Archive for March, 2011

Everything for Love

“Let us do everything for love and, remembering that love longs for love alone, nothing can appear hard to us.” ~ St. Theresa Margaret

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WordPress is awesome. It’s giving me the opportunity not only to like someone else’s blogpost, but to repost it in mine as a way of honoring the one who wrote it … and spreading the beautiful word. This poem, “Spring” was written by Billimarie at Typewriter Poetry — and I truly love it.

I have been thinking about Japan daily and praying for the people there, especially those trying to contain the fall-out from the nuclear reactors damaged by the tsunami. This poem was written for them.

I hope you, dear reader, like me, can see the beauty in this tribute. (Right after you read the prompt, click “read more” and you will be directed to “Spring” … ) Selah!

"SPRING" prompt: “Can you please write something regarding japan, lost & new love, nostalgia, tying in with the blossoming Sakura?? It’s very important in their culture, yet I see so few poems about it. Or you can feel free to venture into any topic relating to japan or Sakura, I’m a writer/sometes poet and understand about alternate artistic directions. This is so awesome of you, such a neat idea!! Thank you so so much =) ” … Read More

via typewriter poetry

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April is a beautiful time to celebrate poetry for life … and it’s National Poetry Month! So how can we enjoy it?

1) Read poetry this month. Read a poem-a-day! If you’re a poet, try writing a poem-a-day, too. It’s a worthy challenge!

2) Thursday, April 14th is Poem-in-your-Pocket day! Pocket your favorite poem and then share it throughout the day with the people you know. For more ideas about how to share poetry on April 14th, check out: Poem in Your Pocket Day.

3) On Monday, April 18th, I’ll be talking with Joy Curry on her “Joy in the Morning” radio show on 88.1 WETN at 8:30 AM about National Poetry Month, Holy Week, and my new collection of poems, Butterflies. To listen to the live stream, link to WETN Wheaton College Radio. (To get a preview-through-review, you can listen to the 2010 and 2009 clips of Jane & Joy on the radio.)

*And you can visit Jane Beal at Lulu Press to preview and purchase poetry, in printed or eBook format, including the latest collection, Butterflies. Enjoy, enjoy! Happy National Poetry Month to you & yours!

Share the love, share the poetry

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On Saturday, I visited the Loretto Convent in Wheaton to share a silent Lenten retreat with friends from Church of the Savior. This is the second time I have gone there, and I truly love it. I thought no place could have as powerful an impact on me, in times alone with God, as the Cenacle (a retreat house near here that has recently closed its doors) but the Loretto Convent is a very special spiritual place.

I was reading online this morning about the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which founded and helps to maintain the Loretto Convent. I read the testimonies of sisters. When they make their final profession as sisters, pledging poverty (interdependence), chastity (community as primary relationship) and obedience (full participation and accountability in the spiritual life shared together), they choose a motto. This motto is inscribed in a ring they wear all their lives.

As I read these mottos, I was struck by how beautiful and poetic they are, like lines of poetry. Most of them come from scripture; others are paraphrases of biblical ideas. How beautiful the first!

I am my Beloved’s and he is mine

This one comes from the Song of Songs. To read others, and the stories that go with them, visit: IBVM Sisters: Archives. May your heart be blessed by what these women have chosen to do with their lives in response to their calling.

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My favorite song on the radio these days is “Colgando en tus manos” by Carlos Baute (Venezuela) and Marta Sanchez (España). It is so-muy-romantico! These two singers have brought life back to the male-female duet. Wish two someones would do the same in English! To that hopeful end, I’m sharing my own idiomatic translation of the song.

I want the translation to be at least half as beautiful as the Spanish, so I can’t give a literal rendering. That’s like locking a song in chains and refusing to acknowledge that poetry must be free! But for those who must have word-by-word — and I understand you because that’s where I always start — there’s a link at the bottom of this page.

To hear the song on YouTube and read the lyrics in Spanish, click Colgando en tus manos. You could even open the YouTube video and listen to the Spanish song while you read the English translation below! When I was translating, that’s what I did.


Falling into your hands

Maybe meeting you was not by chance
just maybe destiny made it happen–
I want to fall asleep against your heart again
and awaken to your kisses.

Your sixth sense is dreaming with me —
I know that soon we will be one.
Your playful smile lives with me!
I know that soon I will be in your path.

You know that I am falling into your hands
so don’t let me fall away–
you know that I am in your hands

I send you poems in my own handwriting,
I send you the songs of Juan Luis Guerra —
I send you photographs of dinner in Marbella
and the time we were in Venezuela.

And so you remember me, and keep in mind
that my heart is falling into your hands,
take care, be careful!
My heart is in your hands.

I will not lose the hope of speaking with you —
I don’t care what destiny says or does!
I want to have your fragrance with me
and to drink from you what’s forbidden now.

You know that I am falling into your hands
so don’t let me fall away–
you know that I am in your hands

I send you poems in my own handwriting,
I send you the songs of Juan Luis Guerra —
I send you photographs of dinner in Marbella
and the time we were in Venezuela.

And so you remember me, and keep in mind
that my heart is in your hands —
take care, be careful! Very careful, careful.


Woman, I’m telling you, you have me in your hands —
take care, be very careful!
It doesn’t matter what destiny says or does — stay with me —
carefully, very carefully!
I want all of you —
your lips, your love, what’s forbidden now.

