Luci Shaw’s most recent poetry book is entitled Harvesting Fog. In the Foreword (which Luci writes as a fore word) we learn about collecting fog! There is little rain in Lima, Peru but this coastline city has persistent clammy fog due to the high humidity. The locals hang special nets and wring them out for water as a means of survival. They water their fruit trees with this “fog.” This is called “harvesting fog.” Moisture from mist. Water in an arid place. Luci ends of her fore word with these words, “As for you reader, give these poems time to gather, let them soak in.”
Luci is right. Give poems time. The imagination feeds on ideas and produces mental images. Maybe soaking in and harvesting will take years. Recently, a student I taught when he was in 3rd grade remembered a recitation from A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. He said the words describe a personal situation he was entangled in. “They are just like spotted snakes with double tongue, Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen.” He then recited the lines almost verbatim. I stood still. First of all, he is 15 and it was 7 years ago when he memorized it. Secondly, the words seem to minister to him. Thirdly, it was one of those moments when my mind said, “ Charlotte Mason was right.” Now I see what Charlotte’s words mean:
“We probably read Shakespeare in the first place for his stories, afterwards for his characters, the multitude of delightful persons with whom he makes us so intimate that afterwards, in fiction or in fact, we say, ‘She is another Jessica,’ and ‘That dear girl is a Miranda’; ‘She is a Cordelia to her father,’ ansuch a figure in history, ‘a base lago.’ To become intimate with Shakespeare in this way is a great enrichment of mind and instruction of conscience. Then, by degrees, as we go on reading this world-teacher, lines of insight and beauty take possession of us, and unconsciously mould our judgments of men and things and of the great issues of life.“ ( Vol 4, 71)
“A thousand thoughts that burn come to us on the wings of verse.” ( Vol. 2 , 10)
I leave you with two poems read by Luci for “ a thousand thoughts” from Harvesting Fog.
Psalm for a January Thaw : http://pinyon-publishing.com/january%20thaw.mp3
The Chair without Distinction: http://pinyon-publishing.com/chair%20without%20distinction.mp3
Look for Luci’s (at 84) new books being published in 2013-2014 : The Slow Pleasures (poetry) and Views from a Steep Slope: the Adventure of Living Long Enough to Grow Old (essays).
Harvesting Fog , poems by Luci Shaw, 2010.
More information on Fog Collecting: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/photogalleries/fog-catchers-harvest-air-water-missions/photo6.html
Copyright Bonnie Buckingham 2012