The Muse

(An International Journal of Poetry)

ISSN 2249 –2178


Volume-2                                                       JUNE -2012                                                    Number-1


Book review of Al Beck’s A Bee bite

                                                                                                                            By Pradeep Chaswal


Selecting Prepared Signs of Pith and Vinegar

Al Beck

Willowbrook Illinois Press 2012

ISBN: 978-0-578-10533-8

176 pages, price- $ 21.00


A Bee Bite is book no. 20 by popular poet, academician, curriculum developer, professional American Folksinger and Korean War veteran Al Beck, who resides in Monroe City, MO. The Book covers a wide range of topics like education, life, philosophy, fancy, imagination, humour etc. The book starts in a philosophic tone:

Being elderly and

Staying alive is

Like a wingless bee

In a worn -out hive. (REFLECTION’S INSPECTION, P.8)

Al is deeply concerned about the present situation of education. He says:

“I continue to challenge

Proposed assumptions

Of edu-consumptions” (KIND-A-POETIC-COMMENTRY, P.12)

He presents a beautiful idea:

“We need to air –out our

Brain-house by opening

Up an intellectual window”  (KIND-A-POETIC-COMMENTRY, P.12)

Al presents a chart of positive and negative attitude which helps the readers to avoid common mistakes in decision making process. The poems also presents an emotional and rational study of human mind and human existence. POLICY FOR SPACE, FACE AND PACE deals with psychic and spiritual face of personality.  Al thinks that life is meaningless if it has no creative side. He gives a piece of his mind:

Find for mind’s junction

Creative with practical

Will give life function (TRI HAIKU, p.20)

Al gives a genius view about the all round development of a student’s personality:

Student life is best

When it is not to be stressed

By a must do-test. (TRI HAIKU, p.21)

The poet is a preacher of optimism. He is not down even in the worst time or conditions. He says with a smile:

…., for me, winning is

Actually an extra inning. (BLENDING FORCE WITH DISCOURAGE, P.23)

The poet is not unaffected by the social changes and present social environment. He says:

This world is unkind

Dark thinking has left behind

The rational mind   (PHIL-DARK-OSOPHY, P.33)

Poems like FIRE, Sad circumstances, INSIGHT, LOVE are beautifully composed. DEPENDABILITY….song lyrics, INTELLIGENCE, song lyrics are poems with music.


Al lives in the lap of nature. His love for nature is widely displayed in his poems.  LIFE IN ROCKY HOLLOWS tells about life in woods:

Living in deep woods is,

Yes, a monastic challenge. (p.88)

This is a life which enables the poet to leave “metro- madness far behind”.

Al is not only a poet but also a painter-a painter of images. He presents a beautiful word picture of nature in his poem AUTUMN MOMENTS:

“Early morning sun

lights up October’s glowing

orange-yellow leaves.”(p.99)

when human beings are becoming power drunk and headstrong Al is still reminded of the supreme power, The Almighty God. The poem Thanksgiving Prayer is unparallel work of art in artistic humbleness and human existence.

       With almost each poem there is a beautiful drawing. The book no. 20 is a gift to readers by Al. The book is unique not because of its subject matter but because of pictorial language used by Al. After reading the book one feels his/her mind at comfort because this work provides a calmness and aesthetic pleasure to mind.