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The New Burden: The Crunch of Awareness, the tenth and final poem in Linda Chown’s William Blake Series

Christian reading in his book, one of 28 illustrations Blake did to accompany Bunyon’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress” courtesy of Interesting Literature / Public Domain

“I think; therefore, I am.” René Descartes



Whence it so happened that Descartes left tracks in
John Bunyan who impressed his mind on the way
to William Blake, decent soul that he was. Long ago
we were said to have souls, that mysterious interior
invisible, unknowable. And then things changed.
It was not God so much as that a new burden of knowing
came to be ours. This knowing no bloodless rule, no abstract thing.
Blake no Age of Reason pontificator: “To Generalize is to be an Idiot;
To Particularize is the Alone Distinction of Merit,” Blake wrote.
And here in this, he particularizes, oh how he particularizes.
Christian physically bound in his reading.
Blake kindles hot the near insanity of the meeting,
As his very soul looks right into the physical.

Christian hunched over, hovering, wild eyed.
A look nearly of terror and unearthly joy woven into
the silent shouting shock of reading alone like this.
That bunch of heavy brown modern bears his back down.
Like a hunchback leering, Christian is peering,
Like a frozen loner where Christian has never gone before.
“It is so new,” he says “I am all alone.”
So alone he can’t sort himself out to see
how surrounded he is by dangerous sharp points behind.
Brown peaks assault him from afar, vulnerable as he all be.
This new man, making progress on this new journey of himself.

He is reading in his book. Reading like taking a deep plunge
into the visionary unknown Blake so admires:
“The man who never in his mind and thoughts travel’d to heaven is no artist.”
And the person who does not get hysterically lost doesn’t start to see.
Wounding, piercing brown ochre colors and open slopes
mark Christian in his place as new man trapped in himself.
Christian’s gasping face besieged by what Dr. Johnson,
early psychologist, once called “the invisible riot of the mind.”
Christian knows too much to voice any of it.
He is all lit up with himself and it. So hauntingly, quintessentially alive,
with a new thing, himself and words to see,
that we would offer him a smoke to ease the strain of his face, if we could,
alleviate his face and quiet his burden with a shared smile.

© 2019, Linda Chown

The other poems in Linda’s Blake-poem series:

  1. Refections into William Blake’s “Brutus and Caesar’s Ghost,” Linda Chown
  2. Cohering Clashes: Wiliam Blake’s “The Red Dragon and The Woman Clothed in the Sun,” Linda Chown
  3. This New Ending of the Beginning: William Blake’s “The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve,” Linda Chown
  4. Looking Up High: “The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies, and The Suicides,”Linda Chown
  5. Double Trouble: Lamech and His Two Wives, Linda Chown
  6. The Sun in His Wrath, Linda Chown
  7. Touching Without Holding, Linda Chown
  8. The Sun Has Left His Blackness, Linda Chown
  9. Going forth to faire free, Linda Chown

I am delighted to let you know that Linda Chown’s Narrative Authority and Homeostasis in the Novels of Doris Lessing and Carmen Martín Gaite (Routledge Library Editions: Modern Fiction) is now available through Amazon in hardcover and Kindle. Linda tells me a budget-wise paperback edition will be available in six-to-eight months.

This study, originally published in 1990, assesses a shift in the presentation of self-consciousness in two pairs of novels by Doris Lessing and Carmen Martín Gaite: 1) Lessing’s The Summer Before the Dark(1973) and Martín Gaite’s Retahílas (1974) and 2) Lessing’s The Memoirs of a Survivor (1974) and Martín Gaite’s The Back Room (1978). Three major structural divisions facilitate examining implications of the novels for 1) feminism 2) literary narrative and 3) the lives of people-at-large. / J.D.

Linda’s Amazon Page is HERE.

Linda Chown

LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row.  BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite.


Jamie DedesAbout / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications: Five by Jamie Dedes on The World Literature Blog,  Jamie Dedes, Versifier of Truth, Womawords Literary Press, November 19, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

The BeZine, Vol. 6, Issue 4, December 2019, Life of the Spirit

“There is a LIGHT in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.” Richard Attenborough


I find it heartening that what preoccupies me at present is clearly reflected in most if not all the submissions for this issue, which are filled with the kind of spirit that has no physical form, cannot be measured, cannot be physically embodied and, perhaps most important of all, cannot be contained or imprisoned. Human history provides us with a litany of evidence of how the spirit of the most oppressed, the most downtrodden and enslaved, even those groups of people, whom others have tried to exterminate in the most awful expressions of human behaviour, genocide, cannot and will never be vanquished.

We are surrounded by evidence of the power of the human spirit even in these times when, all around us, the leaders of the World seem to be pulling us into dark and uncertain places and there seems to be no clarity, no escape from the fire and smoke that chokes us. It is difficult to see past the debt we are creating.

The collective works of our contributors in this edition of The BeZine represent a response to Hope and Light. They seem to have taken in the many facets of the human spirit as a universal word that could be slotted into every sentence ever written. Along with compassion, “spirit” makes  a worthwhile contribution to human life, to humane life. The Life of the Spirit is truly embodied in this issue of the Zine.

