Featured Poet: Adelle Leiblein, Nashua
Adelle Leiblein works as a poet, artist and teacher and in recent years does much of this work at her studio
in Nashua, New Hampshire, Writing/ARTS Studio Gallery. In addition to the classes and workshops offered
there, she teaches at the DeCordova Museum School, The Worcester Art Museum, and through private tutorials. While living in Colorado (2000), she received an Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry from the Colorado State Arts Council. Her writing has been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologized in collections in China, & the U.K. Adelle is a founding member of Every Other Thursday, one of the longest running poets' workshops in the U.S. and River Rising Poets in NH. She holds a Master's Degree from Boston University's Creative Writing Program and has held a residency at The Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. She lives with her husband in Nashua, NH where she is on the board of City Arts Nashua, a new non-profit, dedicated to promoting artists, the arts, and audience development in Southern New Hampshire.
Of her poem, Adelle writes:
Writing Calling to the Soul of My Unborn Child depicts a series of acts of self preservation. It voices my recognition that I'd taken on some almost ritualistic behaviors in trying to cope with my (our) inability to bring a child into the world. I think of the poem as an incantation or a spell, others have called this poem a prayer. My intention in writing the poem was much the same...it was a cry of the heart. When I say it was a recognition, I mean that the actions of the poem, the calling, the yearning, were actual, and the pulling it all together in a whole single iteration was what brought it into cohesion, into its highest form --- a poem --- at least into the highest form I could make. Ancient sages have said for millenia that our children pre-exist their birth, and that we must call them into this world. Another way of looking at it is the idea that we pick our parents. This can be a very scarey thought for anyone who's ever been in therapy! This poem looks at it from the would-be parents' perspective, hoping to articulate the most sincere desire to welcome a child. Faced with a problem a poet writes a poem. Can I get an AMEN, somebody?
Calling to the Soul of My Unborn Child
I began it when the reign of our flesh
failed to bring us a child,
after years of my body emptying itself
over and over, the way the sky goes colorless
after the biggest storm of the year, a huge blank eye,
after I had learned how the needle swings, the dark bowel gurgles,
how the body sings a litany of curious cravings.
I began it when all my female parts clamped down
in sweat, and pleasure, and joy,
and no child came of it.
I began it when I had searched the face of my husband
who was searching mine for some slight shadow,
some mild betrayal, for some vague, soft holding-back.
I began it after I'd been warned by the roundness of pain,
been stuck with bleeding that goes unstaunched.
I began it when I had no other choice.
I take a book down off a shelf, I put it back again.
Waking from sleep I half-hear a fragment of my husband's mumble
as he drops off, "...love you,"
confirming in two words more than I deserve.
I do it when I'm alone in our house and say,
"When my child is my age it will be nineteen hundred and ..."
knowing I must now rephrase.
I do it when I dream my lover a dowser,
and myself a silver strand just below the surface.
I do it when I wear black on black,
matching mode to mood, strong with power and resolve,
dark as the deepest soil, coal about to be diamond.
Once before lovemaking, I filled our room with lit candles,
laid out heaps of marigold petals and rice,
small plates of milk around the bed,
attar of roses on the pillows.
In the meantime, sweet husband asked,
"Would it help if I believed?" ----an offering
in the face of all this daunting, amalgamated hope.
I couldn't bear to say no or yes.
I will do it knowing as I do
that wanting one man is dangerous, wondering
if wanting more than one is inevitable,
knowing that I am not the old dry wife,
but a sweet plowed acre...
I will do it because I know the discrepancy
between what we want and what we have.
I will do it in a hundred different guises,
more because of hope than of habit.
I will do it until I'm talked-out, wordless,
'til my child will hear me and move through that scrim
between this world and elsewhere,
until conditions of the universe are harmonious
and the child will come in me, and slip into her skin,
come in nakedness, breathing, rosey, and whole,
come to share with us this life on earth.
For more information about Adelle Leiblein visit:
Contact Adelle Leiblein at [email protected]