The four elements necessary
to make and keep a fire going:
dry fuel,
enough heat,
flickering shadows.

do roots follow
the path of least resistance,
seeking water?
Are they led
by shadows of moisture?

Is pale skin
due to long exposure
to shadow?

Does the shadowy underside of a leaf
grow as fast
as the sunny upper side?

If shadows are doors to another world,
are they closed
or open?
If closed,
who has the key?
If open,
who’s gone through?

Shadows confuse engineers.
They are impossible to measure
The closer you come
to a shadow’s edge,
the less defined
it is.

The god of shadows
is the god of dreams.

How were human shadows
in the Hiroshima

Why is a shadow like an iceberg?

a. It’s a little chunk of a vast body.
b. It floats.
c. The farther down you trace it, the bigger it is.
d. It’s only temporary.
e. All of the above.

At night
all the little shadows
slip back
to their mother’s breast.

If shadows
had pillows,
they’d pull them
over their heads
when they sleep.

When did the first shadow appear?

When God said, “Let there be light!”

Is a shadow
an integral part of light,
like something that wallows
in the trough of the wave
or races beside
the speeding particle?

Or is shadow
an integral part of an object
which is released
by the touch of light?

37 percent of all shadows that have ever existed
have been in the twentieth century.
26 percent of them are in existence today.
79 percent of all mobile shadows that have ever
wandered the earth
are moving through the world this minute.

Do the body’s
inner organs
know shadow?

For the kids at the California School for Blind and Deaf

Living without light
is not a life
lived in shadow.
There are other forms
of opacity
and luminosity
and other senses to know them.
What about dreams? I ask you.
What do you mean, dreams,
you say,
throwing an unblinking look
over my shoulder.

Why does smoke
floating off
cremated human flesh
cast no shadow?

Rainy days,
trees hug their shadows up
into their green bellies.
Longing to cover themselves,
they build a shelter of shadows
over their boughs and branches.

If I’m in a forgiving mood
as I die,
I’ll will my shadow
to my best friend.

Today, I will my shadow
to someone I haven’t yet met,
someone I will love.

When lovers’ shadows touch,
do sparks fly?
Is a slight moaning sound released?
Does the smell of the shadow of waves
wash over their faces?

In my voice,
the night,
which rules
the universe.

In my face,
the moon,
which I see
in your face, too.

Can my shadow smell
the fragrant shadow of a rose?

Where does my little girl’s shadow go
when I lean over to pick her up?

Most mammal babies
are born at night.

Stop clear-cutting trees.
The earth needs its forest shadows.
Without them,
the illusion of victory over the unknown
and mysterious
will force us all into politics.

The five elements composing the Western world are

The six elements composing the Eastern world are

Nobody notices shadows
until someone
points them out.

What color
is the crow’s shadow?
Name the color of
apple-blossom shadows.
What color flows off mountains
into cars, drenching drivers’ clothes,
swamping farms, towns, and cities?

Photography can prove
what the human eye can’t:
moving bullets have shadows.
But photography can’t tell whether
bullet shadows penetrate flesh.

The “long shadow of history”
is not really a shadow.
It is a story,
unless you’re referring to
Big Al History,
the 6' 9" accountant,
at sunset.

Unlike pigs,
shadows can lie
in mud and slime for hours
without soiling themselves.
Shadows can slide through blood
on the slaughterhouse floor
without getting wet.
In fact, shadows lead blood
out of wounded bodies,
holding and shaping
the brilliant red pool in the dirt.

I know a rich man
whose mansion is on top of a hill.
He shines spotlights around his property
every night, all night long,
to protect himself and his family
from creatures who lurk in the shadows.
He complains about the cost of light bulbs
and the high price of electricity.
Do you know this man, too?

In our shadows,
ultimate democracy,
complete unity,
no matter where
or who
in the universe
we are.

At any time,
half the planet is in shadow,
half in sunlight.
In sun, shadows array themselves
around beings like petals
around the faces of flowers.
As the day rolls away,
shadows stretch and fade,
moving with the planet
toward the great shadow
named night.

A son’s story:

Where my pen meets the page,
it’s as if the writing
comes out of the pen’s shadow.

Does my public life
come out of the place
where the memory
of my father’s shadow
touches the blank page of my days?

Hungry for the delicate rasp
of shadow on their eyelids,
soft paw of shadow on their shoulders,
tiny nick and scratch
of shadow on their thighs,
lovers leave on the lights.

Discovery originates in shadow.

“It just dawned on me . . .”

Inside almost every house in this country,
people pour out great gouts of electricity
to ban shadows.

Words on a page
drink in all the light
where they lie,
on their backs,
Tip the paper up.
A minuscule shadow retreats
under the bottom of the letters.

When he was young, he was afraid of the shadows
in the corner of his room and under his bed.

Now, he said, the only shadow I fear is the one
in the center of the X-ray, the one my doctor
can’t name.

When strong light comes
where do shadows go?

Do you have
your light
the same way you have
your shadow?


it’s nothing . . .


the shadow of a thought

passing. . . .