Archive for the ‘Adventures’ Category




Susan Sharman
The Daily Fabric Exhibit
Benicia Library
Sept 2016

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Now available from Lulu Press,
JANE BEAL’s new poetry collection:



“Jane’s perspective, from being an international midwife and a talented writer, gives rise to the absolutely beautiful poems contained in this little book. She incorporates sweetly the people she has served in her birth practice and travels. She also teaches us some midwifery along the way! Jane’s great faith in our Lord adds so much to this labor-of-love volume. I highly recommend this book. It should be in the possession of all midwives and mothers.”

Jan Tritten
Editor of Midwifery Today
Author of Birth Wisdom, Vol. 1 & 2

“Birth is sacred experience: a time when the formless takes form.  In Jane Beal’s new book, Transfiguration: A Midwife’s Birth Poems, we are taken through beautiful poetic form, closer to the spirit of birth. We feel both joy and grief. But who are we to question the ways of the spirit? As much as we try to understand birth, its mystery remains a miracle – and that is what draws us into Transfiguration.”

Cathy Daub
President of BirthWorks International
Author of Birthing in the Spirit

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I am the one who, walking in greenery,
seeks delightful flowers.

Jacopo da Bologna
(from the I Dilettosi Fiori music program of Corina Marti)

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It took time to make these several lines

and leave them free of all that might have been.

What sacrifice this requires, what delight,

ascetic yet privileged, to leave it upright

like a Chinese box or a house of cards.

This could have been many things: the barren

field of elegy, a mass sung at Lourdes,

or some harmonious bed made of chords.

Instead, it celebrates its reticence.

Brett Foster
Fall Run Road, Garbage Eater, Rome


In Image: Artist – Brett Foster

At The Poetry Foundation: Brett Foster

In memoriam: Obituary for Brett Foster

Poems in The Christian Century 

Intercession: For my Daughter” by Brett Foster

Poetry Reading at Colorado Christian University – 2012

Brett Foster, Jane Beal,

& Dr. Jerry Root, C.S. Lewis Scholar

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On Thursday, I went to hear Benjamin Kreith give a solo violin performance at the Mondavi Center, where he played as part of the Shinkoskey Noon Concert series. The beginning of the program featured sestinas by Ezra Pound and Dante Alighieri, both of which Pound later set to music that he composed for the violin: “Sestina – Altaforte” and “Al poco giorno.”

Dantes_Inferno_Canto_28-1The first, “Altaforte,” is a dramatic monologue in the voice of Bertrand de Born, a twelfth-century French lord, a troubadour, and a man whom Dante placed in his Inferno, in the eighth circle of hell, in the ninth bolgia, with the sowers of discord. Ezra Pound respected Bertrand de Born as a poet, translating some of his French songs, but his dramatic monologue imagines him along the lines that Dante did:  as one who sowed discord and reaped war. Pound wrote the poem in 1909 and first performed it about that time. Later, Pound composed violin music to accompany the sestina.

This past Thursday, Kreith provided a recording of Pound’s reading at Harvard in 1939. Then he played Pound’s music, and it is, on the violin, as uncomfortable as the voice of the poem. Another version, with piano and vocals, can be heard partially here.

The sestina is spoken in Bertrand de Born’s voice to his jongleur (singer), Papiols, and reveals Born’s bloody-mindedness. A commentary on the poem is available from The Modernism Lab.


LOQUITUR: En Bertrans de Born.
Dante Alighieri put this man in hell for that he was a stirrer up of strife.
Judge ye!
Have I dug him up again?
The scene is at his castle, Altaforte. “Papiols” is his jongleur. “The Leopard,” the device of Richard Coeur de Lion.


Damn it all! all this our South stinks peace.
You whoreson dog, Papiols, come! Let’s to music!
I have no life save when the swords clash.
But ah! when I see the standards gold, vair, purple, opposing
And the broad fields beneath them turn crimson,
Then howls my heart nigh mad with rejoicing.


In hot summer have I great rejoicing
When the tempests kill the earth’s foul peace,
And the lightnings from black heav’n flash crimson,
And the fierce thunders roar me their music
And the winds shriek through the clouds mad, opposing,
And through all the riven skies God’s swords clash.


Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash!
And the shrill neighs of destriers in battle rejoicing,
Spiked breast to spiked breast opposing!
Better one hour’s stour than a year’s peace
With fat boards, bawds, wine and frail music!
Bah! there’s no wine like the blood’s crimson!


And I love to see the sun rise blood-crimson.
And I watch his spears through the dark clash
And it fills all my heart with rejoicing
And pries wide my mouth with fast music
When I see him so scorn and defy peace,
His lone might ‘gainst all darkness opposing.


The man who fears war and squats opposing
My words for stour, hath no blood of crimson
But is fit only to rot in womanish peace
Far from where worth’s won and the swords clash
For the death of such sluts I go rejoicing;
Yea, I fill all the air with my music.


Papiols, Papiols, to the music!
There’s no sound like to swords swords opposing,
No cry like the battle’s rejoicing
When our elbows and swords drip the crimson
And our charges ‘gainst “The Leopard’s” rush clash.
May God damn for ever all who cry “Peace!”


And let the music of the swords make them crimson!
Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash!
Hell blot black for always the thought “Peace!”

Ezra Pound

“Al poco giorno” is in radical contrast to “Altaforte.” It is based on an Italian love sonnet by Dante, and the music is both subtler and sweeter. The song has been recorded on the album Ego Scriptor Cantilenae: The Music of Ezra Pound (2003), featuring conductor Robert Hughes:  the first thirty seconds as well as the entire song may be heard online. On the relation between the poem and the music, see this commentary.

AL POCO GIORNO by Dante Alighieri

I have come, alas, to the great circle of shadow,
to the short day and the whitening hills,
when the colour is all lost from the grass,
though my desire will not lose its green,
so rooted is it in this hardest stone,
that speaks and feels as though it were a woman.

And likewise this heaven-born woman
stays frozen, like the snow in shadow,
and is unmoved, or moved like a stone,
by the sweet season that warms all the hills,
and makes them alter from pure white to green,
so as to clothe them with the flowers and grass.

