In Eye of the Beholder, Luci Shaw awakens readers with visions of the extraordinary within the ordinary.

Standing on the Edge of Inside

According to Richard Rohr, the prophets in a social structure stand off-center in a place of observation. Their position on “the edge of inside” affords them a view that is informed and yet independent. From this vantage point, the Apostle John was given the divine direction:  “Write what you see.” And he saw plenty.

At 90, Luci Shaw is still standing on “the edge of inside,” and she’s still enjoying the view. Her exuberance for life bubbles forth in words that stun and inspire, and her latest collection of poetry takes on topics as diverse as weather, prayer, aging and the writing process–all with seasoned wisdom.

An active outdoor life feeds Luci’s love of planet Earth, and Eye of the Beholder (Paraclete Poetry) invites readers to join her as she beholds the splendor. The frozen edge of a shallow bay becomes “a collar of intricate lace.” (52) The movement of water under a buffet of wind is “like silk breathing.” (54) In early spring, “tulip bulbs dream their own vegetable praise,” (66) while beloved birds, “music with feathers,” join in singing their own unique psalms. (22)

Beholding the Splendor

Generativity is a theme that ripples through Shaw’s words with integrity, for she is busy living her way into and through the aging process with its arthritis and its indignities by continuing to hone her craft and by daring to “dream optimism.” (87)

And no one writes seasonal poetry like Luci Shaw. The adornment of trees and moods of sky image their way into her words, and having composed original verse for her Christmas greetings since she was a child, her renderings of the biblical themes around incarnation and the glorious mysteries cause the deep Truth to sparkle anew:

“The dogwood leaves turn iron red in Fall,
their centers fully ripening–into small seeded balls,
each one a fruit vivid as Mary’s love, and edible.
The scion tree, once sprung from Jesse’s root,
speaks pain and life and love compressed
and taken in, eye, mouth, heart. Incredible
that now all Eucharists in our year suggest
the living Jesus is our Christmas guest.” (23)

When the eye of the beholder is connected to a poetic gift, the view is fresh and challenging, but everyone with an incarnational view of the universe is invited to behold the splendor in her own way. “Ordinary things may reveal the extraordinary for those willing to take time to investigate and ponder.” For Luci Shaw, ninety years of seeing has not taken the edge off wonder. This collection of new poems that focuses on the particulars and connects the dots to imagination are all the invitation I need.


Many thanks to Paraclete Press for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase Eye of the Beholder (Paraclete Poetry),simply click on the title here or within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

55 thoughts on “Standing on the Edge of Inside”

  1. Thank you for this post, Michele. I was so intrigued by your title, I searched a little more for writings by Richard Rohr, and found this jewel… “The edge of things is a liminal space — a very sacred place where guardian angels are especially available and needed. The edge is a holy place, or as the Celts called it, “a thin place” and you have to be taught how to live there. To take your position on the spiritual edge of things is to learn how to move safely in and out, back and forth, across and return. It is a prophetic position, not a rebellious or antisocial one. When you live on the edge of anything with respect and honor, you are in a very auspicious position. You are free from its central seductions, but also free to hear its core message in very new and creative ways. When you are at the center of something, you usually confuse the essentials with the non-essentials, and get tied down by trivia, loyalty tests and job security. Not much truth can happen there.” Many blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth, I so appreciate the research you do. Maybe it’s a gift of yours! What a great quote you’ve turned up, and it does such a great job clarifying that tiny slice of a quote I shared and referenced in my title. You have been such a great help!
      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Michele, you have not steered me wrong yet on a book selection and this one seems like it is right up my alley. Praise, the outdoors, birds (I am a birder) and wisdom from a 90-year-old source. Sounds like a must-read to me.

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  3. As I watch my godly mother struggle, heading into year 89, her body in such pain and with such limited mobility, Luci reminds me of the grace of shining brightly even toward the end. Godly perseverance and a tender heart yield great fruit and pure wisdom …

    Women in that final season have much to teach us about what matters most.

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    1. Linda, I’m so sorry you are in this season. So many of my friends right now are managing and mourning parental decline.
      I’ve learned a lot from Luci’s perspective. She’s had her share of aging woes, but is managing them with grace.
      Thanks for your input, Linda!

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  4. I so love the imagery of Luci’s offerings! I hope at 90 I can be as observant! (This is a great hope because being observant is NOT something I’m known for!)

    I also love that she talks so much about nature. As my friends know, I’m big on spending afternoon at lakes and parks and enjoying God’s creation. She speaks my language!

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    1. I really credit Luci with helping me to see and appreciate the beauty of creation. By nature, I am oblivious, but the past 20 years or so, my eyes have been opened, and I love writing about my observations now as well.
      See? We are trainable!

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  5. Michele,

    Thank you for this review.
    It’s about all I can do not to click over to Amazon and order it, but I’m already over my limit for the month, so must refrain.

    I’d like to give a shout out for two Christian women artists who LOVE Jesus and use their gifts to glorify Him:

    The first is my SIL, who is a master quilter and actually owns her own quilt design business called Eye Of The Beholder! Her website is http://www.eobquiltdesign.com

    The second is a caregiver for my mother who is 93. She loves to sing and recite poetry for my mom, which is SO wonderful for her as she has Alzheimer’s. At my mother’s urging, Becky finally published a collection of her poems, titled: Becky’s Poems, by Rebecca Hardison Smith, illustrations by Mary Barrows.

    Both these women’s lives sing with Joy and overflow with the Fruit of the Spirit:)

    Gratefully,
    Katie

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    1. I have so much respect for artists of the needle. Sewing is something that I do out of necessity and by compulsion only, but even so, when I do manage to pull something together, it’s very satisfying, so Eye of the Beholder must be a very satisfying venture for you SIL!
      And thank you for sharing Becky with readers here at Living Our Days. I just tried unsuccessfully to find her on Amazon, so I’m assuming her book is available some other way. if there’s a link or an address, do feel free to share it here.
      I’m grateful for your input today!

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  6. Luci Shaw inspires us all on so many levels. One is to remind us that age does not limit how God can use us. Thanks for this review. Will see if I can work another book into the budget.😊 I am more fond of prose than poetry, but some are an exception❤️

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  7. I haven’t read Shaw for many years!! Thank you for reminding me of her astute and lovely gifts of words and image! What a legacy and stalwart word crafter.

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  8. I love how we all can see the same thing differently. “In the eye of the beholder”… We are blessed to be given opportunities to experience His beauty through nature and other ways. 🙂

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  9. This sounds like a wonderful book. I have always thought of myself a bit like that. Or, thought of photographers a bit like that as well. I’m always lagging a bit behind or beside everyone else as I try to capture the elusive moment.

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  10. Helen, thanks for sharing this on Esme’s #SeniorSalon. I haven’t heard of Luci Shaw before but your review has prompted me to look up her work from a poetry perspective! Thanks so much for posting – I hope you don’t mind but I have shared this on my reg blog feature “Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You”, Claire x

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    1. Richard Rohr seems to be a fountain of depth, and I will admit that I have yet to read an entire book by him, even though I’ve been benefiting from his wisdom (second hand) for years. Maybe that’s a good goal for 2019.

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  11. I’m ashamed to say I have not come across Luci Shaw before, but am glad that you have reviewed this and opened my eyes to something so inspirational. I am definitely going to give this book a go! Thank you so much! #TwinklyTuesday

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