And so it goes.

All my pieces thusly single. Horse beside a river. They lovers they onward and so

Next  is a field. You could have guessed it. You could have painted it. You are painting

A long line of horses end to end are something farther on.


And orchard on. There is a great plain. If trees can count and they can. One more house

Built before. Fallen down. The falling on. One more canal the size of a thumb. And the great

Plain a single way trees take over a meadow. All that walking. Scar the throng. One more

Station without a name. Name the call. I heard something call. One if animal. And horses

Once more. A plain is cut. By a rivulet. A house stands alone in a field.


A white cow stands alone in a field. A white horse stands alone among trees. A line

Of trees stands alone. Will not this town. Will off again into what’s blind. Will say of

Eye and so far that. Strikes a far thing, a small thing, a thing at this distance becomes

Distance alive all alone.

Cole Swensen is the author of fifteen volumes of poetry, most recently Landscapes on a Train (Nightboat Books, 2015) and Gravesend (U. of California Press, 1912), and a volume of essays, Noise That Stays Noise (U. of Michigan Press, 2011).