When her head wears a crown of grass
she draws the mind from any other woman,
because she blends her gold hair with the green
so well that Amor lingers in their shadow,
he who fastens me in these low hills,
more certainly than lime fastens stone.

Her beauty has more virtue than rare stone.
The wound she gives cannot be healed with grass,
since I have travelled, through the plains and hills,
to find my release from such a woman,
yet from her light had never a shadow
thrown on me, by hill, wall, or leaves’ green.

I have seen her walk all dressed in green,
so formed she would have sparked love in a stone,
that love I bear for her very shadow,
so that I wished her, in those fields of grass,
as much in love as ever yet was woman,
closed around by all the highest hills.

The rivers will flow upwards to the hills
before this wood, that is so soft and green,
takes fire, as might ever lovely woman,
for me, who would choose to sleep on stone,
all my life, and go eating grass,
only to gaze at where her clothes cast shadow.

Whenever the hills cast blackest shadow,
with her sweet green, the lovely woman
hides it, as a man hides stone in grass.

Dante Alighieri (translated by A.S. Kline, 2008)




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I heard “Angels in the Architecture,” composed by Frank Ticheli, performed live by the Colorado Christian University Wind Ensemble on Friday night. It was properly introduced and explained by the guest conductor, Ray E. Cramer, who said it records a conversation between Light and Dark. When we listen, we can hear light’s victory; when we keep listening, we hear the dark creeping in. But in the end, the darkness fades. All that is left is the angel, singing.

Angels in the Architecture

“Once an angel has made an annunciation / it’s impossible to tell him he has the wrong address.” ~Dean Young, from “Handy Guide” (in Poetry, Nov. 2011)



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I recently made a journey of a thousand miles from Chicago to Denver. Here I am in the West! Colorado is big-sky-beautiful country. I love the light. The light here is extraordinary.

In honor of this momentous change, I wanted to post a poem by Mary Crow, a former poet laureate of the state of Colorado, a poet who pays attention to light — and many other things. In addition to being a poet, Mary Crow is a teacher and translator. Her poem below translates the light.

“The Morning of Morning”

Why let it matter so much?: the morning’s morningness,
early dark modulating into light
and the tall thin spruces jabbing their black outlines at dawn,
light touching the slope’s outcroppings of rock and yellow grass,
as I sit curled under blankets in the world
after the world Descartes shattered,
a monstrous fracture
like the creek’s water surging through broken ice.

A silent wind bounces spruce branches
in that motion that sets molecules vibrating latitude by latitude
to crack the absolute
of feeling, of knowing what I know, of knowing who I am,
while down the road the town wakes to hammer and saw—
a sound that says to some, if you don’t grow you’re dead—
and then farther down the elk and deer gather
at a farmer’s fence for his handout of hay.

Late January: just outside Rocky Mountain National Park:
a high branch of ponderosa offers a rosette
of needles blackgreen and splayed as in a Japanese scroll painting,
which is beautiful if I focus there and not on the sprawl I’m part of
in this rented condo where I don’t want to live since I, too, need
more rooms to haul my coffee to, more bookshelves for books
I haven’t time to read—bird chatter!—I shouldn’t make one more resolution
I can’t keep to spend more time with friends.

But it’s morning and morning’s my time of day
as spring’s my season; more light, I say.
I do regret some things I’ve done and if I could,
I’d do things differently: start sooner, say, look deeper.
One flake of snow drifts down slantwise,
a lovely interruption to my tirade—
as each aspen is to the larger groves of taller firs—
and brings me back to what’s happening here.

Mary Crow
first published in Ploughshares

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Lao-Tzu (604-531 BC)


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When I was recently in Colorado, I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting Dave Matthews, the singer, song-writer and musician who fronts the Dave Matthews Band. One of the things I couldn’t help thinking of him, as I do of all courageous artists, is that he hasn’t wasted his gift. Because he has sacrificed and pursued music, his lyrics and his songs play inside of our souls — songs like the wondrous rhapsody “Satellite,” the intimate love song “Crash into Me,” and “Ants Marching,” an energetic and musically powerful critique of relational awkwardness in a capitolistic culture … and the dreams of childhood that we remember despite the regiment of our days.

The lyrics to this song, “Ants Marching,” do something important, something poetry does: invite us to understand ourselves and, maybe, change.

He wakes up in the morning
Does his teeth bite to eat and he’s rolling
Never changes a thing
The week ends, the week begins

She thinks — we look at each other
Wondering what the other is thinking
But we never say a thing
These crimes between us grow deeper

Take these chances
Place them in a box until a quiter time
Lights down, you up and die

Goes to visit his mommy
She feeds him well — his concerns
He forgets them
And remembers being small
Playing under the table and dreaming

Take these chances
Place them in a box until a quieter time
Lights down, you up and die

Driving in on this highway
All these cars and upon the sidewalk
People in every direction
No words exchanged
No time to exchange

When all the little ants are marching
Red and black antennas waving
They all do it the same
They all do it the same way

Candyman teasing the thoughts of a
Sweet tooth, tortured by the weight loss
Programs cutting the corners
Loose end, loose end, cut, cut
On the fence, could not to offend
Cut, cut, cut, cut

Take these chances
Place them in a box until a quieter time
Lights down, you up and die

Dave Matthews
Under the Table and Dreaming (1994)

In just a few months, I will move to the great Rocky Mountain state of Colorado to begin teaching creative writing at Colorado Christian University. For me, this is very much about “taking chances,” but there’s a possibility that I could — like anyone could — get swept up in a (work) pattern that never changes. When I hear “Ants Marching,” with its carpe diem emphasis, it reminds me not to let that happen. I want remain fully alive and present to the beauty of the created world.

All of us can.

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Today I went to the Museum of Outdoor Arts in Englewood, Colorado (near Denver) to see the Nick Bantock “Griffin & Sabine & Beyond” Retrospective exhibit.

One of the things I love about the found-art object / collage art of Nick Bantock is the way he interweaves literature and poetry into his work. He is a poet’s artist!

As I wandered through his work, looking here and reading there, I noticed that he used this stanza from nursery rhyme as part of one elaborate wall of found-artwork:

Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye —
four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing!
Oh, wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king?

