HerStory Steps Into the Ring

by Jane Tawel

Earth Worm
“Earth Worm” by DJ SINGH is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

HerStory Steps Into the Ring

By Jane Tawel

May 13, 2021

And someone said that “History isn’t the story that actually happened, you know.”

“History is the story of what they want to believe.”

And all I could manage to mumble was,

“there will be wars and the rumors of wars”.

*

The newspapers had started to look almost cheery in my country;

But then I remembered that though

the civil warmongers on my shores,

had made their peace by making new confederate flags,

flags that appeared to me,

seen from the distance of my dismay,

all blackened and borrowed.

Yes, even though we had returned to the

 more boring news cycles

of mass murders, suicides and food lines,

there was always tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

creeping like creepy-crawlers into this petty place,

 helping my own country keep pace

with the rest

of the world’s civil unrest.

*

“We reign!  We reign!” the “they” in They cry,

with open mouths like empty wells,

and the deserted dry bones of accumulated wealth

feed by the waters of Babylon;

while the Desert Fathers and Mothers

weep with great heaves, weep without tears

and pray for rain.

*

Besides, I am a world-citizen, now,

pledging my allegiance

to the one cause that unifies;

the more, more, more that divides our teams into

those who have and those who have not.

“One Amazon under God,

destroying The Amazon, forsaken by Him”.

*

Yes, I too have my flag to fly,

and it is the flag of der Weltschmerz.

Oh, how I dare to be world-weary!–

with so many shoes sitting footless in my closet,

and so many feet walking shoeless

across the planet’s scorn.

Yes, my empathy and suffering in my knowledge,

is a trick worthy of a Houdini –

Watch me! Get your cell phones out!

Observe the amazing magic tricks,

 as The Magician of Lassitude

magically frees herself

of the chains of my cognizance surrounding me!

My assisting soul has sawn

me in halves

and placed me in the locked

Box of Empathy. But Watch!

Watch as I extricate all thoughts and feelings

from the Prison of  My Pathos;

and Voila! I appear in this other

box across the stage of my existence,

in The Casket of Ennui.

(The trick is in the hidden trapdoor of absolute apathy.)

Abracadabra! Ta-Da!”

Today’s show is over, and I can sleep

in the safety of knowledge well-squandered.

*

I have joined the fantasy world-league

of those who “know” and vacillate between

hand-holding and hand-wringing.

I take a knee before

the world-weariness

of too much information,

too much knowledge,

not enough wisdom.

Thanks, in part, to the ridiculous efficiency and speed

 of the WorldWideWeb,

I have the attention span of

 a cursor that merely hovers.

And yet, daily the planet spinning

breaks my heart.

It breaks my heart, “Oh bless their little hearts!”

*

Yes, the WORLD is writ large in capital letters

and it strains and hurts my eyes,

but mostly strains and hurts what seems to be left of my heart.

I have spent the better part of my wholeness

 reading and reading

 and watching and watching;

and as The World becomes My World;

as history becomes her-story—

I am, now and then, and here and there,

putting the words down, and laying them aside,

and I am becoming.

*

I am becoming a part of his-story.

I am becoming an act-er in her-story.

I become a little Palestinian child,

a teenager from Honduras,

a Black man from Minneapolis,

a veiled woman in Afghanistan.

I am

afraid, imprisoned, beaten, and hungry.

I am the victim.

I am also the perpetrator,

afraid, imprisoned, broken, insatiable.

In this acceptance of my part in The Story,

I am becoming.

*

But growing up to be

a human being

is not easy.

And the bombs and the guns

and the guns and the bombs

keep creating zombies in us,

and we mistake our need for weapons

of words and wars

for our fears of inattention and unaffection.

*

In her-story,

I become a refugee from my own life,

and all of me, All of Us cry-out:

 “Who will write our history?

 Who will remember us?”

*

But enough about them,

Let’s get back to talking about Me.

*

Suffering alongside is a spectator sport

and I fail spectacularly at it.

I am a cheerleader for a team of

Me, Myself and I.

And therefore, the boos and hurrahs,

are equally earned by the winning and losing sides.

*

The great Operas of Life,

the dramas of the world, have been condensed

into Instagrams–

here today, gone tomorrow–

a script of just the headlines,

played by a cast of emojis.

