Monday, March 15, 2010

Luci Shaw

There was a time when Luci Shaw was the only living Christian poet I could name. To be a poet was not an accepted vocation, and Luci Shaw had to be a pioneer. Her first book , Listen to the Green (1971) was published by a company she and her husband ran. Today, she continues to be one of our finest poets, with ten volumes of poetry to her credit, and several non-fiction books — available from various publishers. Her newest collection, Harvesting Fog (2010), has just been released by Pinyon Publishing.

Luci Shaw looks at the world expectantly — looking to see what truths are awaiting her in her everyday observances. Because this is God’s world, she expects to see his truths. We read and see them too.

As Iron Sharpens Iron

Walking, this morning, I began to think
how everything wears its other down. How
this sidewalk smoothes my rubber soles.
How stomachs slick their food, waves
burnish shattered bottles to sea glass,
how prevailing wind shapes trees
and bends them to its gusting will.
How calm weather soothes an impatient sea.

A panther, crated for the zoo, will pace
her pattern in her cage. Today my open window
carves the sunlight to a square that warms
the rug. God tools me like a strip of buckskin.
My silence wears your chatter like a suit;
your charity unravels my reproach. You
shape me, and I shape you, and all our kindred
work to shape us into who they wish we were.


Like the winter morning ice
that, brittle, skins a puddle —

like the wafer the priest lifts and snaps
with the fingers of his two hands —

a pistol shot across the congregation —
so is the name of Jesus splintered

to fall in fragments from our tongues,
sharpening the oath-speech

of the careless, feeding others
with light from the broken crystal.

This is the first Kingdom Poets post about Luci Shaw: second post; third post; fourth post.

(Posted with permission of the poet)

Read my Books & Culture review of Luci Shaw's poetry collection
What The Light Was Like here

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: