Rocky Mountain Railroad, Epiphany by Luci Shaw

For January 5th in my  Anthology from Canterbury PressWaiting on the Word, I have chosen to read Rocky Mountain Railroad, Epiphany by Luci Shaw. this poem makes an interesting contrast and parallel with Coleridge’s psalm-like outpouring of yesterday. Both poems are a response to the beauty of nature, and specifically to the sight of snowy mountains, and the whole play of light on snow and ice. In both poems we have a sense of glory and of the sublime rising ‘reaches of peak above peak beyond peak’.

You can hear me read this poem by clicking on the title or the play button. The image above was created by Lancia Smith, and carries a quotation from my commentary on the poem. You can see this and more on her  excellent Website Cultivating the True the Good and the Beautiful.. You can find the words, and a short reflective essay on this poem in Waiting on the Word, which is now also available on Kindle

Rocky Mountain Railroad, Epiphany   Luci Shaw

 

The steel rails parallel the river as we penetrate

ranges of pleated slopes and crests—all too complicated

for capture in a net of words. In this showing, the train window

 

is a lens for an alternate reality—the sky lifts and the light forms

shadows of unstudied intricacy. The multiple colors of snow

in the dimpled fresh fall. Boulders like white breasts. Edges

 

blunted with snow. My open-window mind is too little for

this landscape. I long for each sweep of view to toss off

a sliver, imbed it in my brain so that it will flash

 

and flash again its unrepeatable views. Inches. Angles.

Niches. Two eagles. A black crow. Skeletal twigs’ notched

chalices for snow. Reaches of peak above peak beyond peak

 

Next to the track the low sun burns the silver birches into

brass candles. And always the flow of the companion river’s

cord of silk links the valleys together with the probability

 

of continuing revelation. I mind-freeze for the future

this day’s worth of disclosure. Through the glass

the epiphanies reel me in, absorbed, enlightened.

6 Comments

Filed under christianity, literature, Poems

6 responses to “Rocky Mountain Railroad, Epiphany by Luci Shaw

  1. I know exactly what she’s experiencing, and she captures that sense so accurately.

  2. Rosie Perera

    Tried to buy your “Waiting on the Word” in Kindle format from Amazon but it’s only available in the UK to UK customers. Hope it will come to US and Canadian Amazon stores eventually.

  3. jodyo70

    Sir, this is lovely….just lovely. This line made me sigh, “Yes!”
    “My open-window mind is too little for this landscape.”
    I live in the Pacific Northwest with a view to Mount Rainier many days and have often felt the scope of it was too much to take in.
    Thank you.

  4. Margee Ortega

    Having just traveled by train from Albuquerque to Kalamazoo this Poem takes me back, and I can relive the trip through memory and her words. What a blessing.

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