*

And as the notes of the last aria are heard

by the player of one, myself,

and the audience of one, myself,

 the sound and fury of My World

falls on zombie ears,

 in the raped forests

and no one hears,

and there are soon no more sticks

to add to the fire.

*

I have become a sort of big brained monster,

All brain and mouth,

with no feet and hands;

not so much terrifying

for what can be sensed inside me,

but terrified of myself,

and made senseless

by what is not,

not within me.

*

I am like a desiccated tree,

cut down after history’s prime.

Nothing useful really,

no lean, strong limbs growing outward

just a trunk-ated, corpulent, pulp fiction.

I could have been hewed-down

and made into someone’s cross,

but I would have had to give up

so much of my own life-story,

that I thought it best to let others

 bear the cross to bare the myth.

*

I am become a wealthy mirage

built blithely in an arid place.

I steal my living water from

those who can’t afford to say no.

Nothing really Real can grow here.

Nothing is within me that can reach higher,

reach lower,

move along the ground,

or go forth and touch.

*

I am evolved into

 a large, rather flaccid, but very intelligent worm,

writhing in the mud

of so much awareness.

*

But I, worm-like,

somehow….

even with the brain of an inveterate,

and the heartlessness of a jelly fish,

and the soullessness of a First World Zombie….

slight miracle though it may be–

I, a worm,

still have enough offered grace

from Mother Earth;

and enough offered love

from Father-Creator;

and within me there is still

a small faint pulse coursing through me,

and written upon the faint stirrings of my soul,

lives The Message from and Messiah of the Divine.

*

And the worms

long for the sweet rains to come.

No one gets to own or package the rain,

Not even American Amazonians.

*

*

In this precious last moment,

the last of its kind,

the whole world breathes

 in universal prayer

for rain.

“Come rains, that flow, freely on all.

Come Living Water, that frees every soul.

Come Holy Spirit, the Answer to Why.

Come rain, Come shine, for even a worm like I.”

*

“I Pledge Allegiance to the Planet,

One Planet Under God”.

And I pray.

I pray to the God of the World,

Whose love falls on the good and the evil,

and Whose grace

rains down from a Loving Hand.

“Dear God, please make me care.”

*

I pray for what I cannot see,

for waters to fall and rise,

cleansing and reviving;

flooding history again,

creating a need for an ark.

“And I know you said You wouldn’t do it again,

but please, Great Spirit, we need more rainbows”.

*

Without first death,

there is no life.

May my thirst for myself

dry up and die,

So that I may partake

in my soul’s parching,

and in the great need

and the greater need for sharing

and giving of Living Water.

May I learn to wash the dirty feet

and walk alongside in others’ footsteps

In the steps of her-story,

And the arms of his-story,

and the rising action

and falling action of your-story, and mine.

Let us stop marching and begin The Great Dance.

*

Lover of Our Souls,

Create in us new hearts

to live each others’ stories

in truth and love.

Let us bow our heads,

and lift our faces

to the Heavens and hope for rain,

and then stop talking and get to work;

sowing and planting,

gathering water and wheat,

rice and beans

and leaves and flowers;

 gleaning

with plenty to share,

provisions for all,

Living Water by the bucketfuls,

given from hearts, not brains,

given with love, not the fears of not enough;

shared with the Wisdom,

hoped for in The Past, and

 passed down from Our Future.

*

Let us change Earth’s Story’s end,

not hoarding the histrionics of a history

we have re-written for our own benefit

but for A Story we never fully understand,

but believe in and try to live out  anyway.

*

Let us change the ending of our World’s Story,

re-created and re-crafted

by open hands reached out;

hands of mercy and grace,

shedding tears and giving blood,

dancing in circles, and holding each other,

raising voices in psalms of ascension.

*

Let us make history

not in wars but in service,

not in greed but in meeting need,

not in hatred, but in love,

not in destruction, but in creation,

not in the lies worthy of our news,

but in the truth worthy of our legacy.

*

God, let me lift my face from my world’s news

from my worm’s viewpoint

from the ground to the Heavens.

Lift my face to get a glimpse

of what You see,

to the World’s Newness,

the World’s Treasure,

sought, not found,

 like the best kind of secret

hidden in Divine Presence.

