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

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

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.

Guidelines and Inspiration for Submissions to the December issue of “The BeZine,” by John Anstie

Editor’s Note:  The deadline for submissions to the December issue is November 15.  Forward submission to bardogroup@gmail.com.  Submissions via comments or Facebook will not be considered.  Details HERE. / J.D.


“How do you perceive that word, spirit? How do you measure it? What sort of entity is it? What value is it to living things? What value is it to human beings, who are perhaps most responsible for its consequences? The answers appear to be as numerous as its definitions …

Spirit – noun
1. the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.
2. the incorporeal part of humans: present in spirit though absent in body.
3. the soul regarded as separating from the body at death.
4. conscious, incorporeal being, as opposed to matter: the world of spirit.
5. a supernatural, incorporeal being, especially one inhabiting a place, object, etc., or having a particular character: evil spirits.
6. a fairy, sprite, or elf.
7. an angel or demon.
8. an attitude or principle that inspires, animates, or pervades thought, feeling, or action: the spirit of reform.
9. (initial capital letter) the divine influence as an agency working in the human heart.
10.a divine, inspiring, or animating being or influence. Num. 11:25; Is. 32:15.
11.(initial capital letter) the third person of the Trinity; Holy Spirit.
12.the soul or heart as the seat of feelings or sentiments, or as prompting to action: a man of broken spirit.
13.spirits, feelings or mood with regard to exaltation or depression: low spirits; good spirits.
14.excellent disposition or attitude in terms of vigor, courage, firmness of intent, etc.; mettle: That’s the spirit!
15.temper or disposition: meek in spirit.
16.an individual as characterized by a given attitude, disposition, character, action, etc.: A few brave spirits remained to face the danger.
17.the dominant tendency or character of anything: the spirit of the age.
18.vigorous sense of membership in a group: college spirit.
19.the general meaning or intent of a statement, document, etc. (opposed to letter ): the spirit of the law.
20.Chemistry. the essence or active principle of a substance as extracted in liquid form, especially by distillation.
21.Often, spirits. a strong distilled alcoholic liquor.
22.Chiefly British, alcohol.
23.Pharmacology. a solution in alcohol of an essential or volatile principle; essence.
24.any of certain subtle fluids formerly supposed to permeate the body.
25.the Spirit, God.

The spirit is incorporeal. It is not bound by mind, body, ‘fact’ and opinion. It is beyond simple definition. can it be beyond commercial value? I do hope so, and is it perhaps beyond measurement. For me, it is part of the individual human ‘heart’, the non-physical heart. It is that part of a human body that echos throughout our universe long after the body is dead and perhaps even long after life on Earth is extinguished.

It is called upon, like the artist’s muse, so often when the mind and body are under stress, under pressure that it cannot sustain for too long; when conflict and threat to livelihoods and even life itself, sharpens the mind. It can come into its own, when ego, pride and prejudice are dispensing their know desires for individual, selfish survival; when individuals begin to fear the loss of their survival and start thrashing about and fighting for their gene pool; when the search for truth is no longer possible by simple logic, ‘reasoning’, science, well articulated, but biased speeches … this is when we have our greatest need to resort to the spirit. Whether that spirit is your God, or an established religious faith and and its set of scriptures, prescriptions for the easement of stress and improvement of self, or whether it is music, poetry or the writings of great minds, or simply great visual art, it is, from my perspective, all very valid. Humans need a spiritual guide, wither it’s external or internal. Without this, the wayward spirit can lead us further from the truth. When our spirit is strong, we can conquer the World.

May we all be able to poem, paint and play until our hearts are healed, to help us further pursue the quest for truth, through the spirit.

P.S. You may like to consider the future of digital technology in art. Can you envisage A.I. (artificial intelligence) being as capable as the human spirit in the part it plays in its creative inspiration for art?

© 2019, John Anstie / Lead for the December 2019 “The BeZine,” Volume 6, Issue 4, themed “A Life of the Spirit”

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer, poet and musician –  a multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).

Recent publications are anthologies resulting from online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group (Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.