Of course, I loved the reference to birds, and the idea that they lived and sang when they otherwise might have died in an oven. So I went home to find the rest of the rhyme, and it goes like this:

The king was in his counting house counting out his money,
the queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey,
the maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes —
when down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!

This second verse isn’t nearly as magical or wondrous as the first. It made me wonder what the poem could really be about! So I read around online and discovered an explanation that sees this as a commentary on King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn.

Whether it is or isn’t, Nick Bantock makes striking use of the rhyme in his art.

But he doesn’t stop with children’s verses. He also illustrates Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, evokes Dante’s journey though purgatory, and imagines a dream of the Artful Dodger from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. He does astonishing things with color and juxtaposition. I love his work.

In some ways, it takes me into my own soul. In others, it takes me into the wonder and the wildness of nature. Then, finally or once again or from the beginning, it draws me into the ever-expanding universe of darkness and light.

The Elephant Luggage

Oregon Pairs

The Forgetting Room

Blue Flowers

Orange Triptych

At the exhibit, there’s a short film that ends by quoting one of Sabine’s letters to Griffin. (Griffin and Sabine are Nick Bantock’s two most famous characters, two people who may or may not be real, and who carry on a correspondence that reveals their deep love for each other even though it seems impossible that they will ever meet.) I think it is a fitting note from the artist to his admirers … and, as I end this post, from me to you:

“Bring yourself home to me, and I will immerse you

in every bit of tenderness I possess.”


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I gave two poetry readings in May, one in Kalamazoo, Michigan and one here in Wheaton, Illinois. Both were held out of doors, because the weather is beautiful and allows for it. To me, it was wonderful to be able to play flute with the wind blowing through my hair and perform my poetry with red-winged blackbirds singing their nesting songs as my jazz musicians — and later to be compared to a dryad!

In Michigan, I read for medievalists at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, and so I tried to choose poems that medievalists would like. In Illinois, I read for 4th and 5th girls graduating from this year’s Church of the Rez Sunday school class — and their parents — at an afternoon party featuring a May-pole for the girls to dance around with ribbons in their hands. I tried to find poems they would like, too. Naturally some of these came from MAGICAL POEMS FOR GIRLS, for both audiences, because that sonnet collection is full of fairy-tales, medieval fantasies, and stories about the lives of victorious queens.

I’ve been reading poetry by others as well, silently and joyfully and curiously to myself, especially from a recent issue of American Poet (the journal of the Academy of American Poets) and a collection of thoughts about poetry by Edward Hirsch called Poet’s Choice, which was the title of the column he wrote for the Washington Post Book World in 2002. I love what Hirsch writes about about the 19th century English poet John Clare, about “a language that is ever green” (as Clare wrote) and about love poems voiced as invitations:

We’ll down the green meadow and up the lone glen

And down the woodside far away from all men

And there we’ll talk over our love-tales again

Where last year the nightingale sung.

It’s a beautiful meditation, Clare’s is, and Hirsch’s on it is, too. Hirsch observes, drawing on a biography about Clare by Jonathan Bate, that more than fifty of Clare’s poems begin with the words “I love,” and the most common noun in his mature poetry is “joy.” What do these two facts tell us?

Something essential, something vital, something about the heart and life and the beauty of the natural world.

Clare loved to walk in through woods and fields, but he also spent time in an asylum due to mental illness, suffering through what Hirsch calls “the tormented years.” Yet the eyes of his heart were looking upward, so his meditations were still on love and on joy. Perhaps when we read Clare’s poetry, we can say in the words of e.e. cummings:

“now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened”

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After kicking off National Poetry Month with a radio interview on the 88.1 WETN show “Joy in the Morning,” I’ve continued to celebrate poetry all month long.

I joined the Brotherhood of the Briar for a second time in April and recited a little bit of Emily Dickinson, the poem that begins, “Success is counted sweetest …” Later, I celebrated poetry with student poets at Wheaton College at the release parties for two publications, The Pub and Kodon. I was particularly delighted with the recent work of one of my former students, Peter Strand, who shared his poems “World Records” and “Avocado.” Peter’s talent first impressed me when I read “Los Que Saben Las Garífunas,” which I originally posted last summer – a sensual, beautiful poem! I also enjoyed listening to the music of Gabriel DiRicharde, whose lyrics are genuinely poetic, as can easily be discovered at his blog: “i am the outlaw.”

Yesterday, the last day of National Poetry Month, I gave a poetry reading and flute performance at the BGC Museum for, as Milton would say, “a fit audience though few.” I was delighted to be able to share poems from my forthcoming collection The Bird-Watcher’s Diary Entries as well as my in-progress collection Birth-Song. Some other poems I truly enjoyed sharing were … “Man Friday’s Girl” from Made in the Image, “Angels on Jacob’s Ladder,””Sea Turtle Song,” “Garden Hoses,” and “Bridge” from the newly expanded version of Love-Song, “The Horn of Amalthea, the Last Unicorn” from Magical Poems for Girls, and “Meditating at Nelson Cove: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA – 30 August 2009,” an experimental haiku sequence, which I published in Tidepools.

As I prepared the poems for the reading, I saw a theme emerging that related very closely to the fact that I am severely directionally challenged. For example, I set off to go to Sky Yoga Studio last Sunday. It is literally fifteen minutes from my house, but I’d never been there before. I made four wrong turns and arrived a half an hour later than I intended. Sigh. But that’s me. It seems, though, that this literal difficulty sometimes extends to the metaphoric journey of my life. Where am I going? Where have I been? Will I ever arrive at my desired destination? Where is the harbor of my life? I love to sail out to sea, but I also want to find my rest at home.

So several of the poems I chose related to this theme, and so did one of the songs I played with on flute, Rascal Flatts, “Broken Road.” It’s a beautiful song worth listening to if you haven’t heard it. Like so many love songs, it could easily be sung to a lover or to the Lover of our souls, which is comforting to me.

Although I originally intended to end my reading with “Song to the Mapmaker,” I forgot to read it! Fortunately, in the blogosphere, it’s possible to make certain changes in the record of events, so here is the poem from my collection, Sanctuary:


Even when I do not know where I am going, God knows. He knows the map of my heart because he drew it. He understands the map when I do not. He knows how to help me follow it even when I get lost. And most beautifully, he is walking with me on all the roads upon which he has set my foot.