*

Creator, thank you for another day,

to feel the sun on my face,

and wait in hope

for the rain to fall upon the Earth,

rain for even a worm like I.

*

© Jane Tawel 2021

NOTE: The metaphor of being a worm is not for everyone. There are as indicated in the above musing, far too many people who are made to feel like they are nothing but “worker-worms”, so to speak. But the metaphor of being a worm was helpful for me. It comes perhaps originally from an old hymn that I used to sing in the churches of the Midwest where I grew up and began to grow into what I hope is an ever evolving faith and worldview.  I want to become more. Well, that is it, I guess, just “more”.

The following words to the hymn by Isaac Watts called out to me today from the hallows of history. Today –What and Who calls out to you, like a Parent to Her child, asking:

“Will you represent?”

Alas and Did My Savior Bleed, by Isaac Watts (c. 1707)

Alas, and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

Was it for sins that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity, grace unknown
And love beyond degree.

My God, why would You shed Your blood
So pure and undefiled
To make a sinful one like me
Your chosen, precious child?

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut His glories in
When Christ, the mighty Maker, died
For man, the creature’s, sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness
And melt my eyes to tears.

My God, why would You shed Your blood
So pure and undefiled
To make a sinful one like me
Your chosen, precious child?

(c) Hymn by Isaac Watts

(c) Jane Tawel 2021

Transformations:  What We Had and Have

by Jane Tawel

https://unsplash.com/photos/VMKBFR6r_jg

Transformations: What We Had and Have

By Jane Tawel

May 1, 2021

*

There are things that transform,

Sometimes, good, sometimes bad.

And one thing that can change us

are things we have had;

like a memory,

a story,

or that one special look

from a person that loved us,

or a scene in its glory,

or a place we once lived,

or the self we forgive.

*

In past things that have happened

and are seared into our minds,

are the things in the present the soul longs to find — 

a meaning and truth to help light The Way — 

we make our past valid by its purpose today.

*

Yes, the things that transform us

are alive and will move us

and it often behooves us

to remember and honor,

whether lasting, or gone or

pleasant or sad

who we are is in part

all the things we have had

that transform our hearts

and that keep love alive.

For we truly do thrive

When past joys, and past storms,

are held close to our souls,

there to change and transform.

*

The changes

from actual things we can touch,

or see, hear, or taste — 

all have given us much

to continue in nurturing

thoughts, words, and deeds,

and are ever more helpful,

than dogmas or creeds.

For what I thought yesterday

often has proved,

to be just a rut or an entrenching groove,

that causes my heart and my soul to decay,

and prevent me from living new truths found today.

*

It is living life wholly

that makes holiness real.

And what makes humans, human,

is what we can feel.

And by letting our feelings

create room in our thoughts,

our souls can become

the vast things that they ought.

We must hold on right tightly,

To the plantings, so needed.

For much has been seeded,

in our lives for our growth.

There is past, and there’s present,

and each moment, holds both.

*

There’s an ocean inside me

Of things I have had;

and acceptance is not that I’ve been always glad;

But instead I take each little memory and part,

and I let each shift things in my mind and my heart.

And each little shift can move me away

from the things that ensnare me or convince me to stay,

stuck in a place or time no longer needed.

A Life’s rolling waves

should be honored and heeded.

Oh, the freedom I’ve found in embracing the “me”

that has had and can have, and once was and can be!

*

Our lives’ better angels

can upturn the tables,

but we must be able,

to look life in the face,

and give all of it grace.

All of life’s just a spectrum,

Of reaches and ranges.

Whether rising or falling,

Waves of change are our calling,

and they call and they call us

towards change.

© Jane Tawel 2021

https://unsplash.com/photos/p4PFq1pgMDs

I Don’t Know Who I Could Be

by Jane Tawel

https://unsplash.com/photos/Jqhwp4mcuUM

I Don’t Know Who I Could Be

A Poem

By Jane Tawel

April 19, 2021

I don’t know who I’d be, if I stopped unforgiving.

I don’t know who I’d be, if I spent less time worrying.

And who would I be if I didn’t care to keep up my grades,

but instead, judged not, either self or you?

