Luci Shaw is a poet, essayist, teacher, and Writer-in-Residence at Regent College, Vancouver. Widely anthologized, her writing has appeared in Image, Weaving, Books & Culture, The Christian Century, Relief, Rock & Sling, Ruminate, Radix, Crux, The Southern Review, Stonework, Nimble Spirit, and others. Harvesting Fog (Pinyon Publishing), her thirtieth book, was released in 2010. For further information visit

Freezing Rain


Most of the things a poet has to say
are tentative, lists of foggy clues
and suppositions—an unattested version
of the way the wind breathes at night,
an essay at atmosphere, predictions
as unreliable as weather forecasts. I stab
at the truth with a pencil, sometimes,
moved too suddenly to words by the shadings
on a cloud, or its shape, shivery
at a hint of thunder (sure that it
means something).

But in the lines set down on paper
all suggestions become categories—
intuition or illusion edited to sound
like logic. Naked ideas turn assertive
in print, sharp, as intricate
as the edges of a woods in winter seen
against a blank sky. the most fluid
of impressions hardens like frozen
rain. A cold front is passing over:
I hazard to guess; you take it
for reality.