Northern Torches

By Ruth Swaner

Whistling, rustling, crackling sounds,
frost-hardened snow of the heaven:
Eskimos believe torches guide spirits
journeying to the next life.

Dark, far away,
I see the sky open.
A haze settles into a glow,
gradually widening, striping the earth.

Twisting contortions of mysterious light
surround me.
Fissures of red, white, gold,
shine yellow, like glowing irons
taken from the forge.

Streaks toss about with abandon,
ghostlike arms dart and chase,
appear, disappear,
writhe across the sky.

I see giant draperies,
stabbing ends of their folds toward earth.
They drip with green, reds,
reflecting light on skittish clouds.

Rich red color bleeds of battle.
An ill omen whispered among the gods.
Odd bands of white vapor,
like glossed silk, penetrate me.

Sharp points in constant motion
shoot a living, blazing flame.

Night declines, the torches fade,
with daylight it vanishes.


About Ruth Swaner

Ruth graduated with a BFA in art education from Utah State University. She and Roger Swaner are parents of four sons. She teaches classes in creative writing and is a book author, journalist, and magazine writer. Ruth has won numerous awards for her writing. She is the author of Portraits From An Unfinished Woman (Covenant Communications), and the co-author of Hard-Won Wisdom (Deseret Book).

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