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Thaw

Aside from what felt like an Arctic first week of December, it's been a very warm winter this year. Not yet Lent, flowers are already crowning trees, and the grasses and patches of moss are growing outside our front door. The latest issue of the arts journal Image, for which I proudly volunteer, has the following poem by Luci Shaw which seems to trickle down just as a poem should.

Psalm for the January Thaw - Luci Shaw

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.


It makes me think of - and I think it's meant to - Gerard Manley Hopkins' Pied Beauty, which is one of my favorite poems with its piercing and iridescent language: "Glory be to God for dappled things...Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;/ Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough..."

At any rate, look around Image's website here. You won't be sorry.

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