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Five Penances: Penance V

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, whom she credits with helping her look closely at the world as she has created her poetry over the years.



Five Penances: Penance V


Penance V


Fare well, stark

   arterial calligraphy

leanly strapping the dead lawn;


goodbye, monastic,

   unimpeded light.

For this gangly impost


of forsythia will arch

   beside the drive,

and pollen reign in baroque haze


among treetops

   flocked with gold

and blowsy scepters.


Do we invent what we need?

   Then these clustering birds,

sherry-eyed and exultant scions,


sing for you, from whom

   the world has reclaimed a gift.

Like me, they want to fill your empty arms.


©  Lisa Russ Spaar

From Blue Venus (Persea Books, 2004)



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