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Sunflower Songs

For Christ—

the light I follow across the sky

“For God is Light,
and there is no darkness in him.”

1 John 1:5b

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I laid my hand my heart.
I closed my eyes.
I was in darkness.

Breathe

I can’t capture it, but the light
was all around me—
I had wings,
shining

Breathe

I laid my hand in my lap.
I opened my eyes.
I was illuminated.

Jane Beal

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I sat down to listen
and in the silence I saw
a grand house in the future
with light shining behind it.
The door opened,
and my husband came out,
our two-year-old son Samuel
still clinging to his left knee.
Then my little dog, Joyful,
burst out into the green yard
and barked fiercely
at the shadow-men walking by.

I saw myself once more sitting
by the tidepool—a surprise.
I was myself, a woman grown,
not a child, but still naked.
There was glass in the tidepool, shards of glass,
and sometimes the water became all glass.
Then it changed back, to just shards,
and I knew they were my pain.
Nevertheless, there was something gold
in the water. I reached in and drew it out.
It was a gold bracelet made of hearts. I put it on.
There was a gold ring with an amber stone on my left hand.
My husband appeared on the beach.
He was naked, too.
I stood up, and we walked away from the tidepool
holding hands.

Then, I didn’t see myself,
but I saw Jesus
walking on water toward me
and the light was all around him.
It was in him, radiating out
from him, and I gave him
my heart.
He took my heart in his hands,
and when he did,
I went inside of his heart,
and rocked there, hidden in his love.

Jane Beal
Sunflower Songs (2012)

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Seeded apple, symbol of fertility,
the promise of fruitfulness in the land

glowing, open and red, in the hands of Jesus,
himself held by our Lady under the white wings
of the Spirit on Pentecost

an intimation of the day when your seed
would come out of Persia into California
by way of España and flourish
in the backyards of strangers

making from you the sweet elixir of life
and drinking to their health, ’til drunk on joy,
they forget Persephone—

winter never comes when the sun is shining,
and the sun is shining in the gift-wine of your blood.

Jane Beal
Sunflower Songs (2012)

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The trouble is the riddle, strange as it can be—
luminescent, as it were, with tender mystery:

the young sweetheart who sends her love the cherry
without any stone–then the pretty dove, without any bone—

finally the briar, without any branch, and the plea to love her
without any longing, despite all mischance!

How can it be? How can it be?
A cherry without stone, a dove without bone—

a briar without branch, a love without mischance? Ah!
When the cherry was in flower, why, then it had no stone!

And when the dove was an egg, then it had no bone.
And when the briar was seed, then it had no branch

and when the maiden has the one she loves,
then there’s no more longing, and she’s fulfilled in the dance.

Jane Beal
Sunflower Songs (2012)

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I was listening to a man
on the radio talking
about his dream of being

there when the animals
were marching onto the arc,
two by two, seven by seven.

He could feel the zebras
breathing on the back of his neck—
it was so real!

The turtles were going
so slowly, he feared
they would never make it

on board, but he heard
the voice of God say:
the turtles made it.

Of course they did!
The slowest would not be
left behind.

Herding turtles, the man
thought, ever after,
when feeling impatient.

Every turtle will come along
in his own time—
even a turtle-man.

Jane Beal
Sunflower Songs (2012)

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Sportive Shakespeare said playfully through him,
Feste, twelfth night’s honest clown, “Your mind’s an
opal!” as he peered into the night’s dim
and falling darkness, into which they ran:

master and young man, a boy, but disguised,
for underneath a soldier’s uniform
a woman’s heart, beating fast, had surmised
all her love must remain hidden—or be torn!

Where is my brother? Lost under the wave.
Where is my hope of being belovèd?
So close we stand, hard by this rock sea-cave.
We touch, untouched, but come not near to it.

Bright-whirling fire beneath the white surface—
still veiled—that longing for Love’s golden kiss.

Jane Beal
Sunflower Songs (2012)

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