Here is a sonnet I wrote for the wonderful American poet Luci Shaw, celebrating her birthday to day, December the 29th. She is the author of ten volumes of poetry highly prized for their lucid style, close observation of nature, and the beautiful way in which she evokes rich spiritual truth in and through her particular attention to earthly detail. She was very encouraging to me when I was first publishing my own oems and my first poem in an American Journal was one she chose for Radix, of which she is poetry editor. I hope the following sonnet will give you some idea of the qualities I most admire in her work, and ,Luci, I hope you are pleased with it.
As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button, if it appears, or on the title.
For Luci Shaw on her birthday
Luci I love the gift you have for green:
Green fingers in your garden, a green art
In writing too, a feel for life and growth,
Kindly encouragement and yet a keen
Eye for the form, for what needs weeding out
To give a poem room to breathe and grow.
I sense your patience when that growth is slow,
Knowing that slow growth bears a fuller fruit.
I love your eye for detail too, the rich
Particularity of earthy things,
The way you strike the right note till it sings,
And all you have withheld is within reach;
The poem opens for us, and makes room
For fleeting apprehensions to come home.