I send you poems in my own handwriting,
I send you the songs of Juan Luis Guerra,
I send you photos of dinner in Marbella
and the time we were in Venezuela.

And so you remember me, and keep in mind
that my heart is in your hands,
take care, be careful

When my heart is falling into your hands
When my heart is falling into your hands
When my heart is falling into your hands

I want to be like the light, rising, kissing all of you —
all of you, tenderly, the center of my eyes, the one I need for life.

Carlos Baute & Marta Sanchez
“Colgando en tus manos” (2009)

To read a literal, line-by-line translation, check out the post on this song on the blog “Learning by Singing Spanish.”

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Three great Irish poets are W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney, and Galway Kinnell. I’ve posted poems by all of these men in times past — I love their lyricism and their vivacity! (~ even when things are sad or death comes — that is one of the strengths of the Irish — to be alive, lyrically and musically, no matter what). Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, friends.

“Love Song” by W.B. Yeats

My love, we will go, we will go, I and you,
And away in the woods we will scatter the dew;
And the salmon behold, and the ousel too,
My love, we will hear, I and you, we will hear,
The calling afar of the doe and the deer.
And the bird in the branches will cry for us clear,
And the cuckoo unseen in his festival mood;
And death, oh my fair one, will never come near
In the bosom afar of the fragrant wood.

“Personal Helicon” by Seamus Heaney
for Michael Longley

As a child, they could not keep me from wells
And old pumps with buckets and windlasses.
I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells
Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.

One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top.
I savoured the rich crash when a bucket
Plummeted down at the end of a rope.
So deep you saw no reflection in it.

A shallow one under a dry stone ditch
Fructified like any aquarium.
When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch
A white face hovered over the bottom.

Others had echoes, gave back your own call
With a clean new music in it. And one
Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall
Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.

Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime,
To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring
Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.

“How Could You Not” by Galway Kinnell
for Jane Kenyon

It is a day after many days of storms.
Having been washed and washed, the air glitters;
small heaped cumuli blow across the sky; a shower
visible against the firs douses the crocuses.
We knew it would happen one day this week.
Now, when I learn you have died, I go
to the open door and look across at New Hampshire
and see that there, too, the sun is bright
and clouds are making their shadowy ways along the horizon;
and I think: How could it not have been today?
In another room, Keri Te Kanawa is singing
the Laudate Dominum of Mozart, very faintly,
as if in the past, to those who once sat
in the steel seat of the old mowing machine,
cheerful descendent of the scythe of the grim reaper,
and drew the cutter bars little
reciprocating triangles through the grass
to make the stalks lie down in sunshine.
Could you have walked in the dark early this morning
and found yourself grown completely tired
of the successes and failures of medicine,
of your year of pain and despair remitted briefly
now and then by hope that had that leaden taste?
Did you glimpse in first light the world as you loved it
and see that, now, it was not wrong to die
and that, on dying, you would leave
your beloved in a day like paradise?
Near sunrise did you loosen your hold a little?
How could you not already have felt blessed for good,
having these last days spoken your whole heart to him,
who spoke his whole heart to you, so that in the silence
he would not feel a single word was missing?
How could you not have slipped into a spell,
in full daylight, as he lay next to you,
with his arms around you, as they have been,
it must have seemed, all your life?
How could your cheek not press a moment to his cheek,
which presses itself to yours from now on?
How could you not rise and go, with all that light
at the window, those arms around you, and the sound,
coming or going, hard to say, of a single-engine
plane in the distance that no one else hears?

Postscript: To hear Galway Kinnell read a wonderful poem, click: Oatmeal.

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my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height

this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;
that if(so timid air is firm)
under his eyes would stir and squirm

newly as from unburied which
floats the first who, his april touch
drove sleeping selves to swarm their fates
woke dreamers to their ghostly roots

and should some why completely weep
my father’s fingers brought her sleep:
vainly no smallest voice might cry
for he could feel the mountains grow.

Lifting the valleys of the sea
my father moved through griefs of joy;
praising a forehead called the moon
singing desire into begin

joy was his song and joy so pure
a heart of star by him could steer
and pure so now and now so yes
the wrists of twilight would rejoice

keen as midsummer’s keen beyond
conceiving mind of sun will stand,
so strictly(over utmost him
so hugely)stood my father’s dream

his flesh was flesh his blood was blood:
no hungry man but wished him food;
no cripple wouldn’t creep one mile
uphill to only see him smile.

Scorning the pomp of must and shall
my father moved through dooms of feel;
his anger was as right as rain
his pity was as green as grain

septembering arms of year extend
less humbly wealth to foe and friend
than he to foolish and to wise
offered immeasurable is

proudly and(by octobering flame
beckoned)as earth will downward climb,
so naked for immortal work
his shoulders marched against the dark

his sorrow was as true as bread:
no liar looked him in the head;
if every friend became his foe
he’d laugh and build a world with snow.

My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)

then let men kill which cannot share,
let blood and flesh be mud and mire,
scheming imagine,passion willed,
freedom a drug that’s bought and sold

giving to steal and cruel kind,
a heart to fear,to doubt a mind,
to differ a disease of same,
conform the pinnacle of am

though dull were all we taste as bright,
bitter all utterly things sweet,
maggoty minus and dumb death
all we inherit,all bequeath

and nothing quite so least as truth
-i say though hate were why men breathe-
because my father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all


anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

Women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
with by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men (both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

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