Posts Tagged ‘Jane Rice’

The Truth About the World

May 4, 2011 1 comment

by Jane Rice

Mouth-image of the unborn
unwinds the ball
of wrappings

how old this hankering
this wanting to believe

plural for sky

of silence
in silence

flurry of conjecture

life passing
at the pace
of generations

what lies beneath
carrier of secrets
gazes inward
upon the mask

for now
darkness floats
carried away with itself

on a chain of logic
on the past paid in moons

newborn eyes will widen
newborn lips
trust me

form will grow


to distraction

boundless wave
lost at sea

tranquil mountain
ages the story
of beginning

day waits days
to become.


Silence with a thousand ears

specializes in purple
teats full of milk

the wind goes on singing

outside the houses
it rains and rains

clarity hides
on the shore
of the sky

despite everything
day ripens

you have my word

dream appears
sunrise full of noises.


Looking looks back
recognizes the world

so hungry to learn

work of hope
rewarded with joy

sad music may never stop
but dawn lightens

exhausted gray

just rest
the way the wind
settles without its voice

invisible moon still the moon.


Jane Rice provided this Writer’s statement: “To a certain extent, all poetry attempts to translate the inexpressible. I try to make visible, ascribe meaning and devote myself to the challenge of learning what we can about ourselves.”

Categories: Translation Tags:

Niggun for the Hand-Drum

December 7, 2010 Comments off

by Jane Rice

Taste of soil
sings in the throat

solo clarinet

chin lifts
to listen

this, then
on the alphabet
of sound
on the nature of questions

keep and remember
this tree
this meeting place

is now
no other

to our land

angel, clearly an angel
greeted with kisses

light in danger
of darkening

earlier with people
finishes dusk

intricacies breathe
flaxen cloth

empty street
on every word

to learn
what fails
what balances

hour that listens

sun and moon

how golden the sky

field of barley
ripe for the scythe

counting memory
wakes lunar dream

crowd is river
blue discussions

only the angel is barefoot
arm passes under the wing

and forward loosens
my hair

living water

a second so fast
the world turns

shadow upon shadow

so that little lanterns
of tambourine
fan and multiply.


Note: Niggun in Hebrew means humming tune. It is a short, wordless melody sung in a group to invoke a prayerful state of mind. The tune is often repetitive and improvised.

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Jane Rice lives in San Francisco and pursues her interests in poetry, art and art history. Please visit Propolis Press for information about her letterpress chapbook entitled Portrait Sitters.

Categories: The Crowd Tags:

Go My Uncle and Fetch the Bride

September 18, 2009 6 comments

by Jane Rice


Under the road
a floor

black heat kidnaps the sun

and the desert planes land, land, land

soldiers float dreams
in shallow-
dug holes

as if they need
only width of shoulders
length: with boots

as if they scoop
fading light
to keep it

world of stories below
spring from the sea


Who remembers
the tree
the garden

words make faces
lies in wait

side street
of trembling

arms itself
with branches

stream trickles
no wider
than a wrist


hand’s gray face
nostrils on fire

eyes echo

each voice
of a candle
sings to the tree


Little thing
like distance

soldiering a nest
of stones

smoke fans gray
and gray
fans smoke

fluke of breath

sky of crushed
tilts wandering

the word earth
limited to land

to flight

charcoal tree
against the mountain

as are pronouns for those
not in the room

one plus one equals and
not interchangeable

ears weep
even if eyes

dust of nameless inks
remember the tree all green


Note: A 16th century poem, know as L’Chah Dodi, is sung at Friday night services to welcome the sabbath bride. There are many variations on the tune and numerous translations. The literal translation of the first line is Go my uncle towards bride. I heard it translated as Go my uncle and fetch the bride. I loved that translation much better than another version I had read: Beloved, come to meet the bride (or) Let’s go, my friend, towards the bride. This summer I was studying prayer-book Hebrew as part of my process of converting to Judaism. We were studying possessives, hence an explanation of “my” uncle.

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Jane Rice lives in San Francisco and pursues her interests in poetry, art and art history. Please visit Propolis Press for information about her letterpress chapbook entitled Portrait Sitters.

Categories: Words of Power Tags:

Economy of the Untamable

June 19, 2009 5 comments


I know the road
hangs by a thread

swiftly moss, sudden trees

pieces of sound
come like fish when called

say rain, say spiral
eyes murmur
so it is

breath can’t be simple, can it
everydayness of afternoon

breath can’t find
can’t be simple, can it

roots on a slant
get used to loneliness

salt, hemispheres, glass
break into sky

taste extends
as avalanche
quiet network of hieroglyphs


Night seasons
I speak a streaming wind

thrash, throw myself at corners
far off, hidden, lurking

under this lid of cloth, this flap of lawn

how hard to say
only what’s inside

every step sinks
myriad bees

widen my mouth
do you hear me

awake at the bottom of the glass


Why do I
speak hard things

days consume
let the sea

why do I
almost dwell in silence
speak hard things

easy isn’t simple

without the sea
noise melts into hills


Any minute
is there then a world
night speck
what distracts me
is there then
a world
are these grains or dust
a world
how far can I fling
myself from sleep
how far
any minute
myself from sleep
effort coils
without face
without road
neither grain nor dust
any minute
a world


Underwater thickens sky

let me lie here
alphabetize myself

whatever you do, please, don’t come and go
whatever you do, please

thoughts ridge

what if part of me all of me
into matchbooks

underwater thickens
part of me all of me

can’t stay like this

here the absence
here the drums

by Jane Rice

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Categories: Economy Tags:
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