about the author

Judy Bebelaar is a retired San Francisco public high school teacher of English and creative writing. Her work has been published in The Cape Rock, The Chaffin Journal, Front Range Review, Grasslimb, The Griffin, The Louisville Review, Many Mountains Moving, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Old Red Kimono, Pearl, Poem, Quercus Review, Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine, RiverSedge, Rudolf’s Diner online magazine, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Ship of Fools, Sierra Nevada Review, Slant, Soundings East, Transfer 43, Westview, Willard & Maple, and the California Poets in the Schools anthologies True Wonders and Remembering What Happened. She is the co-host of a reading series featuring Bay Area Writing Project teachers in Berkeley, California, and is currently at work on a book about experiences at an alternative school. She tied for first place and won two honorable mentions (of four) in the 2006 Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council Poetry Prose and Art Festival in California, judged by Lynne Knight. Recently she was a finalist in Flyway’s Writing the Wild chapbook contest and won an honorable mention in the San Francisco American Pen Women’s Soul-making contest.

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Judy Bebelaar

this gray day, weather’s bardo
the Tibetan Buddhist term for the time between,
the waiting between death and the next life
the neither here nor there like this sky
rain-burdened air
diluted sun

I heard a Rinpoche say
all of human life is bardo
from birth to dying
he said he was not an enlightened teacher
he could not tell what comes after death
but that he knows we must throw laziness aside
that each moment he searches for a brightness, a deepness

the doctor’s forecast for my friend Irene
six months of bardo
she’s in Hawaii, a house on stilts by the sea
but tomorrow she’ll be in bardo at home
filling time, passing time, trying to make time count
chipping away at letting go
my heart fills with that quiet struggle
and in the back of my mind a tiny voice says
miracle, miracle

the hummingbird outside the window
is in a jeweled whir of bardo
hovering between hunger and jasmine nectar
migrating birds are in a nearly constant bardo
broken by days of clouds reflected in water
at one end of their trip to and from
and the smaller more frantic limbo
at the spring destination
between seeking twigs and grass
and growing nest,
then between nest and food, food and nest
but perhaps birds are enlightened souls
who live only in now

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