If winning was an illusion I left behind like a broken toy,

might I know the terrible, fearsome freedom of joy?

*

I rarely know who I am, except as a passing glance,

a whirl of motion, unsteadied by a center aflame.

And I have always hated my name.

Longing for meaning in the temporal labeling

of a self-made shelter from identity thieves

I become “that person”, not myself.

My pronouns are “it” and “that”.

*

I hold myself at arm’s length,

and keep my arms too full;

so, by thinking I carry the weight of the world,

I carry a chimera, not a Hope.

Too afraid to empty my hands of grasping-ness,

too impatient or easily irritated to extend out,

either to help or hug.

I corner my soul like a trapped animal.

*

I don’t know who I could be,

so rather than running towards,

I take a step backwards.

Never throwing caution to the wind,

I am winded by a stagnancy of fearful insecurities,

an anger of ant-sized proportions.

My senseless, defenseless fists,

of my deformed ego, beat against

the beating of my expensive, essence-ed heart.

I sell my soul for the fast-food of believing that I was right.

I hide true treasure where I won’t find it.

*

Not knowing who I was once,

I still sense who I could become.

There is a self a-waiting just ahead,

No not a head, — a heart and will and

sensuality of Spirit-world.

The senses know

what the soul can only dream of.

*

My soul whispers,

soft as an Infant’s caressing forefinger,

strong as a memory of another World:

You can become. You are becoming.

Let yourself meet yourself,

and be Created.

Come.”

Listen With Your Heart — a poem

by Jane Tawel

https://unsplash.com/photos/7LsuYqkvIUM

Listen With Your Heart — a poem

By Jane Tawel

April 12, 2021

*

I don’t know why the birds keep singing, but they do.

When every thing is horrible. It’s true.

My mind is on the negative, transfixed.

The world is broken and our minds up-mixed.

*

I wake up every day and burn the wick down,

Before my feet have even touched the hard ground.

But little bird is on a branch a-sway,

With ne’er a worry of the coming day.

*

If God is in the Heavens, He’s in birds, too.

And that would mean, that God’s in me and you.

*

Oh, listen to what can be heard, unseen.

And lessons from the birds and creatures, glean.

There is a cosmic beauty, love, and grace,

In every feather, furry paw, and face.

*

We soldier on, when we should really dance.

And let the glory of the world entrance.

Today I will from mindful prison part,

And listen to the whole world, with my heart.

©Jane Tawel 2021

To My Friends Reading Here, Feast on This

by Jane Tawel

assorted title book lot
https://unsplash.com/photos/eeSdJfLfx1A

A friend posted an article today entitled, “The Case Against Shakespeare” and the article, (not my friend) both angered and saddened me. The bottom line of this article was that we shouldn’t “force” any one to read the classics like Shakespeare because this keeps someone from learning to love to read. Now if I only take that one argument, all I need is a subscription to Netflix and a video game to prove the author wrong on why people don’t read anymore. However, one thing made my head want to explode, and of course I had to write about it. Of course I wanted to share my meager but impassioned thoughts with my trusted WordPress friends, my community of writers who keep the love of art and life alive in the little corner of the world in which I choose to dialogue with others and the platform upon which I have the occasional soliloquy published on.

I am grateful for the community of like and sometimes unlike souls that I have found amongst you. Keep writing, keep teaching, keep yelling into the howl, or lighting candles on the dark way, or dancing in the rain, or just sharing where you are at and who you are today. And I am grateful to each of you for including me in the “company of fools and players” that we create together here and sincerely and humbly thankful for you, whether you like Shakespeare or not.

Cheers — Jane

My Convoluted Case FOR Shakespeare

The author of this article, “The Case Against Shakespeare”, may have a point about Shakespeare but his analysis of literature and what it’s purpose is and why it should be read and how it should be taught breaks my heart and makes my poor Literature / Writing teacher’s mind go ballistic. I have spent a life time trying to help students and sundry others try to overcome this philosophy. So, as I teach my students to write boldly, I shall simply say, the author could not be more wrong.  I hope to encourage him and others to rethink the purpose of reading, much in the way we should all constantly rethink the purpose of our lives.

