Psalm for the January Thaw
Note: "Psalm for the January Thaw" was originally published in Luci Shaw's volume of poetry Harvesting Fog and also in the journal Image. The poem calls our attention to the processes of rebirth and rejuvenation that we associate with springtime, but that are no less written into the whole of creation. She reminds us that God shows himself not just in the orderliness of nature, but powerfully, joyously and always surprisingly in its beautiful "non-order" as well. "For the Earth is the Lord's, and everything in it. . ." Psalm 24:1
Psalm for the January Thaw
By Luci Shaw
Blessed be God for thaw, for the clear drops
that fall, one by one, like clocks ticking, from
the icicles along the eaves. For shift and shrinkage,
including the soggy gray mess on the deck
like an abandoned mattress that has
lost its inner spring. For the gurgle
of gutters, for snow melting underfoot when I
step off the porch. For slush. For the glisten
on the sidewalk that only wets the foot sole
and doesn’t send me slithering. Everything
is alert to this melting, the slow flow of it,
the declaration of intent, the liquidation.
Glory be to God for changes. For bulbs
breaking the darkness with their green beaks.
For moles and moths and velvet green moss
waiting to fill the driveway cracks. For the way
the sun pierces the window minutes earlier each day.
For earthquakes and tectonic plates—earth’s bump
and grind—and new mountains pushing up
like teeth in a one-year-old. For melodrama—
lightning on the sky stage, and the burst of applause
that follows. Praise him for day and night, and light
switches by the door. For seasons, for cycles
and bicycles, for whales and waterspouts,
for watersheds and waterfalls and waking
and the letter W, for the waxing and waning
of weather so that we never get complacent. For all
the world, and for the way it twirls on its axis
like an exotic dancer. For the north pole and the
south pole and the equator and everything between.
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Luci Shaw is a London-born author, teacher, editor and poet. She travels widely, everywhere discovering and interpreting the sacramental qualities of the natural world—the way the good creation calls us to see glimpses and hear whispers of its good Creator. A 1953 high honors graduate of Wheaton College, Shaw is author of ten volumes of poetry, including the most recent, Harvesting Fog. She has also written or edited many non-fiction books of prose. Since 1988, she has been Writer in Residence at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada. More about Shaw and her work is available here.