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Today, folks in Wheaton attempted to break the world’s record for number of kites in the  air at once. Of course I had to be a part of that! So with my cousin TJ, friends Gemma and  Lana, and my beloved miniature dachshund Joyful, I headed over to Graf Park for the  festivities. Gemma gave me a bright colored kite with two butterflies, a grasshopper, and a bumblebee on it, and soon my friends and I had our kites in the air.

While we were out flying our kites in the park, there was great music playing,  including the classic kite-flying song, which you can listen to by clicking below:

“Let’s Go Fly at Kite” from Mary Poppins

My kite line got “cut” (just like in the movie “The Kite Runner”!), but I didn’t mind. I picked up the kite frame and the long line still attached to it got tangled around my body when the wind took the kite suddenly back up into the air! I felt like I was dancing with my kite! Kite-dancing! It was so fun! The sun was so bright, the blue sky so clear, and the wind so magnificent.

I was remembering sitting on the rooftop of a friend’s apartment building in the Abu Tur neighborhood of west Jerusalem, looking out of the valley toward the Church of the Dormition on Mt. Zion, as I watched Arabic boys fly their black diamond kite over the valley at sunset.

Later, Gemma repaired my kite by tying the kite line still attached to the frame to the kite line attached to my reel, so that was good. She and TJ also rescued Lana’s kite from a tree–with the help of a professional park district sort of person.

And then we watched the kite ballets!

People actually fly kites professionally, making their kites dance in air in rhythm to music, and the first we saw was a true ballet. The next, flown by Zach Gordon, was really kite break-dancing in air! I thought it was awesome. Then the Chicago Fire Kite Team flew their four “killer bee” kites in the air for three different choreographed sets, and their coordination was admirable, too. The whole thing was so cool!

So naturally I have to honor this kite-dancing day with a poem. Here it is!

“The Kite”

How bright on the blue
Is a kite when it’s new!

With a dive and a dip
It snaps its tail
Then soars like a ship
With only a sail

As over tides
Of wind it rides,

Climbs to the crest
Of a gust and pulls,
Then seems to rest
As wind falls.

When string goes slack
You wind it back

And run until
A new breeze blows
And its wings fill
And up it goes!

How bright on the blue
Is a kite when it’s new!

But a raggeder thing
You never will see
When it flaps on a string
In the top of a tree.

Henry Behn

When we came home, Gemma told me how she used to make kites in the Philippines. She would make the kite body out of newspaper and attach it to the spine of a palm tree branch with rice paste. Then she and her brother would take it up on the roof and fly it!

If you want to make your own kite, check out: Make Your Own Kite! … and enjoy.

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Last night, I joined the Brotherhood of the Briar at the home of my friend, Dr. Jerry Root. The brotherhood meets outside on dark Thursday nights around a splendid fire to drink scotch, smoke pipes, and talk poetry — very much in the spirit of Inklings like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I snuck in to celebrate National Poetry Month with them … with taquitos, a story, and some poetry about eagles.

One of the brothers, Justice, read two poems very beautifully: Whitman’s “O Captain, my Captain” and Poe’s “The Raven.” Since we’d had a poem about a bird already, it followed naturally for me to share my story about a world-breaking flight. Jennifer Murray, 66, and Colin Bodhill, 55, recently became the first woman and man to circumnavigate the globe from north to south in a helicopter, but only by facing incredible challenges first.

When they were flying over the Antarctic, they hit a storm or rather, a storm hit them. They were flying blind. The landscape was completely whited-out around them. And they crashed.

Both blacked out on impact from the crushing 4G force of their plummet. When Colin came to, his body was in agony. He had broken his back. He thought, “I’m going to die.” He looked over at his co-pilot, Jennifer, and saw she was in shock, repeating over and over again, “We’ve crashed. We’ve crashed.” The crash exposed them to below-freezing temperatures, and Colin knew Jennifer was in danger of hypothermia. And suddenly, he thought, “I’m still alive,” and, as he has since said, “It became all about saving Jennifer.”

With a broken back, in minus 40F weather and 35 MPH winds, Colin got up, dragged Jennifer out of the helicopter into a sleeping bag, erected an emergency tent, pulled a generator from the crash, and lit a stove. Because of this, both Colin and Jennifer survived to be found 4.5 hours later by a search-and-rescue team. Colin has said that if he had been alone, he would have given up and died because he knew his back was broken and he could feel the internal bleeding. But because of the threat to his co-pilot’s life, he got up, and he did the impossible.

After this, both Jennifer and Colin had to recover from their injuries. They did. Then, they got back in their helicopter and flew around the world together, just has they planned, this time without crashing. They set the world-record and became the first man and woman to circumnavigate the globe in a helicopter. (An interesting note: Jennifer had already gone around the world in a helicopter by herself and set the world-record for doing so as a woman in solo flight!).

In honor of these two daring heroes (whom Jerry Root affectionately called “crazy!”), I read a paragraph about eagles found in the 14th century Petersborough chronicle, “The Eagle” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, and “The Dalliance of Eagles” by Walt Whitman.

Many other things were said and done (and I shall certainly remember Greg Root and Mark Neal putting splinted wood on the fire as the flames leaped around their forearms!!), and I enjoyed the whole poetic evening very much.

I hope you, too, are enjoying National Poetry Month.

Jane Beal, PhD

p.s. To read Shelby Skrhak’s original write-up of Jennifer and Colin’s record-breaking adventure and see pictures, visit the essay that appeared recently in Success magazine.

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What do lovers, poets, Christians, and fools all have in common? The 1st of April, of course! Yesterday started off National Poetry Month delightfully for everyone (as far as I can tell).

To celebrate, I joined my friend Joy Curry on her morning radio show, “Joy in the Morning,” at 88.1 WETN, to talk about poetry … and Easter … and love and bird-watching (no kidding!). I really enjoyed our conversation. To listen, just click:


Afterwards, I learned that my mother (who is probably my biggest fan – love you, Mommy!) was able to listen to the interview live on the internet in California while Facebook-chatting with a friend in Jordan (yes, the Middle East, right across the river from Israel) whom she persuaded to listen to “Joy in the Morning” online, too!

