“Mothers as Artists” by Jane Beal

My article, “Mothers as Artists,” with my poem, “Gold Sparrows,” now appears in Midwifery Today 135 (Fall 2020).

FROM THE INTRODUCTION:

When I was a little girl, I used to watch my mother. She was a calligrapher. My father made a light table for her where she laid down her pages and, bent attentively over the light, she wrote. The light table illuminated a lined page behind an unlined parchment page so that my mother could write a straight script across the parchment without marking lines on the parchment itself. She would write fancy scripts and make lovely flowers, gilded with silver or gold from her tiny paint pots, and create something beautiful: a wedding invitation, a birth announcement, a wall hanging, a bookmark. Her pens had special, pointed nibs that she dipped in black inkwells, from which flowed many precious words, often from scripture and sometimes from poetry. From my mother, I learned that mothers are artists.

POEM

Gold Sparrows

Our branches intertwine,
our sparrows are golden in sunlight.

Green curlicues of fabric
frame our lives like leaves—

new life, prophetic art:
a gift marking time.

jb

“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.

ABSTRACT:

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.

_Wide Awake & Dreaming_ by Jane Beal

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My new haiku micro-chapbook, Wide Awake and Dreaming,
is now available from Origami Poems.

Wide Awake
and Dreaming

1

morning mist
the mountain
disappears

pink hibiscus
the hummingbird
appears

2

at night, the Lighthouse,
lit up for a wedding
my lover and I walk past

sitting by dark water,
I listen to his heart
the illuminated bridge

a white-crowned sparrow
disappears
into the green hedge

3

my shadow
walks through the shadows
of autumn trees

yellow light on the blue mountains
yellow leaf on the blue road

up the gold hill
a dark tree
white sky

4

winter rain
against my window
awakens me

the sky turns
white, gray, ash-blue
then, the lightning

snow
on the mountain
my heart full of yearning

5 

white, wind-blown roses
in the rain
thorns scratch my hands

full moon
shining on white roses
little children

white roses
reach up toward white clouds
blue sky 

6

Ever After

the wind blows
yellow ginko leaves
onto dark, wooden roof shingles

I turn the corner
the moon is still following
me around the bend

jb

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

“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.

jb

露西恩给迪奥的摇篮曲注1作者:简•比尔注2

翻译:Wingelot

为你唱一支歌谣,我的孩子,

迪奥,亲爱的埃路奇尔,多瑞亚斯未来的君王!

为你唱一支爱的歌谣,我的孩子——

远在你我出生之前,我的母亲

迈雅美丽安,居住在维林诺

侍奉众维拉,她深远的目光

见证了双圣树的光辉。

在罗瑞恩美丽的花园里,

她取了埃尔达最美的形体,

教会了夜莺歌唱。

星光洒落在她驻足的林间空地,

当我的父亲,埃尔威•辛葛洛,疾步走向她

牵起她的手,于是一触之间

他们在魔咒中伫立经年,

身旁树木萌发,头顶群星盘桓。

为你唱一支歌谣,我的孩子,

迪奥,亲爱的埃路奇尔,多瑞亚斯未来的君王!

为你唱一支爱的歌谣,我的孩子——

远在你出生之前,我生在

千石窟宫殿,壮丽的明霓国斯,

在贝烈瑞安德,安卧于美丽安的环带之间,

他们称我为一如·伊露维塔的儿女中最美的一位。

回应着幽微的笛音,我在林间自由地成长,歌唱,起舞

你的父亲在那里找到了我,

在月升的时刻,正如我母亲的预言,

但我消失无踪,即便他唤我以“缇努维尔”,暮光的女儿。

因循判决与命运,背负誓言与魔咒,

我们一同踏上正义的旅程,

我改易形貌,解救你的父亲,而他

从魔苟斯的铁王冠上,切下了那颗精灵宝钻。

为你唱一支歌谣,我的孩子,

迪奥,亲爱的埃路奇尔,多瑞亚斯未来的君王!

为你唱一支爱的歌谣,我的孩子——

如今当我望穿时间的面纱,如同在我之前的母亲,

我知晓了未来,和它承载的深深的忧伤。

我看到蓝西尔·拉马斯宽阔的瀑布,

和宁洛丝,你的新娘,还有埃路瑞德与埃路林,你骁勇的儿子,

以及埃尔汶,你挚爱的女儿,夜空洒落的星光。

我看到矮人溃败于你的巧手,

还有瑙格拉弥尔——唉,瑙格拉弥尔!——你将赠予我的项链

作为辛葛之死的复仇,而与它一同闪耀的

是你的父亲从铁王冠上切下的精灵宝钻。

于是我戴上它,使死而复生者之地,

乃至翠绿的托尔嘉兰岛,

在不久的未来,盈满雅凡娜的双圣树最后的光辉。

终有一天,你的父亲将殒于他的最后一战,

而我也将逝去,因为我已选择这样的命运;

但你将活下去直到就戮,

归于曼督斯的殿堂。

为你唱一支歌谣,我的孩子,

迪奥,亲爱的埃路奇尔,多瑞亚斯未来的君王!

