“Faith is like a Shimmering Veil” by Jane Beal

My creative non-fiction, prose poem reflection, “Faith is like a Shimmering Veil,” now appears in the blog of Tiferet: Screen Shot 2019-12-06 at 4.18.19 PM

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_Bliss_ by Jane Beal

Bliss

My new haiku micro-chapbook, Bliss,
is now available from Origami Poems.

BLISS

sunset over Wales
a girl looks through the window
of a speeding train

from a tower-top
in a big, modern city
the medieval bridge

walking down the hill
to Indian food in Leeds
the blue hydrangea

Museum Gardens
a Yorkshire hedgehog waddles
under a green bush

at Castle Howard
little, brown butterflies
dance in the heather

an old woman sits
on the park bench by herself –
the river flows by

jb

 (Britain, 2019)

  • You can click, download, print, fold, and cut this micro-chap into your own little book! Directions here.

 

 

“A Gather of Lesser Goldfinches” by Jane Beal

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My poem, “A Gather of Lesser Goldfinches,” now appears in the Anglican Theological Review 101:4 (Fall 2019), 732.

A GATHER OF LESSER GOLDFINCHES

The lesser goldfinches have come!
They gather in the November colors

of the California maple tree, whistling as they
turn upside down and eat the seeds,

letting black husks fall to the ground
with the dead leaves, crackling.

The gathering of lesser goldfinches
is a magical crown around the maple tree,

gently turning in gyre,
expanding, contracting, singing

that a new life will come—
a new life, a new life, a new life.

jb

“The Bird of the Soul” by Jane Beal

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My poem, “The Bird of the Soul: A Psalm of Lament,” now appears in the Jewish Literary Journal 77 (November 2019).

The Bird of the Soul
A Psalm of Lament

I.

I am in love with you.
I need you
to come to me
here.

Why will you not come?

I bow my head in grief.
The tears come from a deep place.
Shana tova,a woman says,
and I understand what she means.

Why will you not come?

How can it be a good thing
if my heart breaks,
and out of the ashes of my heart,
something new grows?

Why will you not come?

O God, perfect heart-builder!
You said he would come to me here.
But he says he will not come.

O God, I am alone without him.
My heart is breaking in pieces,
and it is a new year.

II.

My soul is a bird
in pain.  

My heart is a leaping bird
breaking in flight.

The nest is empty.
The nest is empty now.

When there were nestlings,
a cruel child came

and struck the mud nests
from the wall, so that they fell

and all our nestlings
died.

Now my soul is with the other bird-women,
crying in a wheeling-circle over the nesting place

where there is nothing
except what has fallen

to the ground,
to the ground.

My soul is a bird
in pain. 

My heart is a leaping bird
breaking in flight.

III.

Now it is the Day of Atonement,
and I must atone for my sins.
I know I have sinned, and I blame myself,
and I fear that I have forsaken my blessing
by reaching out to take it too soon.

O Lord God, have mercy on me!
My longing was so great!

If you cut open the pomegranate,
you will see my heart.
My heart is a leaping bird, breaking in flight.

All night I lie dreaming, and nothing
takes away my sorrow.

IV.

On Wednesday, I will go outside
and begin to build the outdoor tent, where
I am supposed to live this week and remember
how my ancestors dwelled in tents
in the wilderness before God
brought us into the Promised Land.

I will see the birds fly overhead by day,
and the stars wheel overhead by night.
It is the season of harvest.
Even my dog knows the time.
My womb, however, weeps blood,
again and again and again.

V.

I want to sing the songs that are inside,
each one a little babe –

I want to sing the psalms that save and bind up
bright and broken wings –

songs like lullabies
to little hearts, like lullabies to mine –

but never again sung to rock the cradle,
never again to watch it fall down.

O, how can the childless mother
make a wish in the dark? The silence

is very deep now. The silence
is profound.

jb

“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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_Garden_ by Jane Beal

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My poetry micro-chap, Gardenis now available
from Origami Poems (2019).

Special directions:
how to download, save, print,
and fold the chapbook.