You never know how far your voice can reach.

In April, I’ll be writing a poem-a-day (as I did last year), and I invite all other poets out there reading posts at “The Poetry Place” to do the same. If you aren’t writing, I hope you’re reading poetry. Poetry can bring you joy!

And I am wishing you all joy during National Poetry Month.

Jane Beal

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I’m sitting with my brother, professional saxophonist Andrew Beal, in the County Clare Irish Inn & Pub in Milwaukee. We’ve got Irish saints watchin’ over us from stained glass windows: Ita, Malachy, Patrick (who was English originally, but nevermind, he’s Irish now as we Irish all well know), Colman, Kevin, and darling Brigid. Love that. While listening to the happy Irish fiddles through the speakers, you can read sayings written on the walls like these:

“There are no strangers here – only friends you haven’t met yet.”

“May the roof above us never fall in, and the friends below it never fall out!”

“It is impossible to be unhappy if you have a grateful heart.”

Then there are these two, which I like quite a bit: “Profanity makes ignorance audible” and “The pub’s the poor man’s university.” Well, amen. Even I might be able to learn a little Irish if someone will translate the Gaelic phrases on the wall … like this one: “céad míle fáilte!” It means “a hundred thousand welcomes!” It’s apparently a common greeting in the home country of my mother’s ancestors.

W.B. Yeats’ poem, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” is inscribed upon the walls, too. I know it, love it, and share it with all of you who can’t be with me now on this splendid adventure:

I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, 5
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; 10
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

W.B. Yeats

The blessings of the Irish on everyone today!

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I recently had the opportunity to attend the Modern Language Association Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where I heard the award-winning poet Dana Gioia give a poetry reading. He read poems from his well-known collections Daily Horoscope and Interrogations at Noon as well as new poems. These are some of the lines he read:

“I found my via dolorosa in your love.” – “Prophecy”

“The humble shall find resurrection
and the dead shall lie down with the dead.” – “The Archbishop”

“You know what I bring:
now, I am here,” – “Vampire’s Love Song”

“I look for you among the brightly colored crowds …
where are you, my fugitive?” – “Shopping”

“We had the luck of having been in love but never lovers.
What more could I have wanted from that day?” – “The Apple Orchard”

“The only purpose of desire
is to explore its infinite unfolding”

“What does destiny require us to renounce?”

After his performance, Dana Gioia spoke with the audience about his own poetry and the purpose of poetry in general. He said, “The study of literature is not a luxury. We help the young achieve the fullness of their humanity by it.” He also said that the American marketplace should determine prices, not values, and he asked the question, “What things are beyond price?” This, I believe, is an important question to meditate upon because the answer shapes our lives.

Jane Beal

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Last night, I went to see the film “Bright Star” directed by Jane Campion. It is the love story of the 19th century, Romantic poet John Keats and the muse who inspired him, Fanny Brawne. The film gave me a whole new vision of Keats, a different perception of his poetry, one which is based more on empathy than on judgment.

Campion has done a beautiful job of creating a script with language taken from the poems and letters of the poet. The imagery of the film alludes to Keats’ poetic imagery constantly. How beautiful Campion’s snapshots of the bee in a red flower or the latch of the door turning between the wings of a blue butterfly! Keats wrote the words that directed Campion’s attention to these ordinary, extraordinary moments:

“It has been an old comparison for our urging on — the beehive! However, it seems to me that we should rather be the flower than the bee. For it is a false notion that more is gained by receiving than giving — no, the receiver and the giver are equal in their benefits. The flower I doubt not receives a fair reward from the bee … its leaves blush deeper in the next spring … and who shall say between Man and Woman which is the most delighted?” (Letter to J.H. Reynolds, 19 February 1818)

“For myself i know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair. I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days — three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” (Letter to Fanny Brawne, 1 July 1819)

The whole film is radiant with desire.

The memory and the fear of death intensifies love’s longing in the story. Fanny’s father’s death and Keats’ brother’s death, remembered at the beginning of the film, foreshadow the end when Keats dies of complications of tuberculosis in Rome. After Fanny learns of the poet’s death, we see her cut a black thread that she has stitched into a white cloth. The image, so powerful in its simplicity, recalls the Greek myth of Atropos cutting the thread of a man’s life.

Throughout the film, as Fanny and Keats converse, they quote some of Keats’ most famous poems, beginning with his claim that “a thing of beauty is a joy forever — its loveliness increases! It will never pass into nothingness, but still will keep a bower quiet for us, and a sleep full of sweet dreams and health and quiet breathing” (from “Endymion”). As the film goes on, they speak verses that Keats wrote after he met Fanny, and it becomes clear, so clear, that she was a great source of inspiration for him. His poetry was not coming from some abstract place, but from the center of his being responding to the center of hers.

I’ve read Keats poems many times — he and Coleridge are my favorite Romantic poets — but somehow I never grounded my understanding of the poet’s work in his relationship to the love of his life. Only a college education could have blinded me to something so obvious. The film cuts through academic preoccupations to the heart of the matter. Never a word do we hear in it of “negative capability” because that philosophical idea was not the main focus of Keats’ emotional life or poetic inspiration. But after watching the film, no one will never forget that he wrote things like:

“Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
to feel forever its soft swell and fall,
awake forever in a sweet unrest,
still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
and so live forever …” (from “Bright Star”)


“All my thoughts, my unhappiest days and nights have I find not at all cured me of my love of Beauty, but made it so intense that I am miserable that you are not with me … or rather breathe in that dull sort of patience that cannot be called Life. I never knew before what such a love as you have made me feel was. I did not believe in it, my fancy was afraid of it, lest it should burn me up. But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, it will not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures.” (Letter to Fanny Brawne, 8 July 1819)

Fanny was a real, beloved person to Keats, and Campion makes her and her poet real to us. Campion does this in a new, fully-alive, sensuously rich way. Her film is like a living poem speaking from the past into the heart of the golden present.

