The Revolutionary: Luci Shaw


Do you
wince when you hear His Name
made vanity?

What if you were not so safe
sheltered, circled by love
and convention?
What if
the world shouted at you?
Could you take the string
of hoarse words – glutton,
wino, devil, crazy
man, agitator, bastard,
nigger-lover, rebel
and hang the grimy ornament
around your neck
and answer

See the sharp stones poised
against your head! Even
your dear friend
couples Your Name with curses
(‘By God! I know not God!)
the obscene affirmation
of infidelity
echoes, insistent
from a henhouse roof.
Then – Slap! Spit! the whip,
the thorn. The gravel
grinds your fallen knees
under a whole world’s weight
the hammering home of all
your innocence
stakes you, stranded,
halfway between hilltop and heaven
(neither will have you)
And will you whisper

Luci Shaw


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