We now hear the voices of those writers and poets who have embraced December’s theme in many diverse ways. I thank them all, especially those who have found their submissions published here for the first time, but also thanks to those who are returning and consistently help to make this publication special.

John Anstie
Associate Editor

Much thanks to John Anstie for the intro to this quarter’s Zine. We keep the intro’s short, which may make it seem an easy assignment. It’s not.  All of the work must be read in order to ensure that the through-line is evident and the intro consistent with the spirit of the contributions. That’s quite a bit of reading and analysis, though entirely pleasurable.

Thanks to Michael Dickel for putting together the Memoriam for Reuben Woolley who died earlier this month and to whom this issue is dedicated.

This edition of The BeZine is our most heterogeneous in terms of literary forms and national, racial, and religious diversity. We have perhaps finally arrived at the fulfillment of the original vision. We couldn’t have done it without you, our contributors, readers, and stalwart supporters for whom we have so much appreciation. And with this we close an eventful year with our gratitude and best wishes. We hope we’ve contributed some modicum of hope and healing.

In the spirit of love (respect) and community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
Jamie Dedes
Founding and Managing Editor

Table of Contents



This issue of The BeZine is dedicated to Reuben Woolley, “I am not a silent poet”

In Memoriam – Reuben Woolley, Part 1
In Memoriam – Reuben Woolley, Part 2



COMPASSION

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

For Victims of Natural Catastrophes, Elvis Alves
Life Is Divine, Nancy Ndeke
Health Is Health, But Love Is Love, Nancy Ndeke
A Christmas Connection, Corina Ravenscraft
The Damnedest Places, Melina Rudman
Progress, Mantz Yorke

RETURNING

“You were born a child of light’s wonderful secret— you return to the beauty you have always been.” Aberjhani, Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black

The Enchained Spirit, Anjum Wassim Dar
The Valley of Death, Anjum Wassim Dar
Realigned perspective(s), Michael Dickel
My Valley of the Shadow of Death, Jamie Dedes
Paradise, John Hurd
A Shower of Roses, Sheila Jacob
stillborn, Antonia Alexandra Kilmenko
What We Gather, Antonia Alexandra Kilmenko
Two Poems, Rae Rozman

VISIONS & REFLECTIONS

“An awake heart is like a sky that pours light.” Hafiz

Hallmark of Success, John Anstie
Healer, Sheikha A.
ToSayThinking, Linda Chown
An Epitaph, William Conelly
Cosmic Consciousness, James R. Cowles
Paradoxical Time, Jamie Dedes
It Was Love Kept Me Anchored, Jamie Dedes
Unicorns, Michael Dickel
Who Scribbled Chaos, Michael Dickel
The Flood, Michael Dickel
Three Poems on a Life of the Spirit, Michael Dickel
Hope Spoke, Oz Forestor
The Believer, Antonia Alexandra Kilmenko
From One-Hundred Lost Letters, Sarah Law
Merge, Urmila Mahajan
winter rain in my muse-like homeland, Pawel Markewicz
Grey Dawn in Chaco Canyon, Nancy L. Meyer
Undersides, Nancy L. Meyers
Three Poems, P.C. Moorehead
Numinous, Eric Nicholson
One Hundred and Eighty Degrees, Antoni Ooto
Simply a Song, Stephan Tanham

POETRY AS MASS INSTRUCTION

“We can’t afford to have our nations sinking into dungeons of banditry cabals and corruption cartels. We are indebted to use this official language of resistance, poetry. Even under all these depressing challenges of imprisonment, exile and intimidation, poets remain the people’s commissars and their poems are weapons of mass instruction.” Mbizo Chirasha, Zimbabwean Poet in Exhile

Pastoral – Sublime, Michael Dickel
just sayin’, Antonia Alexandra Kilmenko
I Pegasus, Myra Schneider
Four Poems, John Sullivan

Poem-Scripts

Lady Striga & aka “Doc Benway” Do Spirit-Memory Magic & the Object-Monster, John Sullivan
On His Way to Damascus aka “Doc Benway” Hits a Big (br(i)ck Wall, John Sullivan

STORIES

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

A Nun in Training, Bear Gebhardt
The Waste of It All, Sunayna Pal


The BeZine: Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be  

Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

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SUBMISSIONS:

Read Info/Missions StatementSubmission Guidelines, and at least one issue before you submit. Updates on Calls for Submissions and other activities are posted on the Zine blog and The Poet by Day.

The December issue of “The BeZine” will publish later today …

“The BeZine” will be published today as scheduled, but probably rather late in the day. We’ve been running a bit behind, but what a delight in a world gone mad to encounter all the wisdom and compassion in the hearts of our contributors. I get to spend the day with these beautiful souls.

“There is a LIGHT in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometime lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.” Richard Attenborough

Jamie Dedes
The BeZine
Managing and Founding Editor


Poetry Rocks the World!

