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Five Penances: Penance III

TFTL Lisa Russ Spaar headshotLisa 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. Professor Spaar is pairing her five-part series with her former UVA art professor, Richard Crozier.



Five Penances: Penance III


Penance III


An early April wind scours

this late afternoon with its annual exposé,


twisting and cuffing a red paper lantern

hung outside the Vietnamese noodle shop.


A runnel from the broken gutter above

taps   taps   against its tissued drum


with a maddeningly slow-motion, lyric clarity,

wresting into itself all of the weak, returning light,


spotting the patch of shoveled snow beneath

with drops of blood.  I kick through


the sooty slush, trailing the takeout window

and its sputtering scarf of heat and garlic


behind me.  O world that forces joy

upon us, who seemed made for sorrow.


©  Lisa Russ Spaar

From Blue Venus (Persea Books, 2004)


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