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


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

You are also the 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

Star Song

I know it’s the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, but I couldn’t find a good poem commemorating it, so instead I’ll share this one about Epiphany by Luci Shaw:

Star Song

We have been having
epiphanies like stars
all this year long.
And now, at its close,
when the planets
are shining through frost,
light runs like music
in the bones,
and the heart keeps rising
at the sound of any song.
An old magic flows
at the silver calling
of a bell,
high and clear.
Falling.  Falling.
Sounding the death knell
of our old year,
telling the new appearing
of Christ, our Morning Star.

Now, burst,
all our bell throats!
every clapper tongue!
Stun the still night.
Jesus himself gleams through
our high heart notes
(it is no fable).
It is he whose light
glistens in each song sung,
and in the true
coming together again
to the stable
of all of us: shepherds,
sages, his women and men,
common and faithful,
or wealthy and wise,
with carillon hearts,
and, suddenly, stars in our eyes.

Advent Visitation

An 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.




The wind breathes where it wishes
blows where it flows
The eye of your storm
sees from the wild height
Your air augments the world
tearing away dead wood
testing, toughening all trees
spreading all seeds
sifting the sand
carving the rock
the water
in the end
moving the mountain.

~Luci Shaw

“He Who Would Be Great Among You”

I felt like dipping into Luci Shaw this morning.

He Who Would Be Great Among You

You, whose birth broke all
the social and biological rules–
son of the poor who accepted
the worship due a king–
child prodigy debating
with the Temple Th. D.s–you
were the kind who used a new math
to multiply bread, fish, faith.
You practiced a radical sociology:
rehabilitated con men &
call girls.  You valued women,
aliens, & other minority groups.
A general practitioner,
you specialized in heart surgery.
Creator, healer, innovator,
shepherd, story-spinner,
weather-maker, botanist,
alchemist, exorcist, iconoclast,
seeker, seer, motive-sifter,
you were always beyond us,
ahead of your own time, & ours.

And we would like to be
like you.  Bold as the James and John,
the Boanerges brothers,
we hear ourselves demand,
“Admit us to your avant-garde.
Grant us degrees in all
the liberal arts of heaven.”
Why our belligerence?  Why
does this whiff of fame and greatness
smell so sweet?
Why do we always compete
to be first?  Have we forgotten
how you took, gently & simply,
cool water, & a towel for our feet?

~Luci Shaw

May 20: Very Early Morning

It’s Sunday and time for me to share a poem.  I love this poem by Luci Shaw.  I think it’s one of the first I ever read of hers and always comes back to mind this time of year.   I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  I think it’s one that benefits greatly from being read aloud.  (There are shades of Hopkins in this poem.)

May 20: Very Early Morning

All the field praises him/all
dandelions are his glory/gold
and silver all trilliums unfold
white flames above their trinities
of leaves all wild strawberries
and massed wood violets   reflect his skies–
clean blue and white
all brambles/all oxeyes
all stalks and stems lift to this light
all young windflower bells
tremble on hair
springs for his air’s
carillon touch/last year’s yarrow (raising
brittle star skeletons) tells
age is not past praising
all small low unknown
unnamed weeds show his impossible greens
all grasses sing
tone on clear tone
all mosses spread a spring–
soft velvet for his feet
and by all means
all leaves/buds/all flowers cup
jewels of fire and ice
holding up
to his kind morning heat
a silver sacrifice

make of our hearts a field
to raise your praise

~Luci Shaw

“. . . for they shall see God”

It’s still the time, the season, of remembering Christ’s appearances to those He loved.  Let us not move too quickly back into ordinary time.  (Is there ever an “ordinary” time with Christ in our lives?)  Luci Shaw captures this need to learn to recognized Him in this Sunday-poem.  We, too, need to “get beyond the way he looks” in our everyday lives:

He who has seen Me has seen the Father (James Tissot)

“. . . for they shall see God”

Matthew 5.8

Christ risen was rarely
recognized by sight.
They had to get beyond the way he looked.
Evidence strong than his voice and face and footstep
waited to grow in them, to guide
their groping from despair,
their stretching beyond belief.

We are as blind as they
until the opening of our deeper eyes
shows us the hands that bless
and break our bread,
until we finger
wounds that tell our healing,
or witness a miracle of fish
dawn-caught after our long night
of empty nets.  Handling
his Word, we feel his flesh,
his bones, and hear his voice
calling our early-morning name.

~Luci Shaw

All the doors being shut

A Sunday-poem along yesterday’s lines:


Doubt padlocked one door and
Memory put her back to the other.
Still the damp draught seeped in, though
Fear chinked all the cracks and
Blindness boarded up the window.
In the darkness that was left
Defeat crouched, shivering,
In his cold corner.

Then Jesus came
(all the doors being shut)
and stood among them.

~Luci Shaw

A golden moment

There are so many artistic depictions of the Annunciation, but one of my all-time favorites is one that a good friend of mine gave me a few years ago.  You can see it below.  Not too long afterward I came across a poem by Luci Shaw that seemed to have been written for it.  I share that with you as well.  Thank you, Mary, for your earth-changing yes. . .

Annunciation (golden) 001Virgin

As if until that moment
nothing real
had happened since Creation

As if outside the world were empty
so that she and he were all
there was–he mover, she moved upon

As if her submission were the most
dynamic of all works; as if
no one had ever said Yes like that

As if that day the sun had no place
in all the universe to pour its gold
but her small room

(Luci Shaw)