One point of his only I will take up, and that is the author’s comment that “literature doesn’t exist for its symbols and imagery, nor are they the reason authors write”(Stratton). Woe! (Sound of hair being torn out!) The person who is not taught the importance of symbol and metaphor, imagery and the allusive allure of alliteration is not being fed by the best in our literary history; but instead, in the cause of “getting ahead”. That deprived person is being starved by an education focused on a future practical use of that person’s brain or brawn, not focused on their well-being, their being well, and the fact that every human being has always wanted to be much more than a cog in a well-oiled machine or a pamphlet that is glanced at then tossed in the trash. We long to be poetry, to have poetic justice, to be understood in all of our mystery and meaningfulness, and to think that we can be taught to read without being taught how to learn any of that about the human condition or the world or the universe or the mysteries beyond is a tragedy long in the making.

To be taught and coaxed, goaded and coddled in not books, but literature, not reading, but exploring and expanding the mind, heart, and soul — this is the charge of those of us in the past and present to pass on to our future and our children and our children’s children. We all must keep desiring the wherewithal of how to spend a lifetime in the exploration of the changes in the meaning behind the meaning, the sublimity of poetry, the divine essence beyond mere rational debate of the written word, comparable to that of the played symphony or the painted masterpiece. The person who is not taught and encouraged in this philosophy, is not merely uneducated in the type of classical, heady stuff that endures the passage of time, but unschooled in what it means to be the best human being a person can be. That is what Shakespeare can teach us today, yes, after all these years.

And of course, this poor human who is taught merely to read, and not to delve into the unfathomable treasures hidden in the deeps of the written word, that one will never have those moments of divine revelation, the sublimity of being awed by the essence of “The Why”, nor the hope that we really are more than black and white words on a page; much more than simplistic, useful, practical, or merely entertaining and entertained commodities.

Why one can not even understand what it means to be nothing more than “dust in the wind” or to have “everything to a season”, or to, as the poet read at the recent inauguration of a U.S. President, what it means to “brave the belly of the beast” and be as brave as we must be on ‘The Hill We Climb”(Gorman). No, one can not simply be taught to read, but must be taught how to read and above all Why to read. One can not be left to wade in the shallow end forever, to never know what it is to dive and swim. We must not be afraid of not knowing and not understanding, but we should be terrified of never immersing ourselves in the deep waters of great literature and poetry, never climbing to the apex of the mountain ranges of great artists, past and present, and still always to aim to climb higher and higher, and always finding more mystery there, even on the pinnacles of greatness.

The person who is not stretched early to expand the mind through literature and plays, poetry and Psalms, has a bleak, spirit-less life ahead of him or her. How to read Holy Scripture without being taught how to read poetry? How to listen to Amanda Gorman without first trying to stretch the brain on the poetry of Shakespeare or Frost, Whitman or Hughes or Angelou or the Psalms of David or prophetic metaphors of Isaiah? How to hope and dream for a better world without understanding the complicated but profound works of Dickens or Gabriel Marquez, Dumas, or Dostoevsky? How to understand America without being taught how to read Twain, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck? How to understand China without attempting to understand Wang Wei or Cao Xueqin? How to understand Latin or South America if one hasn’t been taught the poem “They Have Threatened Us with Resurrection”, by Julia Esquivel? How to march for Black Lives Matter without reading the essays of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or the poetry of Langston Hughes? How to know what it is to be from somewhere that you aren’t, to be someone you aren’t, and then how to realize that once you walk in someone else’s moccasins in the poetry of Native American poet Laureate, Jo Harjo or immerse yourself in some other place or time’s literature, and to find that one can turn a corner or turn a page and be stunned by the realization that we are all so much more alike than we could have ever guessed, and we are all much more unique and special than we could ever hope for! 

Spending a lifetime trying to read anything without a basic understanding and at least grudging admiration of symbol and metaphor and imagery, is like spending a lifetime trying to dine on steak and potatoes or baguettes and cheese or sushi and cupcakes by trying to suck on them out of a baby bottle. Not being taught the joys of chewing on poetry and imbibing great literature is like having your teeth ripped out and not being allowed to taste when you masticate.