I went home after watching the film and read dozens of letters and poems by Keats: sonnets like “On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again,” “When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be,” and “Bright Star” as well as odes like “To Psyche,” “To a Nightingale,” “On Melancholy,” and “To Autumn.” How different to meditate on the romances “Eve of St. Agnes” and “Lamia” with Keats’ relationship to Fanny Brawne acutely in mind! For these songs came from Keats’ secret life, the one he revealed in letters to Fanny, letters that he covered from the sight of his friends even as he wrote them in their houses.

Of course I admit that the film is a love story that simplifies some of the uglier jealousies and misogynies Keats sings out in his letters to male friends and even to Fanny herself sometimes. But it still gives us something important to remember. Love gave Keats life.

p.s. In the film, Keats says, “Craft is a carcass … If poetry doesn’t come as naturally as leaves to a tree than it had better not come at all.” This made me laugh! Yes, Keats made his metaphoric comparison between poetry and tree-leaves in a letter to Benjamin Bailey, but did he therefore mean that poetry comes easily? I’ve watched the leaves split open twigs to emerge after winter, and I think the growing process is neither painless nor easy, though the revivification of the tree is, of course, a wonder to behold.

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When I was in Santiago de Compostela, Spain (only three or four days ago), I learned about Rosalia de Castro, a poet and novelist who wrote in both Galician and in Castillian. A contemporary of Emily Dickinson, she lived from 1837-1885. In that time, she wrote collections of poems, including La Flor, A mi Madre, Cantares gallegos, Follas novas, and En las Orillas del Sar, and novels like The Knight in Blue Boots.  Today she is both beloved and famous in north-western Spain. 

Here is one of her poems in Galician with an accompanying English translation. The first line of the poem is also its title:

Lévame a aquela fonte cristaíña
onde xuntos bebemos
as purísimas augas que apagaban
sede de amor e llama de deseios.
Lévame pola man cal noutros días…
Mais non, que teño medo
de ver no cristal líquido
a sombra daquel negro
desengano sin cura nin consolo
que antre os dous puxo o tempo.

Take me to that crystalline water spring
where we drank together
the purest waters that would quench
the thirst of love and the flame of desires.
Take me by the hand, as in days past…
But no, because I am afraid
to see reflected in the liquid crystal
the shadow of that dark disillusionment
with neither cure nor consolation,
that time put between the two of us.

Rosalia de Castro

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We stood on the rented patio
While the party went on inside.
You knew the groom from college.
I was a friend of the bride.

We hugged the brownstone wall behind us
To keep our dress clothes dry
And watched the sudden summer storm
Floodlit against the sky.

The rain was like a waterfall
Of brilliant beaded light,
Cool and silent as the stars
The storm hid from the night.

To my surprise, you took my arm —
A gesture you didn’t explain —
And we spoke in whispers, as if we two
Might imitate the rain.

Then suddenly the storm receded
As swiftly as it came.
The doors behind us opened up.
The hostess called your name.

I watched you merge into the group,
Aloof and yet polite.
We didn’t speak another word
Except to say goodnight.

Why does that evening’s memory
Return with this night’s storm —
A party twenty years ago,
Its disappointments warm?

There are so many might have beens,
What ifs that won’t stay buried,
Other cities, other jobs,
Strangers we might have married.

And memory insists on pining
For places it never went,
As if life would be happier
Just by being different.

Dana Gioia
Interrogations at Noon (2001)

Commentary: My friend Melody told me that this was the poem that made her fall in love with poetry. Melody knows why. As for me, when she told me that it was a Dana Gioia poem that made her fall, I was delighted because I remembered meeting him once in California.

He came to give a poetry reading at UC Davis. He recites all of his poems from memory. His performance is beautiful to behold. He recited one of Shakespeare’s love sonnets, too, to my friend Jen Hoofard, which delighted her. But the poem I remember best from that reading was the one about his little boy who died and is buried under a redwood tree.

Later I went out to coffee with him and a few others at a little place called Mishka’s. I think it was Mishka’s. We talked about Washington, DC and Dante’s Florence in Italy, among other things.

When he said goodbye, he kissed me on the cheek, a good Italian arrivederci. Utterly charming. I seriously doubt he would remember this, given that he became the director of the NEA afterwards, and was consequently quite busy. But I remember it.

That’s what counts.

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Today is the first day of spring for me. It has sprung at last! It’s 60° outside for the first time in months, the snow is melting, and the spell is breaking over my own little Narnia. My heart rejoices!

To celebrate, my friend Wendy and I took my dog Joyful and went for a walk outside. The snow-covered hills that the children were sledding on yesterday are no longer white, but green! There are puddles everywhere. Wendy was puddle jumping — the water splashed up, and the droplets shone out! Joyful trotted along, her tail wagging, her little miniature dachshund body thrilled with delight at the warmth and light.

Our simple adventure reminded me of a gospel song we both knew from church, pretty much an old-school song, but it captured the moment:

He has made me glad!
He has made me glad!
He has made me glad!
I will rejoice for He has made me glad!

I will enter His gates with Thanksgiving in my heart!
I will enter his courts with praise!
I will say this is the day that the Lord has made!
I will rejoice for he has made me glad!

Do you know how that one goes? 😉

When we came home, we opened all the windows, and the fresh air blew through the house. I turned on Josh Groban’s CD “Awake,” and music and Italian lyrics filled the house. I gave serious thought to the possibility of French pedicure and sandals for the rest of the day!

There are poems for this kind of happiness, like this one:

To John Keats, Poet, at Spring Time

I cannot hold my peace, John Keats;
There never was a spring like this;
It is an echo, that repeats
My last year’s song and next year’s bliss.
I know, in spite of all men say
Of Beauty, you have felt her most.
Yea, even in your grave her way
Is laid. Poor, troubled, lyric ghost,
Spring never was so fair and dear
As Beauty makes her seem this year.

I cannot hold my peace, John Keats,
I am as helpless in the toil
Of Spring as any lamb that bleats
To feel the solid earth recoil
Beneath his puny legs. Spring beats
her tocsin call to those who love her,
And lo! the dogwood petals cover
Her breast with drifts of snow, and sleek
White gulls fly screaming to her, and hover
About her shoulders, and kiss her cheek,
While white and purple lilacs muster
A strength that bears them to a cluster
Of color and odor; for her sake
All things that slept are now awake.

