Rosa's Poetry Archives: Luci Shaw

Someone donated to the church library a book entitled "The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing"; edited by Leland Ryken. With reflections from JRR Tolkien, Frederick Buechner, Annie Dillard, George MacDonald, Francis Schaeffer, to name a few.
I decided that before I could in good conscience include it in the library collection I should be a responsible, discerning librarian & take it home and read it, much in the manner of my mother who would always take the first bite of whatever yummy treat she was serving us, "just to make sure it's not poisionous".
So I've been picking it up here and there to read different essays within, and all so far have been worth the read. I suppose I'll have to eventually give it to the library, since I'm sure other people want to read it-although it's been nice to consider the library as part of my personal collection; I always have had a hard time sharing, especially books (sorry B!)
Tonight I was reading an essay written by the inimitable Luci Shaw entitled, "Beauty & the Creative Impulse". Tucked in between the paragraphs I found a great little poem of hers that might have to show it's face at the poetry group one of these Monday nights. The more I read Luci Shaw's work, the more I like her.
And for some reason the picture of the maple achenes (the little brown winged seed things), pine needles and green lichen seemed to match the poem. Taken in Yosemite last weekend.

Diamonds That Leap

When the leaf fell and brushed my hand
I began to reverse the world. I asked:
What if this warped willow leaf, yellow,

scaled with age, could smooth
to a green blade, then flicker into
the knot of a spring twig, like

a grass snake's tail disappearing, slick
and chill, into his home? That one question-
it was a whirlpool, pulling in

others: What about a river?
Might its waters rush up these indigo
hills of Shenandoah and split to a scatter

of diamonds that leap to their rain
clouds, homing? Can a love
shrink back and back to like,

then to the crack of a small, investigative
smile? Could God ever suck away creation
into his mouth, like a word regretted

and start us over?

(-Luci Shaw. From Writing the River, Pinon Press, 1994)


Mum said...

I love this poem. After checking out the Luci Shaw website, I think you two could have a ton in common, Rosa. She has photos of some plants from her garden and she was born in England!

Back to the poem....at the end I thought about our conversation re: "subduing creation" and how rather than reversing creation, God has given us the job of keeping His creation under control. What a Job!
Thanks for introducing me to Luci Shaw.

rosa said...

I don't think I was born in England, although you'd know more abou that than I would..! I feel like I was, like there's some connection that needs accounting for. I know its a family thing, just a few generations earlier than myself.

Anonymous said...

It makes me so happy that you are enjoying the book, Rosa! Now you know why I held onto it for so long--first read selection of it as part of a class for my theatre/communications major at Taylor University, and then D's aunt gave that copy to me one year for xmas (probably got it free at some writer's conference, which is her gig) not knowing I had been wishing for my own copy for years. It has so many great pieces--so although I did not want to give it up, I hated to keep it on my overflowing bookshelves when others could be enjoying it too. . . so glad you are the first to do so! But, uh, might this be the time to delicately remind you I was hoping the book(s) I brought by could be on semi-permanent loan to the church library? In other words, don't get too attached! ; )

Is B making it through any of the Hugh Ross? Some of his books are GREAT--some are so heady I can only read a couple paragraphs at a time, although considering it is quantum nucleo particle astro physics (whatever they call it) I don't beat myself up over it.


rosa said...

Don't worry, I didn't forget! You are funny. Hugh Ross is definitely a slow read, though worthwhile. He makes my brain go chug chug. Which is good, it needs regular servicing....

Jon said...

uh...weird. read my blog post from this morning.

rosa said...

jon, that IS strange.

The longer I look at this picture, the less convinced I am that those are maple achenes. I guess don't know my tree seeds very well!

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.