Let alone personal enjoyment, we haven’t even begun to wonder how one would find expression of one’s own deepest emotions and thoughts, in any relationship of love, whether of a God or of a mate or of a friend or of a tree or of cat or dog or garden or sunset — of anything or anyone that awes us. How would we enthuse over all of that which exists beyond the mundane, that which surpasses and endures the test of time?

And why can’t one be entertained by C.S. Lewis, or Lewis Carroll, or Stevenson, or Barrie, or Nikki Grimes or Rowling and still learn about symbolism, metaphor, allusion, and irony (God knows, we need to learn something about irony in America!)

By all means if someone can find writers today who do poetry as well as Shakespeare or Dickinson or Frost or Neruda or the Psalms or even Silverstein, by all means, teach it and read it. Feel free to add to Dostoevsky and Steinbeck and Dickens and Forster and Angelou, some novels by Atwood or Ishiguro for deep thinking. Include with the reading of Wordsworth and Cummings, modern poets like Claudia Rankine or Amanda Gorman, and with Shakespeare and Chekhov, plays by Miller or Shephard, along with the Shakespearean-worthy plays by Tony Kushner or Lin-Manuel Miranda (although on my salary I doubt I will ever actually see “Hamilton”). Teach everything but Shakespeare if you don’t have the heart for it, but for pity’s sake, don’t throw the baby out with the bath-water, nor the metaphors out with the dated conversations or jokes.

If it is tough to read or hard to understand, remind yourself there is nothing harder to understand than the human being; and nothing tougher than going through life without beauty and mystery, or empathy and wonder. Poetry and great literature will help you with all the tough parts, and if it doesn’t always exactly make life easier, it certainly will make it more worthwhile.

The dearth of education today lies in our thinking that all we have to do is teach reading and practical skills, not how to think, or how to feel and express those thoughts and feelings to others. The lack is not in not learning to love reading, but in not learning that by reading great literature, or by attempting to write down ourselves on page or screen, those ideas and ideals that require poetry and metaphor and imagery — in this lies something worth working at, something worth learning, yay, even something to be challenged by, to love and at times even to cherish. We must attempt, first the taking in, and then the expression of those human creative endeavors that try to narrate something more lasting and meaningful than an entertainment interrupted by yet another car insurance commercial. By those excellent and artistic forms of muse-inspired communications, we are enlarged, we are made to be “more”.

We have to learn, or relearn, be inspired by or remember how to find those things worth reading that teach and inspire us to live with meaning into a life that is richer, fuller, and paradoxically, metaphorically more human and more divine.

The world is full of that which we can not understand with a mere glance, nor a nod to being simply knowledgeable. We must teach and inspire within ourselves and others the hope and faith that there is more to living life than acquiring a desire to use and gain more “stuff” by our knowledge.

We will only truly gain the fullness of a life well-lived when we learn to desire to be awed. As the Bard himself says in one of the plays people don’t think we should read, “the time of life is short; to spend that shortness basely, were too long”. 

The mystery of that which defies all comprehension but that which is expressed by our artists, by the shared hopes, dreams and experiences of humankind, and by the ineffable faith and progress of our greatest ideas and ideals, the stuff of our lives set to poetry awaits our engagement to be One with the Sublime. Reading the “good stuff” can even just be a rollicking good time, and vastly more fun than the literary junk food we are led to believe we can get by on. Let’s stop teaching others to spit out the good food of great art before they even try it. We all need to know how to look for the tastiest morsels, how to “taste and see that it is good”*.

As for me, to riff on the Bard once more, “if poetry and literature be the food of love, give me excess of it; that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken and so die”.

Here’s to the banquet feast of the written word. Feast on!

(c) Jane Tawel 2021

https://thehill.com/homenews/news/535052-read-transcript-of-amanda-gormans-inaugural-poem

Quotes from “Henry IV” and “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare

“The Case Against Shakespeare”. Stratton, Allan. The Walrus. March 31, 2021

*Psalm 34:8

Gasping at Glimmers 

by Jane Tawel

https://unsplash.com/photos/__pzUnC_OWA

Gasping at Glimmers

By Jane Tawel

March 24, 2021

*

God-intentioned,

The world breathes, in and out

in and out; and good things come to rest.

When any little thing expires,

another respires in its place.

We settle for moving forward, and not the best

found in realities outside the bounds

of acceptable behavior.