And you and I, shall we lie still,
John Keats, while Beauty summons us?
Somehow I feel your sensitive will
Is pulsing up some tremulous
Sap road of a maple tree, whose leaves
Grow music as they grow, since your
Wild voice is in them, a harp that grieves
For life that opens death’s dark door.

Though dust, your fingers still can push
The Vision Splendid to a birth,
Though now they work as grass in the hush
Of the night on the broad sweet page of the earth.

“John Keats is dead,” they say, but I
Who hear your full insistent cry
In bud and blossom, leaf and tree,
Know John Keats still writes poetry.
And while my head is earthward bowed
To read new life sprung from your shroud,
Folks seeing me must think it strange
That merely spring should so derange
My mind. They do not know that you,
John Keats, keep revel with me, too.

Countee Cullen

Isn’t that a beautiful one? I love it because it pays honor to a poet, to beauty, to spring … to life! L’chaim!!!

There are songs for this kind of happiness too, like Vivaldi’s “Spring.

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Last night, the Wheaton Writers’ Guild met at my house for a splendid little Indian Christmas celebration.

Among other things, we ate an Indian meal of chicken curry over basmati rice with garlic nan, which could be dipped in mint sauce or mango chutney, as well as samosas, chicken tikka masala, and rice pudding for dessert. We drank mango lassi. We played Uno.

Afterwards, we drank tea and read Indian poetry, some ancient and some modern. I picked up Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s book, Black Candle, which told the stories of many Indian women and their suffering. Just before a poem called “The Quilt,” I read this Bengali folk song:

The parrot flies to the custard-apple tree.
The bees are among the pomegranates.
I call you and call you, little bride.
Why do you not speak?

The singer could be a man speaking to a woman … or a woman speaking to her own soul.

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Stone cries to stone,
Heart to heart, heart to stone,
And the interrogation will not die
For there is no eternal city
And there is no pity
And there is nothing underneath the sky
No rainbow and no guarantee –
There is no covenant between your God and me.
It is superb in the air.
Suffering is everywhere
And each man wears his suffering like a skin.
My history is proud.
Mine is not allowed.
This is the cistern where all wars begin,
The laughter from the armoured car.
This is the man who won’t believe you’re what you are.
This is your fault.
This is a crusader vault.
The Brook of Kidron flows from Mea She’arim.
I will pray for you.
I will tell you what to do.
I’ll stone you. I shall break your every limb.
Oh, I am not afraid of you,
But maybe I should fear the things you make me do.
This is not Golgotha.
This is the Holy Sepulchre,
The Emperor Hadrian’s temple to a love
Which he did not much share.
Golgotha could be anywhere.
Jerusalem itself is on the move.
It leaps and leaps from hill to hill
And as it makes its way it also makes its will.
The city was sacked.
Jordan was driven back.
The pious Christians burned the Jews alive.
This is a minaret.
I’m not finished yet.
We’re waiting for reinforcements to arrive.
What was your mother’s real name?
Would it be safe today to go to Bethlehem?
This is the Garden Tomb.
No, this is the Garden Tomb.
I’m an Armenian. I am a Copt.
This is Utopia.
I came here from Ethiopia.
This hole is where the flying carpet dropped
The Prophet off to pray one night
And from here one hour later he resumed his flight.
Who packed your bag?
I packed my bag.
Where was your uncle’s mother’s sister born?
Have you ever met an Arab?
Yes, I am a scarab.
I am a worm. I am a thing of scorn.
I cry Impure from street to street
And see my degradation in the eyes I meet.
I am your enemy.
This is Gethsemane.
The broken graves look to the Temple Mount.
Tell me now, tell me when
When shall we all rise again?
Shall I be first in that great body count?
When shall the tribes be gathered in?
When, tell me, when shall the Last Things begin?
You are in error.
This is terror.
This is your banishment. This land is mine.
This is what you earn.
This is the Law of No Return.
This is the sour dough, this the sweet wine.
This is my history, this my race
And this unhappy man threw acid in my face.
Stone cries to stone,
Heart to heart, heart to stone.
These are the warrior archaeologists.
This is us and that is them.
This is Jerusalem.
These are dying men with tattooed wrists.
Do this and I’ll destroy your home.
I have destroyed your home.  You have destroyed my home.

James Fenton
New Selected Poems (2006)

Commentary:  Tomorrow, I am going to Jerusalem.  I first heard of Jerusalem when I was in my mother’s womb, listening to charismatic sermons in my amniotic sack and dreaming dreams about Jesus before I was even born.  There has never been a day in my entire life when I was not aware of the city of Jerusalem.  I have imagined it.  It has become a metaphor for my heart, for the the center of my soul.  But it is a real place.  I have no idea what it will really be like for me to walk on the walls and the streets of Jerusalem.

I have read other people’s gospels and stories and poems about Jerusalem.  I have imagined what they were imagining.  I have sung songs about Jerusalem.  I have studied medieval maps that place Jerusalem in the center and call it the umbilicus terrae, the navel of the world.  I have translated the word, Jerusalem, from Spanish, French, Latin, and Hebrew into English in dozens of translation exercises over the past twelve years or more. 

It is impossible to go to Jerusalem without preconceived notions, without ideas and pictures, other voices, other languages, other words.  I read James Fenton’s poem, and that is one vision.  There are other visions.

Claudia told me what it was like to drive up from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem at sunset.  Onnaca told me she hated the pressing of the mob of tourists at the holy sites … and she took a day just to look at the sky over Jerusalem … and the experience was more deeply spiritual for her than kissing any reliquaries.  I have listened to testimonials from other tourists on radio programs, in pulpits and classrooms, at the dinner table and on the internet.     

Today, I read half a dozen poems about Jerusalem.  William Blake turned Jerusalem into a metaphor for England’s religious triumphalism.  Yehuda Amichai complained, justifiably, about tourists only interested in the monuments of Jerusalem and not its citizens, its people.

My memories are full of Jerusalem, and I have never been there.

In fact, I have precious momentos from Jerusalem:  a bookmark my pastor gave me when I was in elementary school after he returned from his once-in-a-lifetime journey, a stylized print of the old city on purple cloth that my step-father gave me for Christmas one year.  

