For Luci Shaw on her Birthday

Luci Shaw

Luci Shaw

Here is a sonnet I wrote for the wonderful American poet Luci Shaw, celebrating her birthday to day, December the 29th. Readers of my anthology Waiting on the Word will have read her brilliant poem Kenosis, and she also has poems in my book Love Remember. She is the author offer thirteen 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 poems 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.

Hellebores, in Luci's front garden

Hellebores, in Luci’s front garden


Filed under imagination

12 responses to “For Luci Shaw on her Birthday

  1. Rosie Perera

    Love it! Luci has published more than ten volumes of poetry, though. I own thirteen of them, and I don’t even have them all.

  2. Lovely to read this. I met Luci in the US many years ago. She has inspired a generation of American writers.

  3. Emma Bresslaw


    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Such a lovely birthday gift to a woman of words and wisdom. Luci has long been an inspiration to many of us yet her continuing gift to us today is that she is continuing to write richly by worshiping God with her words. Luci has taught me to see the world, and God, with new eyes.

  5. Thank you for this. I love Luci too!

  6. Suzie Peterson

    I love this tribute! I met her at Kindlings.
    And I love your posts. Happy New Year!

  7. Robert and Deborah Smyth

    Love both this lady and your lovely tribute to her! Right ‘on the nose’! Blessings to you both! Love from Lamb’s Players in San Diego!

  8. Louise Holert

    Beautiful! Thank you honoring Lucy with this special poem that captures something of the essence of who she is.

    M. Louise Holert (long term admirer of Lucy and her poetry) Seattle


  9. Luci was our keynote at Hutchmoot a few years ago. She was marvelous. Speaking of Hutchmoot, I won’t rest until we get you there somehow.

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks. Yes I really want to come. Might work when I retire from Girton in summer of 2020 which would free up my October

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