Posts Tagged ‘shadow’



This morning, after the blizzard,

after the sun came out,

there was a moment when the shadows

of the empty cottonwood trees

patterned the snow like tree-sized lungs—

the trunk was a bronchus,

and the branches, bronchioles

that split into twiggish alveoli.

And the tree seemed to say, Remember.

I often neglect to be grateful

for lungs, for breath—

such a simple, forgettable gift.

But in the dividing silhouette,

I saw into myself, a divine branching,

an inner tree, an invitation

to sit and breathe. Remember, it seemed

to say, and I followed the lines until

they disappeared into the light.

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I thought I was Nancy Drew,

a girl who stumbled into mysteries

and solved them. A girl proficient

at picking up clues. A girl who knew

her mission. It felt good to crack

the codes, to decipher the signs.

It felt good to know who was bad.

It felt good to know I was good.


And then I learned some signs

have multiple meanings. That sometimes

a mission gets in life’s way. That

bad people are also good,

and good people are also bad.

And that the solution is seldom

as elegant as the mystery—

secrets unfolding in the shadows.

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meeting my shadow

every day I practice this—

walking in the dark

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New Seeing

Just because

we can’t say what

a thing is doesn’t mean

it won’t cast a shadow—

a shadow so small we perhaps

don’t notice as it falls on our own

naked skin—


and sometimes, focused as we are

on the light, we fail to see where

our own shadow lands, our

familiar shape distorted,

creating (for whom?)

an unintentional

(I’m sorry)


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One Stretch




it is not the shadows

that shape us, but the reaching

toward the light

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A Lesson in Shading

So first, you imagine the light bulb,

he says, then he draws one on the page

so I won’t have to imagine too hard.

And then, he says, you draw a dark line

under the object, assuming that there

will not be much light underneath it.

He moves his pencil forcefully

to darken the bottom of the square.

Next, he says, you move your hand

as far from the light as possible

and make it darker there.

I watch as he fills in the spaces

where white has been.

There is something vital

in all of us that leans toward the dark.

I notice the depth that the shadows

have brought to the page, so like the shadow

into which we are pulled and pulled.

Even now, the darkest parts of us

are kindling our greatest light.

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Two Beside the Fish Pond

the more still the blue
heron sits on his rock the more
my thoughts grow wings


such a fleeting
darkening on my face—
the shade of herons

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Before the Eclipse

My young boy matches
his stride with my stride
left, right, left, right, left—
I didn’t see them
but I bet our shadows
were dancing behind us
to the music of our laughter.

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something changing

shadows inside
shadows inside (shh, tiptoe)
shadows that was
how many thousand
shadows ago

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A Little Shadow Tag

How to make peace with your shadow side? Perhaps a game of shadow tag. Two years ago,  I wrote this poem, published today in Journey of the Heart, an exploration of shadow and light. This blog of Women’s Spiritual Poetry continues to make my heart sing–so many fine poems and wonderful poets on the site to explore. 

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