Miriam Sagan

Black Glacier

intimation of ice sheet
volcanic ash covers the highway

black waves on the black beach
rush like terrifying horses

red church at Vic
or the stone to lost seamen

at the southernmost tip
shape of a rune poem

name of this dipthong
which is either god or barley corn

(or both)

volcanic islands, striding trolls
turned to stone by daylight

although you longed eventually for darkness
black headed gull and the arctic terns

spelled out an alphabet of birds
on the sea’s black page.


The Reader Abroad

I went half-way around the world
To sit and read
A book about somewhere else,
A novel of the British raj
In an armchair at the edge
Of an Icelandic lava field.

And we travelled
Far and wide
To gossip over tea
About our lives,
Speculating on details,
Or dissecting
What had turned out
Well, or less than charming.

Here in the very northern light of summer
I read, for once, an appropriate
Prose saga
where each character, coming or going, is labeled
as part of the story or shared history.
For since childhood
I’ve been seeking
that narrative which sets a frame on life itself
that tells me on the threshold, without doubt:
“Now you are brought
into the saga–
you are out.”



Miriam Sagan is the author of twenty-five books, including the poetry collection MAP OF THE POST (University of New Mexico Press.) She founded and directs the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College. She won the Santa Fe Mayor’s award for Excellence in the Arts in 2010.
Her blog is Miriam’s Well
Miriam Sagan