The world is pale with shadows,

and Sudden! Awesome Moment Is — 

overcome by the ennui of bully time.

I am left gasping at glimmers.

*

Oh, to see The Face,

of Whom my meaning mirrors!

There is a holiness in all;

With backs turned

to mankind’s wall,

All faces turn towards God.**

*

I am poor intentioned,

but meager scattered salt;

surviving the winter roads

and adding value by grace alone — 

perhaps others may slip less than I.

Summer is more treacherous

than any icy wind-torn day.

We lie face-down,

and burn our backs once, twice.

The sun blinds to Sun’s Truth

and gorging on purloined picnics

and lulled by warmth, or bit by rabid heat,

we stop extending a hand

to lift another to glory.

Our minds and hearts

bury our souls,

in the sands of time;

or build castles without royalty,

soon swept out on the waves of insignificance.

*

There is a holiness that hovers,

just beyond my holy fingertip.

The subjects of the Ineffable,

like mockingbirds, soar, swoop and dive.

Fleeting, hidden, but not foolish — 

Imago Dei in All of Life!

Our minds may mock

and fear tick-tock,

and yet… and yet… and yet…

There is a trued Eternity,

Perfection — 

just beyond us glistening…

And for each soul that’s carefully listening,

the sound of sanctity will rise,

Creation will unlock blind eyes;

And All Things Good and Beautiful,

of heart and endless soul,

will reach behind the veil,

will see beyond the pale,

and holiness will be our home.

© Jane Tawel 2021

** The idea of holiness explored in this poem I owe to my reading of Man is Not Alone by Abraham Joshua Heschel

Life-Lines — a poem

by Jane Tawel

https://unsplash.com/photos/se3tHNszbkM

Life-lines — a poem

By Jane Tawel

March 19, 2021

*

When I was young,

my mind and heart

were intertwined

like scribbled lines.

When one is young,

separating scrambled lines

is the monumental task

of growing-up.

I failed at much of it

but some lines straightened,

into the miracle of

Due North.

The dots and dashes,

the broken, mended bits of line

Still encompass and still

compass me forth.

*

When I became

Two, and then more;

and “my” became “our”

heart, mind and soul;

We formed a new me.

And I took the bow of us in hand, and

formed a straight arrow;

a line, shooting, aimed,

undeviating in communion,

unswerving in love;

propelling my life.

A streak of light — 

like the tail of a comet.

My love for you

became the trued lines of fortune

in the palms of my hands.

My love for you was

a life-line branching out,

like the shoots of roots

from an unbowed, unbending tree.

Like a line with no end,

I became

my love for you.

*

Now I grow old

and the lines of my life

form circles.

Circling, and circling, and circling;

back and around, back and around…

and sometimes I grow dizzy,

and sometimes I become whole.

The center holds

in the spiral of my life.

© Jane Tawel 2021

Sky and Earth in Rain- 4 Poems

by Jane Tawel

https://unsplash.com/photos/bWtd1ZyEy6w

Sky and Earth in Rain

Four Poems

By Jane Tawel

March 13, 2021

Poem One

*

Sky’s brow sweats with labor;

the earth is replenished

with heaven’s pleasing perspiration.

Earth, in her turn, turns.

Round and round and round

flinging ocean, sea, and pond

back into Sky’s opened-mouth face.

Sky as Heaven, Earth as Gaia,

powerful in servitude to each other;

delighting in shared toiling.

Earth dances, opening herself up

to Sky’s rain and — 

both, so in love!

Heaven and Gaia merge,

symbiotic in creation.

*

Poem Two

*

The blues of sky are borne-away

and seeming dead in grey hues,

mourning clouds as black as burial clothes,

the world looks up at the bereavement.

Only the old folks will watch the sky

and know — 

Surprising endings make the best stories.

*

Ah, the sky’s eyes are tearing-up!

Only the parents know

the welcome oxymoron of the heavens’ happy tears.

Light, though hidden, eyes though clouded,

Love’s light, like the sun, never leaves the heart.

*

Rain is heavens’ tears shed in joy.

The skies know that nothing ever really dies.

The casket opens around the keening clouds.

The heavens resurrect themselves

pouring the gift of life

into earth’s open-armed delight.

