We think the virtue of tolerance
common enough to have become
an absolute, a necessity on our daily
shopping list. Sunday School Love
has become Accept. The maxim
Always Be Nice instructs us to ignore
iniquity. Eyes averted, we practice
the invisibility of the offense.
Like the cross, love may be weakened
through wear and age and such ubiquity
we hardly see it now for what it is,
hung high on the wall, or jeweled
around the rock star's neck. Yet
precious as porcelain, love is bone strong.
Even chipped, it is still beautiful.
it glows through tolerance; like light
it cannot hide. Remember,
love is made for something dire.
(Luci Shaw, from What the Light Was Like, 2006)
To read poetry, you have to slow down --- love the words, the interstitial silences, and the sounds of the poem. It requires a degree of pondering, or meditation, if you will. It's good preparation for meditating on Scripture. Be still. Slow down. Wait on God to reveal meaning. It sometimes takes time for words to give up meaning.
Luci Shaw is Writer-in-Residence at Regent College in Vancouver, BC. For at least two decades she's been writing poetry as well as essays. When I once had her lead an arts conference, she was a great encouragement; people who had never or seldom written poems wrote one that day. Many of her poems are rooted in meditations on creation, a great source of inspiration. Some are religious, many not so religious, but all are infused with a sense of the transcendent.
In this new book, What the Light Was Like, her poems "paint a picture and show the effects of light on the subject," much like photos or paintings make use of light. Some may be a shade dark, but the Light here always shines through. I find one poem a day is adequate. More, and I read too quickly and miss things. That's how life is -- move through it too quickly and you miss things.