By Luci Shaw
Flourish magazine, Winter 2011
Under the Snowing
Under the snowing
the leaves lie still.
Brown animals sleep
through the storm, unknowing,
behind the bank
and the frozen hill.
And just as deep
in the coated stream
the slow fish grope
through their own dark,
Who on earth would hope
for a new beginning
when the crusted snow
and the ice start thinning?
Who would ever know
that the night could stir
with warmth and wakening
for sodden root and fin and fur
and other things lonely and
cold and sleeping?
Psalm for the January Thaw
Blessed be God for thaw, for the clear drops
that fall, one by one, like clocks ticking, from
the icicles along the eaves. For shift and shrinkage,
including the soggy gray mess on the deck
like an abandoned mattress that has
lost its inner spring. For the gurgle
of gutters, for snow melting underfoot when I
step off the porch. For slush. For the glisten
on the sidewalk that only wets the foot sole
and doesn’t send me slithering. Everything
is alert to this melting, the slow flow of it,
the declaration of intent, the liquidation.
Glory be to God for changes. For bulbs
breaking the darkness with their green beaks.
For moles and moths and velvet green moss
waiting to fill the driveway cracks. For the way
the sun pierces the window minutes earlier each day.
For earthquakes and tectonic plates—earth’s bump
and grind—and new mountains pushing up
like teeth in a one-year-old. For melodrama—
lightning on the sky stage, and the burst of applause
that follows. Praise him for day and night, and light
switches by the door. For seasons, for cycles
and bicycles, for whales and waterspouts,
for watersheds and waterfalls and waking
and the letter W, for the waxing and waning
of weather so that we never get complacent. For all
the world, and for the way it twirls on its axis
like an exotic dancer. For the north pole and the
south pole and the equator and everything between.
A charter member of the Chrysostom Society of Writers, Luci Shaw is author of ten volumes of poetry and several non-fiction prose books. She has also co-authored three books with Madeleine L’Engle. Her most recent books are What the Light Was Like (Word Farm), Accompanied by Angels (Eerdmans), The Genesis of It All (Paraclete), and Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination & Spirit (Nelson).
Shaw is poetry editor and a contributing editor of Radix, a quarterly journal published in Berkeley, CA, that celebrates art, literature, music, psychology, science and the media. She is also poetry and fiction editor of Crux, an academic journal published quarterly by Regent College, Vancouver, Canada.
She and her husband John Hoyte live in Bellingham, Washington and are members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. She loves sailing, tent camping, knitting, gardening, and wilderness photography.
“Under the Snowing” is reprinted from Horizons: Exploring Creation, Zondervan, 1992. “Psalm for the January Thaw” is reprinted from Harvesting Fog, Pinyon Publishing, 2010. Used with the author’s permission.