Advent Reflection #11: A(nother) poem by Luci Shaw



“…for who can endure the day of his coming?”  Malachi 3:2

When an angel

snapped the old thin threads of speech

with an untimely birth announcement,

slit the seemly cloth of an evern more blessed

event with shears of miracle,

invaded the privacy of a dream, multiplied

to ravage the dark silk of the sky,

the innocent ears, with swords of sound:

news in a new dimension demanded

qualification.  The righteous were

as vulnerable as others.  They trembled

for those strong antecedent Fear nots,

whether goatherds, virgins, worker

in wood, or holy barren priests.


In our nights

our complicated modern dreams

rarely flower into visions.  No contemporary

Gabriel dumbfounds our worship,

or burning, visits our bedrooms.

No satellite signpost hauls us, earthbound

but star-struck, half around the world

with hope.  Are our sensibilities too blunt

to be assaulted with spatial power-plays

and far-out proclamations of peace?

Sterile, skeptics, yet we may be broken

to his slow, silent birth, his beginning

new in us.  His big-ness may still burst

our self-containment to tell us,

without angels’ mouths, Fear not.


God knows we need to hear it, now,

when he may shatter, with his most shocking

coming, this proud, cracked place,

and more if, for longer waiting,

he does not.


Luci Shaw, Accompanied by Angels:  Poems of the Incarnation

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4 thoughts on “Advent Reflection #11: A(nother) poem by Luci Shaw

  1. LOVE your blog. I see we share a fondness for the work of Madeleine and Luci. I had the good pleasure of meeting Luci at a conference for Image Journal. I will never forget approaching her shyly and saying “One of your poems really changed my whole understanding of Scripture. Maybe later, if you have a moment, I could tell you about it.” And she grabbed my arm and said, “Tell me now.”

  2. I too was just going to say that we share a love for the work of Madeleine and Luci. Delighted to see Heather’s comment!

    Perhaps you already know of “WINTERSONG Christmas Readings by Madeleine L’Engle & Luci Shaw.”

    Blessings, Ellen

    • Mike Francis says:

      Thanks, Ellen, for your visit and comment. I hadn’t known of Wintersong, so I’m also grateful for your mentioning that. Blessings this Advent season to you and yours! Mike

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