“Powerlessness: Redeeming the Memory of Trauma in _Patience_” by Jane Beal

My peer-reviewed academic article, “Powerlessness: Redeeming the Memory of Trauma in Patience,” now appears in Integrité 19:1 (Spring 2020), 14-36.


This essay on Patience, a fourteenth-century, Middle English poem, explores the parallel between the sense of powerlessness experienced by the poem’s speaker as a result of poverty and the powerlessness experienced by Jonah as a result of his prophetic calling. The speaker’s redemptive healing can be understood in terms of the narrative identification with Jonah and the progression through the Christian contemplative stages of humility, purgation, illumination, maturation, and unification. As the conclusion to the poem shows, this process strengthens the virtue of long-suffering in the speaker, not in isolation, but in community with the readers of the poem.

“Lúthien’s Lullaby for Dior” by Jane Beal with Chinese translation by Wingelot

My poem, “Lúthien’s Lullaby for Dior,” now appears in Arda Poetry 2 (2020), in English with a Chinese translation by Wingelot.

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Lúthien’s Lullaby for Dior
by Jane Beal

Before you, before me, there was my mother,
Melian the Maia, who lived in Valinor,
and served the Valar, and saw the light of the Two Trees
with her own far-seeing eyes.
In the gardens of lovely Lórien,
she took on the form of the fairest Eldar
and taught the nightingales to sing.
She was standing in a glade open to the stars
when my father, Elwë Singollo, came fast to her,
and took her hand, so that, with that touch,
they were both enchanted and stood for years together
as the trees grew around them and the stars wheeled overhead.

I sing a song for you, my son, 
Dior, darling Eluchíl, future King of Doriath! 
I sing a song of love for you, my son – 

Before you were born, I was born,
in the Kingdom of a Thousand Caves, in mighty Menegroth,
in Beleriand, protected by the Girdle of Melian,
and they called me the fairest of the Children of Eru Iluvatar.
I grew and sang and danced, free in my forest of trees,
to the sound of a secret flute, and there, your father
found me, as my mother knew he would, at moonrise,
but I vanished, even as he called me Tinúviel, daughter of twilight.
By doom and by destiny, oath-bound and enchanted,
we two became one on a journey to do justice:
I shifted shape to set your father free, and he
cut the Silmaril from Morgoth’s Iron Crown.

I sing a song for you, my son, 
Dior, darling Eluchíl, future King of Doriath! 
I sing a song of love for you, my son – 

Now I know the future, and the hard sorrow that it holds,
as I look ahead through a veil, like my mother before me,
and I see the wide waterfall of Lanthir Lamath,
and Nimloth, your bride, and Elured and Elurin, your mighty sons,
and Elwing, your darling daughter, the Star-Spray of Night.
I see the defeat of the Dwarves, at your deft hand,
and Nauglamir – ah, Nauglamir! – the necklace you will bring me
to avenge my father’s death, shining with the Silmaril
your father cut from Morgoth’s Iron Crown,
so that I will wear it and so that the Land of the Dead Who Live,
and even this green isle of Tol Galen,
will be filled, in the new year, with the last light of Yavanna’s Two Trees.
One day, your father will die in his last battle,
and I, too, will die, for I have Chosen,
but you will live until you are slain
and descend into the Halls of Mandos.

I sing a song for you, my son, 
Dior, darling Eluchíl, future King of Doriath! 
I sing a song of love for you, my son —

chosen before Time for the triune blood
that flows like a fountain of hope through your veins
from the far-seeing Maiar, the immortal Eldar,
and the swift Edain, your father’s people,
the ones who live and die,
for a doom Eru Iluvatar deems,
and I know, my sweet son, lying innocent in my arms,
that you bear within your beautiful body
the whole future of Middle-earth.

































































注1:本诗涉及的情节和《精灵宝钻》的故事有所出入,疑为托尔金早期写作中的故事版本。注2:简·比尔博士是一位诗人、文学学者,加州大学戴维斯分校的副研究员。她关于J.R.R.托尔金的作品见于《粗糙的魔法》(This Rough Magic)、《托尔金学术期刊》(The Journal of Tolkien Studies),以及《托尔金百科全书》(The J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia)。本诗是受克利夫兰州立大学的音乐教授艾琳•玛丽•摩尔委托而创作的,她为其谱曲,并在2016年5月于西密歇根大学举办的第51届中世纪研究国际大会的“托尔金自由创作”分会场上演。她目前正在写作关于中洲神话中的爱与救赎的专题论著。更多信息请见janebeal.wordpress.com。


_PEARL: A Middle English Edition and Modern English Translation_ by Jane Beal

I’ve waited for many years to be able to announce my NEW BOOK: Pearl: A Middle English Edition and Modern English Translation, which is now available from Broadview Press! Although the book is printed, it can’t currently be shipped because it is on lockdown in a warehouse due to the world-wide coronavirus pandemic. It can, however, be pre-ordered! 🙂 The e-version, I believe, is available now, too.

