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A Cry Like a Bell

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  240 ratings  ·  20 reviews
In this collection of poems of human struggle and God's grace, Madeleine L'Engle speaks across the centuries through the voices of biblical figures, like Rachel, Isaac, Mary, and Andrew.

Every one of us will find at least one character with whom we can identify--their dilemmas and struggles, moments of joy, and heart longings. Their dramatic songs echo in our minds and tou
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Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 7th 2000 by Shaw Books (first published 1987)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Ian Caveny
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, theology
Lest a two-star rating come across as judgmental, I feel the need to clarify really quickly that I deeply admire Madeleine L'Engle's writing, theology, and faith. From A Wrinkle in Time to A Wind in the Door, her supernatural-mystical fiction is more than inspiring; it is sacramental! And L'Engle in every way deserves as much a place on the pedestal of 20th-21st century Christian novelists as such luminaries as C.S. Lewis, Flannery O'Connor, J.R.R. Tolkien, Graham Greene, et al.

It's just that he
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Annalise Nakoneczny
May 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
I really wanted to like this. Like, so badly. It's Madeleine L'Engle writing poetry about biblical characters. But I was pretty disappointed overall. The OT poems were very cool, but they started to get weird. There was one poem in particular about Mary getting pregnant with Jesus that felt very sexual and I was not about it at all. Also, overall these poems bored me. They weren't very pleasant to read out loud (which is a STAPLE of poetry), the writing was simplistic and not very artful, and it ...more
Kathryn
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I didn't always find that her poetry "sang" - though there were a few moments of real delight. But I loved the way she dug deep into the experience of the men and women who so often remain flat on the pages of Scripture. The book was well worth reading for that depth. A few poems that I very much enjoyed just for their lyrical beauty:

Temper my intemperance, O Lord,
O hallowed, O adored,
my heart's creator, mighty, wild,
temper thy untempered child.
Blaze my eye and blast my ear,
let me never fear to
...more
RuthAnn
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a slim volume, but there is so much packed into these poems. Through the pieces, Madeleine inhabits a character from the Bible, speculating about their motivation or reactions, and all the while illuminating aspects of God's character. It echoed her other meditations on faith (like Walking on Water or Penguins and Golden Calves), but reading it in verse was different, somehow. It hits a different part of my brain. I kept re-reading sections and trying to find a tune to set to the poems. Ult ...more
Melody Cook
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An exquisite collection. Read it with a Bible next to you.
J Name
Feb 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, religion
3.5 Stars. Uneven book of Christian poetry. Some of them were great and some of them were alright.
Charlotte
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Will come back to this one often.
Joshua
Sep 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
The poems in this collection do a great job of capturing characters from the Bible and presenting their faith in more than a one-dimensional way. Faith in God in these characters' experiences is not isolated from their fear, disappointment, sin, hope, and love. I'm not a great student of poetry, so I didn't really get all of the poems stylistically (rhyme and meter) and all, but this is a good collection of poems.
N.T. McQueen
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Not one for poetry but these empathetic meditations from integral Biblical figures (even Baalom's donkey) are poignant and add a level of humanity often missing in the original Biblical texts. These figures doubts, fears and fragility are illustrated in each poem. One of the wise men says in L'Engle's poem: "I will never look at the stars the same way" and I can say I can never look at Biblical characters the same as well.
Sarah
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
I almost didn't buy this, but I changed my mind. I never spent much time imagining the lives of biblical characters outside of the bible, but this gave me fresh eyes. The poems from Mary's point of view were done if the best, a mother in all it's humanity/humility. I also really liked Isaac and Abraham.
Miss Clark
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cara
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Such moving and imaginative poems, mostly from the perspective of Biblical characters from the Old to the New Testament and into the early Church. It left me with some things to think about, a different perspective, and the desire to read it again at some point.
estar*
Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Flashes of brilliance and I like the idea of writing poems off characters in the Bible. The Bible can seem so commonly familiar and good poetry- good art- breaks thru that condescending familiarity into thoughtful wonder. That's what Madeleine does for me.
Sophronia Barone
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books, 2016
Madeleine L'Engle is my all time favorite, and to be completely honest, being so familiar with her other works made me expect a lot more. But if you're coming at this with a blank slate these poems are really great.
Dwlejcg
Nov 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Some really good poems in here, especially towards the beginning.
Sarah
Sep 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Another of my favorite poets/books. L'Engle writes moving and beautiful poetry. I enjoyed this book so much, I have given as gifts to some of my favorite people on the planet.
Jaret
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and imaginative poetry. Well worth the read.
Camilla Sofia
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
L'Engle is a lyric genius.
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Madeleine L'Engle was an American writer best known for her young adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters. Her works reflect her strong interest in modern science: tesseracts, for example, are featured prominently in A Wrinkle in Time, mitochondrial DNA in A Wind in the Door, organ regener ...more

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