Jamie DedesAbout / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic express, and human rights.

Link HERE for Free Human Rights eCourse designed and delivered by United For Human Rights, Making Human Rights a Fact


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Zimbabwe Artists for Human Rights, Freedom of Expression, and Civil Dialogue: Poetry, Song, Dance,Theatre

Tafadzwa Muzondo curates  the Inaugural Zimbabwe Human Rights Festival. It was held December 10 –  13.

Thanks to our rich connection with Zimbabwean poet in exile, Mbizo Chirasha, I have the pleasure and privilege of expanding The Poet by Day to include African artists, to feature their efforts in support of human rights and just governance. More to come in 2020 from poets and other artists all over Africa. I hope readers will enjoy the lyrical difference in English, the passionate action, and the creativity demonstrated. The Poet by Day jamiededes.com and The BeZine support crossing borders and honoring shared humanity. One world. One race: the human race. / J.D.



Machipisa in Highfeilds is a paradoxical African high density suburb in Zimbabwe. It gave birth to the both iconic song maestros and political heavyweights inclusive of the late George Nyandoro, Enos Nkala.  Robert Mugabe the late nationalist and former long serving president of Zimbabwe resided in Highfeilds before his long trip to Mozambican jungles to preside over the liberation struggle in the 70s . Highfeilds shaped the life and creativity of the late Dendera Superstar Simon Chopper Chimbetu, father the current Dendera crooner Sulumani Chopper Chimbetu. while the Oliver Tuku Samanyanga, the iconic Ketekwe maestro had most of his musical walk to stardom inside Highfeilds .

Theatre against violence showcase at HIFA

Like an other creatively fervent generation, to revive the legendary traits of Highfeild Tafadzwa Muzondo of the Edzau Isu fame, an independent theatre guru and human rights defender have artistically turned an old disused bridge into a popular, edutainment and infortainment theatre, arts and poetry venue. The artists and human rights defenders are using these venue as a space for artistic exhibition, freedom of expression through arts as they continue to promote civil dialogue through theatre arts production. Theatre PaBridge  (pa Machipisa) has become a common artistic oasis or Theatre Arts hub for both young and established artists in Zimbabwe and abroad .

If hate is the only beverage in the bar,
I’m holding on to my thirst,
suppress the crave for the meanwhile
reciting lines and verses that question our sanity,
rhythms and rhymes that expose us to our stupidity.
Assuming we still have the conscience
I want to see them meet the hatred in the streets…
i want them to know how we so much yearn for peace

– Edward Dzonze

Tafadzwa Muzondo and patterns at the launch of the Theatre PaBridge

To mark the International Human Rights Week Tafadzwa Muzondo, Edzai Isu Theatre Arts and Action Hub curated and hosted the inaugural Zimbabwe Human Rights Festival (ZHRF) at Theatre PaBridge from the 10th to 13th December 2019 . The artists spoke human rights through poetry, expressed freedom through dance, sung songs against political tolerance through Katekwe violins and used stand-up theatre to stop corruption, political abuse and injustice in high offices.  The Zimbabwe Human Rights Festival was an entertaining, engaging and empowering platform, which took stock of the human rights situation at local, national and international levels. It was a profound artistic initiative meant to mainstream human rights in an innovative way by rallying together rights holders and solution holders.

The late Zimbabwean musical icon, Oliver Tuku Mutukudzi

ZHRF featured theatre, music, dance and poetry performances on human rights as well as post performance discussions and exhibitions by relevant civic society organizations and responses by invited solution holders. Major highlights of the performances, discussions and representations will be streamed live on our social media platforms as well as other partner platforms.

The theme of the inaugural festival is “AFTER”, which is an abbreviation for Arts Fostering Total Enforcement of Rights also meaning AFTER all the bickering, sloganeering and propagandizing, citizens need their rights to be respected not trampled on.

It is encouraging that the Zimbabwean government has established the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, a Constitutional Commission to promote awareness, protection, development and attainment of human rights and freedoms in Zimbabwe. As a transformative arts organization, EDZAI ISU Trust conceived a creative and innovative initiative in the name of ZHRF to commemorate Human Rights Day and contribute to the need to respect human rights in our dear country.



The universal declaration of human rights 10 December 1948 / courtesy of the United Nations Department of Public Information / Public Domain

Besides the Zimbabwean constitution being clear on human rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified by Zimbabwe, recognizes the inherent dignity of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. It includes civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights, like the right to social security, health and education.



Tafadzwa Muzondo is the organizer.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Festival, the brainchild of award winning transformative artist and social activist Tafadzwa Muzondo, is a rallying point in the mission to improve accountable, democratic governance that serves an engaged citizenry. Respect for human rights is at the core of social and economic development as without citizens enjoying and authorities respecting human rights, we cannot talk of any meaningful people centered development.

Aluta Continua!


Jamie DedesAbout / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications: Five by Jamie Dedes on The World Literature Blog,  Jamie Dedes, Versifier of Truth, Womawords Literary Press, November 19, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton