Steadfast taper

A poem by Luci Shaw:

       Steadfast Taper
Job 28:3

His candle shines upon my head.
He trims the wick and guards the falme
and though darkness creeps in close
the steadfast taper shines the same.

The flower of flame sways in the air.
Wind fingers snatch and try to snuff
the stalk his careful hands protect.
The light shines through.  It is enough.

His candle shines on me in love,
(protective circle in the gloom)
and through the dreadful night I know
that he is with me in the room.

Throughout the weary waiting time
the liquid flame shines thin and pure.
When tiredness dims my faith, I look
and see his light, and I am sure.

        ~Luci Shaw (Moving into Light, p. 106)

Advent visitation

A beautiful Advent Sunday-poem from Luci Shaw:

Advent visitation

Even from the cabin window I sensed the wind’s
contagion begin to infect the rags of leaves.
Then the alders gilded to it, obeisant, the way

angels are said to bow, covering their faces with
their wings, not solemn, as we suppose, but
possessed of a sudden, surreptitious hilarity.

When the little satin wind arrived,
I felt it slide through the cracked-open door
(A wisp of prescience? A change in the weather?),

and after the small push of breath–You
entering with your sir of radiant surprise,
I the astonished one.

These still December mornings
I fancy I live in a clear envelope of angels
like a cellophane womb.  Or a soap bubble,

the colors drifting, curling.  Outside
everything’s tinted rose, grape, turquoise,
silver–the stones by the path, the skin of sun

on the pond ice, at night the aureola of
a pregnant moon, like me, irridescent,
almost full-term with light.

God of me

I post a poem every Sunday mostly for myself.  I love poetry–and always have–and I’m hoping someone out there does as well.  One of the reasons I love poetry is because it forces us more to the edges of heaven, to open our minds to the beauty and goodness and truth of God.

Small Song

God of the sky,
God of the sea,
God of the rock
and bird and tree,
you are also
the God of me.

The pebble fell.
The water stirred
and stilled again.
The hidden bird
made song for you.
His praise is heard.

You heard him sing
from in the tree.
And searching still
I know you’ll see
The love that wings
to you from me.

~Luci Shaw

“God Speaks in Blue”

Our Sunday-poem today comes from Luci Shaw:

God Speaks in Blue

My friend hands me a gift
from overseas.  “Here,” she says.
“For you.”  The small packet rustles
with dry particles.  Through thin paper
my fingers feel the nubs.  I thank her,

 turning over the plain brown envelope.
There from the other side a photo–
the vivid, blunt cross of Mecanopsis Betonicifolia,
a Himalayan Blue Poppy–looks at me with
its gold eye, four azure petals blazing.

A blue to color a dream.  The blue
of Mary’s mantle according to Raphael.
The blue at the heart of a gas flame, within
an ice cave, one a cerulean door in a white wall
on Santorini, a kind of blue that

catches my heart ajar and blows it wide open.
Dry seeds and a picture, until next spring.
But, oh, if only I could be alive enough
to burn like this flower.  If only
I could bloom as blue as this.

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But if we find grace

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Judas, Peter

because we are all
betrayers, taking
silver and eating
body and blood and asking
(guilty) is it I and hearing
him say yes
it would be simple for us all
to rush out
and hang ourselves
but if we find grace
to weep and wait
after the voice of morning
has crowed in our ears
clearly enough
to break our hearts
he will be there
to ask us each again
do you love me

Luci Shaw

“The Grit on the Track”

A Sunday-poem from wonderful Luci Shaw:

The Grit on the Track

The ground is always there witnessing
how you walk.  You need light to travel
a dark path, and you need to travel light.
Otherwise the shadow that turns out to be
a boulder or a root will trip you,
and your heavy pack will bear you down
into the hard anguish of gravel
that is more than your knees can bear.
Even roadside dust clings to your heels as if
God is in every crystal of sand.

Gravity and the possibility of falling
will keep you aware.  In the twilight you
come home from walking the dog in the woods
with the walk still clinging to you–twigs
and the stain of berries on your soles.
Each clot of sludge from the forest floor
answers back–another footfall.  This is all
my handwork,
he is saying.  Stay with this mud,
this humus.  Every next mile you walk
will be a revelation.

Trauma Unit

Trauma Unit

It was never meant
to burst from the body
so fiercely, to pour unchanneled
from the five wounds
and the unbandaged brow,
drowning the dark wood,
staining the stones
and the gravel below,
clotting in the air
dark with God’s absence.

It was created for
a closed system–the unbroken
rhythms of human blood
binding the body of God,
circulating hot, brilliant,
saline, without interruption
between heart, lungs,
and all cells.

But because he was once
emptied, I am each day refilled;
my spirit-arteries
pulse with the vital red
of love; poured out,
it is his life
that now pumps through
my own heart’s core.  He bled and died
and I have been transfused.

~Luci Shaw

weep and wait

As we approach Holy Week, here is a Sunday-poem by Luci Shaw that will, hopefully, prod us all to never let anything we do keep us from running to Him for mercy–and she is full aware that this often seems the harder path to take:

Judas, Peter

because we are all
betrayers, taking
silver and eating
body and blood and asking
(guilty) is it I and hearing
him say yes
it would be simple for us all
to rush out
and hang ourselves
but if we find grace
to weep and wait
after the voice of morning
has crowed in our ears
clearly enough
to break our hearts
he will be there
to ask us each again
do you love me

Royalty

Royalty

He was a plain man
and learned no latin.

Having left all gold behind
he dealt out peace
to all us wild ones
and the weather.

He ate fish, bread,
country wine and God’s will.

Dust sandaled his feet.

He wore purple only once
and that was an irony.

~Luci Shaw

“Defect”

The poem for this Sunday is a wonderful introduction to Lent.

Defect

The flaw is no more
noticeable, even to me,
than a new moth-hole
in my sweater, or
a very bald spot
on the fabric of
my velvet vest.

Yet when
I hold the cloth
up to the window
the sunlight
bleeds through.

~Luci Shaw