Poem-a-Day Friday: Luci Shaw

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I had the honor of hearing Luci Shaw and Jeanne Murray Walker discuss “Ambition” together a week ago Thursday. What a gift it was to be at the Festival of Faith and Writing and hear two stunning poets discuss the writing life in the context of faith, to listen to Luci Shaw speak about how she investigates her own inner motivations and questions her need for affirmation. Such honesty and humility is so rare in the poetry world and I soaked their words up with all my heart.

I should also add that Luci Shaw is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  But, alas, that’s not a good reason to like a poet. This, however, is:

The Simple Dark

by Luci Shaw

Black birds slice their evening patterns—
long curves in the sky. Everything
is drawing down into shade.
But the dark, which is at first so simple
is not simple. Away from the farmhouse
with is slits of yellow, the monochrome
develops like a print in the chemical bath.

The unbroken velvet swims
with complications so subtle that
seeing and hearing must take their time
to know. The shadow purples,
the dusk intricate with crickets. The sky
infested with pricks of light.
My whole body an ear, an eye.

What the Light Was Like,  © 2006 by Luci Shaw, WordFarm
  • katieleigh

    My word, this is gorgeous. I love Shaw’s work.

  • katieleigh

    My word, this is gorgeous. I love Shaw’s work.

  • Haley

    Luck Shaw was the first poet I ever read for pleasure, and I too had the opportunity to hear her speak (and witness her unreasonable cuteness). I admire her so very much! Thanks for sharing this poem, it was new to me.

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  • mtrsummer

    Hi Micha,
    I was there too. I watched Luci Shaw’s reading on Thursday and fell in love with the idea that she and her son, a surgeon in Burma,would workshop their poems together over skype. Him with the jungle behind him, her in her puget sound home.

    I heard you were there from others but had not discovered you yet and find extreme joy at finding out that you are out here in the black hole that is the internet. I too am an Anglican, (a priest) but I run to the Eastern Orthodox to get my fix. During the Faith and Writing Festival I found myself drawn to the fourth floor of the library, to the Orthodox Way and In the Spirit of Happiness as if by homing pigeon.

    I look forward to following you and your passion for the ancients as well as your learning during motherhood, the most difficult cloister ever.

  • mtrsummer

    Hi Micha,
    I was there too. I watched Luci Shaw’s reading on Thursday and fell in love with the idea that she and her son, a surgeon in Burma,would workshop their poems together over skype. Him with the jungle behind him, her in her puget sound home.

    I heard you were there from others but had not discovered you yet and find extreme joy at finding out that you are out here in the black hole that is the internet. I too am an Anglican, (a priest) but I run to the Eastern Orthodox to get my fix. During the Faith and Writing Festival I found myself drawn to the fourth floor of the library, to the Orthodox Way and In the Spirit of Happiness as if by homing pigeon.

    I look forward to following you and your passion for the ancients as well as your learning during motherhood, the most difficult cloister ever.


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