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Five Penances: Penance I


TFTL Spaar updated photoLisa Russ Spaar is a Professor of English and Creative Writing in UVA's Department of English in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Professor Spaar's poetry collections include Vanitas, RoughSatin Cash; and Blue Venus. Her recent novel is Paradise Close. She has edited several anthologies and books of essays, including the recent Monticello in Mind: Fifty Contemporary Poems on Jefferson. Her most recent collection of poetry is entitled, Madrigalia:  New & Selected Poems. In celebration of National Poetry Month, Professor Spaar is sharing her poems: Five Penances with readers of Thoughts From the Lawn. 



Five Penances: Penance I


Penance I


This sadness feels Medieval,

locked in ice and dusk

with just enough murk


to keep us from telling

two like coins apart

and to send us scuttling home


to the lives we’ve earned,

with no toothed wheel

in God’s clock turret


to mark off and measure

our conflux of gain and loss,

but just enough light left


to blow our souls apart

with loneliness—that hair’s-breadth,

secondhand undertaking of the heart.


©  Lisa Russ Spaar

From Blue Venus (Persea Books, 2004)



TFTL Penance I artwork correct size
Oil on Panel by Richard Crozier, Professor Emeritus,
Department of Art in UVA's College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences