bees in the meadow

poems and stories from the in-between

Category: Uncategorized

the burning days

This is the season of burning illuminations: things brought to light.

Into the air, into consciousness.

Perfect strawberries, plump and sharp.

Stacks of books to be read. Things to be done.

Life in motion.

Vintage voices crackling.

Music of nostalgia, music of now.

Red lipstick.

Scrawling in notebooks, drifting in dreams,

and yet being present:

intensity of here.

The days are burning by.

The crackle of fire is warm,

and sparks bring inspiration.

Season of light,

And the days are burning,

Burning by.

 

 

 

booktalk: History of the Rain by Niall Williams

earlier this year, I read History of the Rain by Niall Williams. It whispered to me from the shelves of Barnes & Noble (a place I guiltily and frequently haunt), with its cover of dark sea-tones and its aesthetic of cozy introverted bliss.

obviously, I have fully embraced the practice of judging books by their covers, and I don’t apologize.

but this is all beside the point. it’s a wonderful book. I knew instantly it would be one of my favorites of the year. I think about it all the time, guys. all the time.

this is a slow, gentle narrative that deals with heavy, sometimes epic themes in a quiet, introverted way, so that it’s all extremely pleasurable to read, even when it’s heartbreaking. does this make sense? I don’t know. BELIEVE IT.

reading it was like falling into a world of cozy houses, rain-sodden hills, villages and attics, a great twisting river, and the scent of books.

this is a story about Ireland. a story about people. a story about sorrow and the feeling of never being good enough. a story about stories. a story about BOOKS. a story about the love in a family. a story of a young woman searching for her father and herself.

I cried. and I was so thrilled to be crying. I can’t remember the last time a book did this to me. praise the Lord.

for me, the most important thing in any novel, more than the plot, the characters, etc., is the writing. now, I want to make an important distinction here: there is a difference between “good writing” and writing that I enjoy. when I read novels for pleasure, I look for the latter. I don’t want to tell you that the writing was “good”, because there are so many kinds of good writing. I will say instead that this book was chock-full of the kind of writing I love.

I can’t even describe it. it’s narrated first-person, but it’s so lyrical and playful in the language. somehow it was both lyrical and simple. it was absolutely addictive, and the way the words were so beautifully strung together made the stories within the story so delightful to read. if this kind of writing seems appealing to you, you will adore this book.

so: if you’re into themes of Ireland, water, family and family history, sorrow met with humor, and if you are into books that celebrate stories, please go now and read History of the Rain.

I’ve since bought another book by Niall Williams, which I’m very excited to eventually read (in ten years, after I get through a few zillion of the endless armies of books I own), and I fear I shall be loyal to him forever now.

ah, the perils of books…

happy reading, friends~~

 

rae

 

 

Here you may find History of the Rain on Amazon.

GO GET IT.

 

 

between pages: current reads

hello, lovely people (she whispered timidly.)

I’m planning to do semi-regular (all ye scatter-brained nymphs out there, sympathize) Tiny Book Reviews in the upcoming months, but for now, just a little list and brief thoughts on what I’m currently reading, should any of the titles call your name.

~The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: lyrical, cozy-dark fantasy. yes, thank you.

~Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (I’ve read it once before, but now I’m reading it at night before I go to sleep. I have deluded myself that this will mean I’m sent off to slumber with dreams of the English countryside, but so far there is no evidence of such. alas.)

~Sense and Sensibility: Shooting Script: The Screenplay and Diaries by Emma Thompson: loved the book. obsessed with the 1995 film. Emma Thompson is a goddess. the diaries are a fascinating insight into the writing and film-making process. endearing, funny, and for those of us obsessed with British actors, full of glorious side-mentions of people like Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman (*YES*). (there is a particularly satisfying moment in which Alan Rickman encounters a cat. read the book to learn more.) this is also a nighttime read, and I’ve been neglecting P&P because all I want to do is curl up with this for days. YEARS. I’ll be done with it soon. determined to drag it out.

I’ve got several random non-fiction books on the go as well, which I’m dipping in and out of:

Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies by Deborah Halverson

The Art of Being a Woman by Veronique Vienne (God help me, I’ve put it down and NEED to pick it up again. it’s very good. I am ashamed.)

Bullfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bullfinch (monstrous Barnes & Noble Classics edition. deeply intimidating but lush and enticing as well. have accepted that this will be in my currently reading literally forever. yep.)

 

what are you currently reading? leave a comment, I’d love to know!

hope you’re all well,

~ rae

 

what keeps your heart awake?

 

I recently spent a luminous weekend with one of my very dearest friends. a soul-sister, travel buddy, fellow music enthusiast, lover of weird British men and pine trees. she’s rooted and strong, brave and true, and together we saw U2 at Soldier Field in Chicago, on a breezy summer evening, while the fireworks flashed over Lake Michigan.

there are things that make you feel alive. there are things that fill your chest with light, warm light spreading through you, like liquid gold, purifying the dust and debris of the everyday, reminding you with inescapable surety: THERE IS GOODNESS AND MAJESTY IN THIS WORLD. IT’S ALL THERE FOR YOU. TAKE IT. TAKE IT, AND BE GRATEFUL.

that night, we felt it. we cried. we screamed. we were wide awake. we believed in the kingdom come, when all the colors will bleed into one, bleed into one. in a world so full of weariness, terrible violence, and pain, we felt that One Love that binds us all together, reminding us that home is a place within. our hearts grew bigger. what a feeling.

it was hard to come down from that high. how to go back to the ordinary? the everyday? when all you want is those brilliant lights, those soul-stirring words, to carry you to heights beyond your obligations, your failures, your endless tasks that are yet undone?

you hold it. you take time to look at that doorway that has opened in your heart, and you leave it unlocked. it will let the air in. let the memories of that brilliant spirit you felt flood in at just the right moment, inspiring you anew, reminding you of the goodness, of the majesty.

the point is this: we have influence over our energetic landscape. we do not have to take our circumstances lying down. of course, there will be great highs and deep lows. but in the ordinary, in the everyday, we can make the choice to rise up into Love. that’s what eases pain. that’s what sheds light on our souls.

God has given us all the seeds of deep joy. I was shaken awake by light and sound, by words that swim to the bottom of my heart and touch what’s sleeping there. in the days that come, I’m going to ask myself these questions, every now and again…because it’s so easy just to sleep, and we all need a little help on the road….to get to that place where deep joy is waiting, where “adventure” isn’t just a word…

what sleeps in you?

what feels dead, disappointed, unmotivated, stale?

what actions would help to heal those feelings?

what fills your spirit with light and makes you want to dance, sing, shout for joy?

what keeps your heart awake?

 

There’s a song: an anthem, fierce with hope, called Bad. Before he began to sing it, Bono said to the thousands:

“Whatever it is we don’t need…we let it go. Let it go.”

And we held up our hands, and we screamed with the music, and I swear you could feel the lightening of  thousands of hearts. A little bit of all our pain, fear, resentment, anger, floated up with song and faded into the summer night. There was a great feeling of celebration. Of freedom. We had been released.

Let’s ask the hard questions. Let’s look for liberation. Let’s release ourselves. Let’s stay awake together.

 

what lightens your heart?

 

what brings you back to Love?

 

what makes you free?

 

 

 

italicized lyrics taken from Bad, One Love and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2

from my journal

sometimes I journal. in little breaths, in small, stolen moments, misty-heart-whispers. today, there was this…

 

today I saw that Love is a balm. it is gentleness when anger wants to rise. patience when irritation reigns. it’s the lens of Truth. it’s the clouds parting to a clear heart. letting Love come forth, letting it lead, is a sweet releasing of tension. a lessening of pain. 

how can I make Love present in more of what I do? when I’m looking in the mirror. when I’m facing a task. when I make a mistake. when someone else does. when the world wearies me. when I’m all topsy-turvy, crooked and cynical. when the view is gray. when there is overwhelm. when I feel hungry. lonely. tired. in the flow. out of flow. when I can’t find God (oh, but G o d   i s  L o v e). used up. spent. energized and brimming. when there is too much. when all I can think is “not enough”. how can I stop, let my heart open, gently now, just a crack?

Love: this is how we let the Light in. 

this is how we see the lessons, the treasure in the now. 

this is how we see the gifts. 

they were there all along, but Love is the light that illuminates. 

Love is awakening. 

poison

you wouldn’t say these things

if you knew.

if you could feel the ripping of my heart,

the breaking of its tender places,

you’d be still at last.

you would not cut me with your eyes

sink me to size

if you felt one pin-prick of my pain.

if you knew, you’d let alone.

you’d dance into the night like a shadow

and sip your own poison

for a change.

the beloved

think of your beloved.

think of the ones who bring sweetness

to your life, who lay blessings

upon your table day

after day

after day.

would you spit these bitter words at them?

the words that run rampant in your head,

filling your mind with fury-fog,

breaking your heart?

would you say to a dear one

you are weak,

unwanted, unworthy?

or would you cradle the weight on their chest,

maybe try to lift

some of it away?

would you, with a gentle word,

remind them of their beauty,

their purpose,

the miracles that brought them here?

think of your beloved.

now turn the mirror

to you.

risen

she went up the hill in the morning

boots sinking easily

through the earth,

pale, freckled hands

deep in pockets.

hat on crooked,

cool wind flowing in her hair,

the chorus of wildflowers

in her veins

filling her up, up,

up the hill and to the top and looking out

at life, at death and darkness,

and she above it all,

and there was a warm light within her

shining in her eyes,

spilling out with singing.

growing up

she dipped her finger

into the well.

red returned to her,

red on her white dress,

red in her watery reflection,

a poppy blooming

in the dark.

the white flowers

in the deep part of

a distant forest

more dark than light

more fickle than friend,

there is a clearing

of deep green

where the whitest flowers bloom,

their fragrance like a drug

their radiance

 like something holy.

you stumble upon them

and are stunned.

from their midst

comes Death,

in her crown of black.

then you know

why your feet lead you

to this ancient place.

in a sudden rush of understanding

you realize it was She who brought you,

She who will come softly now

to crown you with the white flowers,

(so heady, delicious)

to take you to the Otherworld.