But tomorrow Jerusalem will be real to me in a way that has never been possible before.

What will Jerusalem be like for me?  I know everyone sees it differently; certainly that is what James Fenton is saying in his poem.  But even knowing my perceptions have already been shaped by the pilgrimages of other people — like Egeria and Margery Kempe and Birgitta of Sweden — my desire to see Jerusalem is still an intense passion:  a passion for Jerusalem.


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I recently returned to Ghana, West Africa, for the third time.  One evening during this visit, I went to the home of my dear friend Samuel Tetteh.  His wife Eugenia had a towel in their kitchen that declared:  “Every meal is a story.”  Yes! I thought.  This is very true everywhere, but perhaps especially in Ghana.

For two weeks, in Ghana, I ate stories.

I ate boiled yams, fried plantains, yam balls, abula, a little kenké, spicy tomato stew with chicken or fish, bananas and mangos and the freshest pineapple … I drank pineapple-watermelon juice for days.  Of course, one of the meals most often enjoyed in Ghana is fufu, a dough made from yam, saturated with palm nut soup, and eaten by hand.

To prepare the dough, the yam must be pounded with a mortar and pestle.  The pestle is as tall as a person while the mortar is a tall, rounded wooden bowl with sides that curve upward so the mouth is smaller in diameter than the rest of the interior of the bowl.  (See Ghanaian Cusine for a picture!)  This particular method of preparation proved to have a storied significance, which I learned of when I visited Kakum National Forest.

At a certain point while hiking through the trees, the Ewe tour guide asked her international visitors, “How many types of people are there in the world?”  Without saying anything, I thought to myself: one type (because we are all human).  Alternatively, of course, I thought: there are thousands of types of people!  So imagine my surprise when she said, “Two!”  Guess which two?

“Men and women,” she said.

She then went on to explain how the mortar and pestle used to make fufu symbolize the relationship between men and women.  For two of the exactly three people on this hike who had actually seen fufu made (the two being myself and a Ghanaian friend named Festus), this was inevitably funny, but the third, a Ghanaian professor, gave no sign that he noticed the implications.

Ah, food and stories …

Stories often come after a meal, too (as well as in the middle of long walks in new places), and one evening when I was staying at the home of my dear friend Kate Tetteh in Lartebiokorshie just outside of the city of Accra, my five-year-old goddaughter and I had a story-telling contest.  She would recite a poem, then I would sing a song, and back and forth we went for more than an hour, I all the while amazed at everything Padiki had memorized.

Among other things, Padiki recited the Ghanaian Pledge and then sang the national anthem.  The words seemed so innocent but so powerful in the mouth of a child.

The National Pledge

“I promise on my honour to be faithful and loyal to Ghana my motherland.  I pledge myself to the service of Ghana with all my strength and with all my heart. I promise to hold in high esteem our heritage, won for us through the blood and toil of our fathers; and I pledge myself in all things to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana. So help me God.”

The Ghanaian National Anthem

God Bless our homeland Ghana,
And make our nation great and strong,
Bold to defend for ever the cause of Freedom and of Right.
Fill our hearts with true humility
Make us cherish fearless honesty,
And help us to resist oppressor’s rule
With all our will and might for evermore.

Hail to thy name, O Ghana.
To thee we make our solemn vow;
Steadfast to build together
A nation stong in Unity;
With our gifts of mind and strength of arm,
Whether night or day, in mist or storm,
In every need whate’er the call may be,
To serve thee, Ghana, now and evermore.

Raise high the flag of Ghana,
And one with Africa advance;
Black Star of hope and honour,
To all who thirst for liberty;
Where the banner of Ghana freely flies,
May the way to freedom truly lie
Arise, arise, O sons of Ghanaland.
And under God march on for evermore.

(For a picture of Ghana’s flag and coat of arms, see the Ghanaian Flag, Pledge, Anthem, and Coat of Arms.)

The words of the pledge and the song pierced my heart.  I thought of how noble and how right they were.  I thought of the history hidden within them, and the love of home, and the spiritual strength of endurance.

I wondered what America would be like if our national anthem explicitly remembered the shed-blood of our ancestors and the necessity for deep personal humility.

I wondered what Ghana, a developing nation, would be like in twenty years when Padiki’s generation comes of age in an amazing world.

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Sometimes poets go on adventures, and sometimes the adventures come to them.

For example, just last week, my mom, my stepfather, and my fourteen year old sister, Alice, all came from California to visit me here in Illinois. They went to Chicago three days in a row! Sears Tower, Chicago Institute of Art, Millenium Park, Moody Bible College, the Cultural Center–you name it, they visited it. And I mustn’t neglect to mention the food: deep dish pizza, Thai cuisine, chocolate from the Hersey’s store–they tasted life.

Of course, I was at work during the day, so I would hear about these adventures in the evenings … when we went out to do whatever was clever.

The first night, Tuesday night, I took my mom to a poetry reading on the Wheaton College campus. Chris Wiman was reading. Chris is the editor of “Poetry,” a literary magazine, and gave out free copies. The first poem, a long one, in the March 2008 edition has this sonnet-like opening to begin it:

“Nights on Planet Earth”

Gravel paths on hillsides amid moon-drawn vineyards,
click of pearls upon a polished nightstand
soft, as rainwater, self-minded stars, oboe music
distant as the grinding of icebergs against the hull
of the self and the soul in the darkness
chanting to the ecstatic chance of existence.
Deep is the water and long is the moonlight
inscribing addresses in quicksilver ink,
building the staircase a lover forever pauses upon.
Deep is the darkness and long is the night,
solid the water and liquid the light. How strange
that they arrive at all, nights on planet earth.

Campbell McGrath {2008}

The next night, we went to the senior recital of Joel Alexander, percussionist and marimba player. On the third night, we went to the Chicago Institute of Art and stood in front of Renoir’s “Les deux soeurs sur la terrace,” marveling at the painter’s bright oranges. On the fourth night, we went to see a wheatonIMPROV comedy show. It was great! We laughed so hard. On the last night, Saturday night, we went to Church of the Savior, where I played flute and sang on the worship team, and then to the Men’s Glee Club concert on the college campus once again. My cousin Mitzi came!

It was splendid.

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