 GARDEN

entering the garden 

water trickles down
the hollow of an old stone
a bird stoops to drink

turtle pond

a turtle hatchling
is all alone on her stone
but the sun is warm 

two turtles sunbathe
on a stone in the dark pond
watching me watch them 

an older turtle
circles in the pond water
looking for a stone 

duck pond

the hen is asleep
but the drake is holding his
morning yoga pose

humble waterfall
pouring down into the pond
going deeper still

afternoon sunlight
a green leaf in deep water
reaches for the sky

origami in the garden

white origami
cast in metal and shining
birds and butterflies

a paper airplane!
then the white peace crane unfolds
to become a star

shining buffalo
with a small bird on his back
looking out at us

leaving the garden

the old mother-tree
and her branching canopy
stays in memory

jb

***

for Michelle Smoler
teacher, yogi, neighbor, sister, friend

***

inspired by the artwork of Robert Lang and Kevin Box
in the exhibit at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens
Claremont, California * April 2019

_PRAISE & LAMENT: Psalms for the God of Birds_ by Jane Beal

BEAL - Praise & Lament - 2019 CVR

My new volume of psalm-poems, Praise and Lament: Psalms for the God of Birdsis now available from Lulu Press (2019).

PSALM 3
Now I See a Yellow-Billed Stork

Lord, I see an elephant with long tusks
alone on the savanna –

I see giraffes with long necks
striding together in the morning.

I see hippos in the Nile
and a kingfisher flying in midair –

I see a mother monkey
who carries her baby on her back.

I see a water buffalo,
and he sees me!

I see a wild warthog
trotting away through the trees.

Now I see a yellow-billed stork
standing in the river-shallows.

O Lord, how marvelous is every creature
You have made!

jb

_Journey_ by Jane Beal

My poetry micro-chapbook, Journey,
is now available from Origami Poems Press (2019).

Special directions:
how to download, save, print,
and fold the chapbook.

Journey - CVR

From Los Angeles to Vallejo and Back

 from Los Angeles …

Angelenos drive
slowly through the pouring rain
no longer racing

red-winged blackbirds sing
together in Tejon Pass
the rain stops falling 

to Vallejo 

red-breasted robin
on the rooftop after rain
singing to a friend

no old woman here!
eyes sparking with youthfulness,
she laughs everyday

three brothers drinking
before nine in the morning
I’ve seen this before

in a sudden storm
hail breaks hard on my windshield
the road disappears

my lover leans back
his eyes meeting mine like doves
drawn to the river

my love is with me
quietly talking at night
intimate whispers

my lover draws close
our hearts sing without touching,
kiss without kissing

I stand with Stacey
on the pier and look across
the water at the white boat

the bridge spans the Bay
from Benicia to Crockett
view from the Dead Fish

three children painted
in bright colors yesterday
picture them smiling!

moon sets at sunrise
in pale pink, purple, and blue
as we walk and pray

my grandmother’s heart
is being opened today
a new pacemaker 

… and back

pink blossoms
sunlight on green grass
swaying in the wind 

snow-capped peaks
greening mountainsides
spring is near

jb

***

for Miguel
you are the perfect lover for me

***

Journey (Origami Poems, 2019)

“The Secret Power of Philomela’s Transformation” by Jane Beal

Nightingale

My essay, “The Secret Power of Philomela’s Transformation,” now appears in The Nightingale: The Awakened Voices Blog (28 March 2019).

EXCERPT: 

“This past summer, I visited England, and I saw a nightingale for the first time in the gardens of Lacock Abbey when I went walking there. It was a really extraordinary moment for me. That little brownish bird is a symbol of hope – with a legendary history.

There are no nightingales in America, but there are many in Europe and England, where the song of the nightingale is well-known and well-loved. That song has been associated with poets and poetry for hundreds of years, perhaps most famously in the Romantic poet John Keats’ poem, “Ode to a Nightingale,” in which he declares, “Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!”

This is a powerful claim, one that apparently comes from Keats’ familiarity with the haunting legend of Philomela. Originating in Greco-Roman myth but little known today, Philomela’s story is that of a rape survivor who was transformed into a nightingale. I see a secret power in her transformation that can encourage sexual abuse and assault survivors living in our world now.”

“Remembering _The Forgetting Room_” by Jane Beal

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My essay, “Remembering The Forgetting Room,” now appears in The Remembered Arts Journal (Fall 2018) along with my original art collage, “Memory.”

EXCERPT:

“We often say in English, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” We don’t often realize that bridges come to us. We think we are moving, and bridges are stationary. But we carry our bridges in our hearts. Where we go, they go, and they are always with us—even if they are hidden under layers of paint or forgetfulness. In a spiritual sense, we stand on a bridge, over a high place, waiting for our destiny.”