*

Poem Three

*

The canopy of sky folds,

and through the gaps of cover,

all heaven breaks loose;

the earth is bathed from head to toe.

And dirty roots and filthy feet and pining pinnacles,

are washed with grace of falling rain.

*

Poem Four

*

The sky husbands the earth,

his seed pours forth,

and earth open’s up to sky’s embrace.

*

Love, given and received;

the over-whelming mystery of earth and sky,

true soul- mates, wed forever,

bearing all.

The earth opens to

all sky’s love -spent pourings.

And at earth’s breast

all children are fed.

New life from married bliss.

© Jane Tawel 2021

No More — And Yet…

By Jane Tawel

https://unsplash.com/photos/qi8LhjI8-nE

No More — And Yet…

By Jane Tawel

February 25, 2021

*

There are no pictures any more

and yet we long to be seen.

We live inside our own closed doors,

and silently rage against the routine.

*

There are no words we want to share

and work is just a grind.

And even those for whom we care

just often slip our minds.

*

The lives of grey inanities

are revelatory — true.

We miss our shared humanity

and hopeful, bright worldview.

*

The days go ever on and on

just one day like the other.

We long for plans to bank upon

and health that’s been recovered.

*

But I have found in all of this

both listlessness and sorrow,

that I have changed my own wish-list

for better days tomorrow.

*

I’ve learned to care more for my kin

and even those I don’t know.

I’ve found a greater love within

and hope that Love will grow and grow.

*

I’m not encouraging deceit

on just how bad it’s been.

But neither is it utter defeat;

I think there’ve been some wins.

*

So maybe take some time today

to focus on the “shoulds”,

of how to live in better ways,

to love and do more good.

*

For even while we’re stuck and scared

and feeling like we just don’t care,

as long as we have one last breath

we live in hope of fighting death.

*

If I lose sight of The Sublime

I die inside, before my time.

So though imprisonment’s annoying,

Today I’ll choose to do some “joying”.

I’ll count the “no mores” with some regret,

Then cling like crazy to the “yet”!

*

No more — and yet…. . . . . .

I have loved and been loved.

I have sung and danced.

I have listened and been heard.

I have won and lost and learned from both.

*

I am hopeful in a new day.

I choose to look for joy in small things.

I fan the flames of faith to believe there is One Who cares for us.

I breathe out and in and feel the warmth of the blood that flows through me.

My heart still beats as evidence that life is anticipatory.

There are those whom I long to be with and those whom I hope to know better.

Wisdom and knowledge are waiting for me to discover them.

Goodness lives beyond place and time and Love is forever alive in the Universe.

This tiny taste, this small sound, this faint feeling, this sweet smell — 

are each and all worthy of my honored attention.

Taste and know that life is delicious.

And while I can still see anything, I can imagine everything.

*

Friend, hope is here for the taking. No matter how dark it may feel, take hope in your hands today and make something — even something very small — but make something beautiful to light your way.

© Jane Tawel 2021

Homily #3: Inside, Outside, Upside-Down

“Garden Mist” by noisen8r is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Homily #3: Inside, Outside, Upside-Down

By Jane Tawel

February 13, 2021

*

Reflection.

Introspection.

How does your garden grow?

Merrily, merrily or usually contrarily;

It is rarely in what one thinks one knows.

*

There is an inside swirling,

with thoughts and fears and broken bits galore;

and feelings unrestrained take the helm most times

and leave reason and worth cast ashore.

*

The outside waits and wanders

through labyrinths of time;

But whether future, past or now,

we very often find,

that outside does not translate in

unless we introspect

on whether demon or divine

our words and deeds reflect.

*

If we could wear our insides, out,

and see others’ outsides for what’s within;

we’d live as we were meant to live

in Harmonious Garden once again.

*

Oh, the world is right-side-up most days.

Yes, that is tragically true.

But if we’d live more upside-down,

 — You loving me — I loving you — 

We’d see reflected not Narcissus,

but souls that bear fruit most delicious.

The Tree of Evil and of Good

would make us into what we should

think and feel and do and be.

For Love turns all things topsy-turvy.

My insides out, your outsides in;

Eternal Life then re-begins.

©Jane Tawel 2021