Poem: Luci Shaw

I recently came across this poem I wrote after hearing Luci Shaw, a poet, speak at the Festival of Faith & Writing in 2014. Luci at the time was eighty-five years old.

She was full of vigor and clarity, humor and wit and creative energy. 

Listening to her was for me like a slowly rising tide. At first just the smell of the sea at a distance and the faint sound of waves. By the end of her lecture I was in danger of being submerged my own salty tears. 


Eighty-five years old and she had become herself, yet was still also becoming. 

She said she wrote because she had to, because that's who she was and who she had to become. It was work, but joyful work. 

To me, she is a distilled version of her poems, walking around alive and enfleshed, in skin not less beautiful having lost its elasticity of youth, but ever more wondrous---a cracked vessel spilling over with the shimmer of light and spark from her wonderful spirit.


Luci Shaw 

by Ryan Moore


As you stood there and spoke

your flesh, began to tremble

with a current, channeled 

from some other source.


You are not just the poet, 

but the poem.

You are the precise

syllable of a life well-lived.

The meter of sorrow beside joy.

You are the sweet fruit,

of a long becoming.


Congealed spirit,

gathered living

woven of birdsong;

pungent, decaying leaf

of summer wind

fragrant and heavy,

of sword and swallow

and ditch

and brow, 

of wrinkled

warm body.


For a moment 

you stood there before us,

a conduit

of another realm.