When I find a feather, I have long believed that it is a sign – God sending me a reminder that he is with me, and that small things can be important in helping me know that. I find feathers often and in strange places. Once, a tiny feather blew across and stuck to my windshield on a drizzly day. One afternoon when I sat on my back porch, praying through a troubled time, I looked up to see what seemed to be a snowflake because of the way it drifted down to the flagstone path. I looked up to see a dove on the edge of our roof – her bit of breast feather fluttering to the ground.
No wonder then, that I like Luci Shaw’s poem, Magnificat, published in the collection titled The Angles of Light.
“I am singing my Advent to you, God: How all year
I’ve felt your thrusts, every sound and sight piercing
like a little sword – the creak of gulls, the racket
as waves jostle pebbles, the road after rain –
shining like a river, the scrub of wind on the cheek, a flute
trilling – clean as a knife, the immeasurable chants of green,
of sky: messages, announcements. But of what? Who?
Then, last Tuesday, one peacock feather (surprise!)
spoke from the grass; Flannery called hers “a genuine
word of the Lord.” And I – as startled as Mary, nearly,
at your arrival in her chamber (the invisible
suddenly seen, urgent, iridescent, having put on light
for her regard) – I brim over like her, quickening. I can’t
stop singing, thoroughly pregnant with Word! ”
Lucy Shaw, Magnificat, part of collection published in
Angles of Light