为你唱一支爱的歌谣,我的孩子,

你在时间开始前便被选中,三重血脉

如同希望之泉在你的血管中奔流,

它们来自远见的迈雅,不朽的埃尔达,

和倏忽而逝的伊甸人,你父亲的族裔,

他们向死而生,

为着一如·伊露维塔所指定的命运。

而我知道,我可爱的孩子,天真地静卧在我的臂弯,

在你美丽的身躯之内,

承载着中洲全部的未来。

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。

以下为诗歌原文
 

_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. UPDATE: The printed edition can now be shipped (July 7, 2020).

Beal - Pearl - Cvr Design (website image)

Abstract: 

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.

Song of the Selkie by Jane Beal

My new poetry collection, Song of the Selkieis now available for pre-order from Aubade Publishing.

Song of the Selkie

BEFORE READING THE BOOK OF RUTH

Before reading the book of Ruth, I was sitting in silence:  I saw myself, naked, standing under a waterfall. Bright water was pouring over me.

I looked into the water, and a silver fish leaped up! I caught this fish in my hands. It lay breathing between my palms, one eye looking at me. I let it go, back into the water, and I followed it downward.

Underwater, I found the bed of the stream. There were sparkling-bright jewels lying on the surface of the sandy streambed. I was transformed into a selkie as I was swimming over those gems, my eyes full of light, my lungs full of water, the lower half of my body like the lower half of a powerful seal – full of hidden meaning.

I sat down underwater, curling my tail around me, the upper half of my body floating in the gentle current as I opened the book that appeared between my hands. The pages were wet, of course, but they were not damaged at all. From the pages of the open book, jewels floated upward, hovering in the water before me,

bright and shining.

jb

“How to be an Artist” by Jane Beal

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My creative nonfiction essay, “How to be an Artist,” appears in Fireflies’ Light 18 (2020), 60-61.

EXCERPT

“Listen. Listen to your senses … your memories … the natural world … the Spirit of the Living God … to the people near you, wherever you are, wherever they are. Listen to the questions that call forth the possibilities and the inspiration that are always inside.”

 

 

“Descanso Gardens at Christmas” by Jane Beal

My haiku series, “Descansco Gardens at Christmas,”
now appears in Fireflies Light 17 (December 2019), 30.

Descanso Gardens
at Christmas

Hutton’s vireo!
little spirit of pure joy
flitters by water

the dark-eyed juncos
three wise-men on a journey
to bow down to Love

carols from treetops!
music reveals angels
swooping over earth

the woodpecker’s beak
hammers at the old oak trees
carpenter-father

sweet, spotted towee
preparing her gentle breast
the virgin-mother

step back, look and see
I kneel down quietly
in silence and awe

light shines through the oaks
on the antlers of the stag
Jesus, Prince of Peace

jb

A Stag in Descansco Gardens - Dec 2019

La Cañada Flintridge

Three Haiku from “In Search of Tuna Canyon Labyrinth” by Jane Beal

Malibu Beach Near Tuna Canyon

Three of my new haiku, from my haiku series “In Search of Tuna Canyon Labyrinth,” now appear in The Asahi Haikuist.

the rear-view mirror
reveals the snow-capped mountains
as we drive away

*

sliver of white moon
shining in the deep blue dark
a broken seashell

*

we look for the maze
but didn’t find it today
the music played on

jb

_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

“The Song of Dionysius” by Jane Beal

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My poems, “The Song of Dionysius” and “The Tattoo Artist,” now appear in fws: a journal of literature and art 1:2 (Fall 2019).

THE SONG OF DIONYSIUS              

I am coming to you
through the wine country
carrying my staff
wrapped in ivy
and dripping with honey.

Come meet me in the fields
of endless pleasure. 

Come to me, Ariadne,
darling princess, royal bride –
you are everything
I want, and I am
everything you want.

Come meet me, singing,
with the epiphany of your body.

I am coming to you
with the fox-skin of new life,
with the heritage of the twice-born,
richer than your wildest dreams,
more intoxicating than golden wine.

Come meet me at dusk, when the peacocks
are crying out from the shadows.

Come with me, and bring
the labyrinth of your heart –
I know the way in, and
I know the way out. My wine
is for your sweet mouth.

jb

 

_Hail, Radiant Star! Seven Medievalist Poets_ edited by Jane Beal

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My new poetry anthology,
Hail, Radiant Star! Seven Medievalist Poets (2019),
is now available from Finishing Line Press.

There are seven poets who have written poems to light up the little universe of the book:  Jane Beal, Gail Berlin, Albrecht Classen, Thom Foy, Katharine Jager, A.J. Odasso, and Katherine Durham Oldmixon (Garza). Each poet has contributed a group of nine poems, and in reading and re-reading these verses, readers may be able to discern themes that unify each group like constellations are connected by stars in the night sky … There are eighty-eight constellations in the night sky. In the microcosmos of Hail, Radiant Star!, there are just seven: the Crown, the Lyre, the Pegasus, the Lion, the Ship’s Keel, the Twins, and the Virgin. Yet hopefully there is enough light from them to brighten a reader’s heart.

–Jane Beal, editor of Hail, Radiant Star!: Seven Medievalist Poets

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Unicorn

The tender scene, so beautiful in the forest,
when the maiden sits in the middle of the path that runs
through the trees, and the unicorn lays his head in her lap:

Incarnation of God! What magic is in the world?
The hunters draw closer, but still, you lie at peace
like a newborn baby wrapped in swaddling clothes

and laid in a manger. The woman with you cannot
imagine how the sword will pierce
her own heart, too.

~ Jane Beal

 

 

“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