Beal - Pearl - Cvr Design (website image)


Pearl is an exquisitely beautiful, fourteenth-century, Middle English dream vision poem. In it, a man falls asleep in a garden mourning the pearl he lost, and when his “spirit springs into space,” he finds himself in a bejeweled landscape, where birdsong begins to comfort his heart, and he comes to a stream, across which stands the young woman he loved: his beloved Pearl-Maiden, dressed in white, crowned with a pearl-crown, and wearing the “perle of prys” on her breast, standing beneath shining cliffs of crystal. They talk at length – of his sorrow on earth, and her bliss in heaven – and he longs to cross the water to be with her, but is forbidden. 

The Pearl-Maiden reveals that she has asked for a “sight” to be shown to the Dreamer, a vision of the New Jerusalem, which he beholds in awe. There he sees the Lamb, bleeding from an open wound in his side, but who has a joyful countenance. He sees the Pearl-Maiden herself, his “lyttel quene,” in procession with many others following the Lamb, and he feels like he is going mad with longing to be with her. Against the warning he received, he tries to cross the stream – only to awaken suddenly! As he meditates on the meaning of his dream vision, his anger dissipates, his grief subsides somewhat, and he realizes that God is his Friend. He prays at the end that we would all be “precious pearls” to that Prince.

In my life, I have found this poem to bring great comfort and consolation when I have faced loss, death or sorrow. May it be for a blessing in these times! 

  • With many thanks to my editors at Broadview, my reviewers, including David Coley and Randy Schiff, my teachers who taught me to read this poem, and especially my students who inspired me to translate this for them and anyone who wants to read, understand, enjoy, and profit from its wisdom.

“Zebel and Salome, the Virgin Mary’s Midwives: Doubt, Faith, and the Miraculous in a Medieval Legend” by Jane Beal

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My article, “Zebel and Salome, the Virgin Mary’s Midwives: Doubt, Faith, and the Miraculous in a Medieval Legend,” now appears in Midwifery Today 131 (Autumn 2019), 44-46.


“The birth of Jesus is perhaps the most famous birth in the world. It is called the Nativity (meaning “the Birth”) and represented in homes, churches, and communities by iconic Nativity scenes at Christmastime, when it is celebrated by Christians (and many non-Christians) worldwide. Nativity scenes recall figures from the birth and infancy stories of Jesus preserved in the gospels of Matthew and Luke as well as extra-biblical sources, including Christmas carols: a stable with a star shining over it; domesticated animals like the ox, ass, and sheep; angels, shepherds, and Magi (also known as the Wise Men or Three Kings); and Joseph and Mary, come from Galilee to Bethlehem to participate in a Roman census, and of course, the baby Jesus lying in a hay-filled manger.

            “Away in a manger, no crib for a bed –

            the little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head;

            the stars in the sky look down where he lay –

            the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.”

          “Away in a Manger” (late 19thc.)

Figures that we almost never see depicted in Nativity scenes today are Zebel and Salome, the midwives who were long believed to have attended Mary when she gave birth to Jesus. That’s because no midwives are named, or even mentioned, in the Nativity accounts in the biblical Gospels of Matthew and Luke. But in the late-antique and medieval periods, several well-known written documents and visual sources depict two midwives with Mary when Jesus was born. These midwives, Zebel and Salome, play a vitally important role in such depictions: their doubt and faith, their practical knowledge and spiritual authority, are used to verify the miraculous nature of the virgin birth.”

“Question and Answer” and Other Poems by Jane Beal

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My poems, “Question and Answer,” “A Flower in a Prayer-Vision,” “Out of the Birdcage,” “Wave,” “The Red Bridge,” “The Path of Life,” and “Paraphrase from an Ancient Greek Letter,” now appear in Integrité: A Journal of Faith and Learning 18:1 (Spring 2019), 88-91.

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The Red Bridge

The Red Bridge
(painted by 
Jane Beal)

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