Posts Tagged ‘LOVE-SONG’

The other day, in a poetry workshop I am teaching, we were discussing dramatic monologue. Among several other examples that we read together was one I wrote a few years ago: “Love-Song for a Wanderer.” It is written from the perspective of Penelope, the faithful wife of Odysseus, celebrated forever by Homer in his epic poetry. A few days later, one of my dear students, Abigail Hullinger, sent me a link to a song sung as if by Odysseus (who is also known as Ulysses). In the midst of a long silence as I am, it touched my heart to hear these two literary figures in dialogue, however imagined their conversation may be.


To me, you are Odysseus.

I have been waiting twenty years
for you to come home.

And you come to me.

Now I touch your scars—
I know the memory of your skin.

Your scars are beautiful under my fingertips.

Tell me the stories of your adventures in the shadow-kingdom
and the way of your ship on the waves.

Calypso wishes she could hear you now.

But I am the one
listening to your voice.

I never wove a shroud for you.

Now you have returned
over the sea, shining, to me.

I dreamed you were an eagle.

And here, you have
settled in my olive tree.


Jane Beal
Love-Song (2009)


from Josh Garrels,
Love & War & the Sea in Between

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »


Staring, you look for clues.
Where is the evidence, the proof.

In your stare, I watch myself gazing,
enamored, at skylines,
or blinded by a pine cone in hand.

Love, when it stays, is traceless.
Whose hand stretched first offering is no matter.
The bodies press together in their many ways.

The one coarse piece of cloth drapes us both
and softens on the curves of our bodies
and our lives fit well.

When two people walk far enough into the distance,
they merge.

Gary Metras

in Passionate Hearts (1996)


If only I could enter the paint,
and become one with the paint,
we could fly across the red sky
over the charcoal outline of the town.

I could show you my breasts
above the white skirt of my wedding dress,
and wrap my arm around your head like a charm,
gazing at your face, looking into your eyes.

The yellow fish would leap over death!
Gabriel would bring us baby’s breath!
The bird of hope would flutter by like a butterfly,
opening to the future, closing to the past.

Jane Beal

Love-Song (2010)

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

In November, I began writing LOVE-SONG, a collection of lyric and ekphrastic poems inspired in part by the paintings of Chagall, Dalí, Picasso, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. I enjoyed experimenting with the intersection of sound, word, and image, creating an MP4 version of each poem read aloud, paired with an image, and set to music. These recordings can be enjoyed at the home of the LOVE-SONG.

Now the collection has been published in a chapbook printed by Lulu Press. Here are some of the kind things that have been said about the poems by a poet, a songwriter, and a painter:

“This collection is an absolute gem, suffused with a rare combination of faith, surrealism, and delicate yearning.” ~ Adrienne Odasso, poet and author of Devil’s Road Down

“Jane Beal writes beautifully, integrating body and mind, sorrow and joyfulness. In these poems, she is immersed deep within a river of dreams. Bird-like above, as her own words describe, she is ‘singing to the Autumn sky.'” ~ Robert Deeble, songwriter

“Jane is a completely honest and sincere writer … Her voice is just what is needed to make the words clear … The music choices, photographs, and paintings inspire and illuminate. They are very well chosen, elegant–almost delicate–and spare enough not to overwhelm the details of the words.” ~ Janice Skivington, fine art painter and illustrator

I hope you enjoy my LOVE-SONG … and if you wish to purchase a copy of the new chapbook, please visit LOVE-SONG at LULU PRESS.

Read Full Post »

Jane is currently writing a new collection of lyrics called LOVE-SONG. She is recording the poems and setting many of them to music. To hear Jane’s multimedia poems and see them set to images, visit:

Jane’s LOVE-SONG at sanctuarypoet.net

Or, to download your own copies of Jane’s new poems, visit:

Jane’s LOVE-SONG at thepoetryplace.wordpress.com


Read Full Post »