Swans in Winter


The hillside held in shadows’ branching net
and the reservoir in wave-splashed ice resound
when swans rise, kicking, scattering light, unfold
and fold the wind in a wing-beat, settle down
in ripples ringing silently. Swans hold
their own white heat, asleep, awake, out in the cold,
their turn, drift and return a pattern set
like quills in rows, the script of an older world.
Their motion keeps some water open yet:
a sounding hole where dark feet work,
a well to drink from where reflection is unfurled
from the real, almost too like a dream to tell —
in winter, swans that clap us in their wings
may take us under, where what is mute still sings.

Dana Sonnenschein is the author of two chapbooks and the full-length collection, Natural Forms (Word Press, 2006). Other publications include Seneca Review, The Northwest Review, and West Branch. She teaches literature and writing at Southern Connecticut State University.

First published in Measure, Volume 2 (2007)