Mormon Poets / Poetries / Poetics

Posts Tagged: poet highlight

"

On the television, a preacher in a black suit
is talking about grace. His face quivers
just before the tears come, and he asks
that I awaken my faith. It is always this way,
at two o’clock on channel nine. Sometimes,
hours later, I imitate his piety
in front of the mirror

and sometimes I think of the homeless man
who crossed the street for my two dollars,
the skittish horses of his eyes
unbearably ashamed.

"

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FitP Poet Highlight 34/82: Sunni Brown Wilkinson, "Acrobats" (scroll down)

"Acrobats" explores rhetorics of grace. It contrasts the simple and scripted made-for-TV "piety"—an easily imitated and consumed brand commodified and encouraged by the (early morning? early afternoon?) televangelist—with the speaker’s own halting attempts to "awaken [her] faith" to something beyond play-acting, beyond miming the preacher "in front of the mirror." The pathos of her attempt—the depth of its influence on her, faltering as the attempt seems to be—is evident in the imagery she uses to describe "the homeless man" and her hesitant interaction with him: "the skittish horses of his eyes" as he "crossed the street for [her] two dollars," her holding "out the stiff bills" to him "as if she were holding him / at gunpoint," her "want[ing]" to analogize their exchange for him in the language and performance of metaphor. 

Such emotional texture as this investment in more poetic language offers stands out against the matter-of-fact narrative the poet gives in the beginning of the preacher’s well-practiced piety. And this texture not only deepens what seems a simple poem, but it points to a more complicated, more human engagement with grace. Because it’s not as simple to understand and practice the principle of grace as merely putting on business attire (y’know, to garner others’ trust), talking a good game, and calling forth tears as you manipulate an audience into awakening a sensationalized, commodified faith. Rather it means making yourself vulnerable to others’ language, to others’ needs and then responding in kind—by sharing your own language and desires. It means performing with others the “high-rise routine” of human relation. It means stumbling and gaining experience and making that experience available to the world, all of which the poet does in and with “Acrobats.” After offering her money to the man, she withholds her language (see: “I wanted to tell him,” “I wanted to say”), something that might bridge the gap between them. In so doing, she stumbles and misses out on a potential unto-the-least-of-these relationship. But she then tries to fill this gap and expand her empathy, her human reach with this poem.

And in my mind such a narrative move is a greater indication of the storyteller’s character, a more powerful extension of grace, and a greater means of persuasion than any scripted, televangelized sermon ever could be.

Source: weberstudies.weber.edu

"

Musky as the cedar drawer
in Grandmas’ standing metal trunk,

a genie scent, improbable and
distant as the sound of hooves on sand

in some Arabian tale read by Father
in the hall between bedrooms to say goodnight.

Rose petals, five generations of fragile crinkles
once supple, fresh, pressed on at a precious time

into the four-inch cloisonné on pointed golden legs
fat as a Buddha tummy …

"

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(Mormon) Poet Highlight 4: Emma Lou Thayne, “The Rose Jar

Disturbing the dust on a bowl on rose leaves …

—T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton

In the opening section of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, “Burnt Norton,” the poet muses on the interconnections and “unredeemab[ility]” of time (line 5): “What might have been,” he says, “is an abstraction / Remaining a perpetual possibility / Only in the world of speculation” (6-8), the business of imagination and memory. He opens the door to this possibility when he hears

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind. (11-5)

The poet’s job, this implies, is to pursue the footfalls of memory into places we’ve never been. “But to what purpose,” he asks, does “[d]isturbing the dust on a[n imagined] bowl of rose-leaves” serve (16-7)? Why pursue these “echoes / [that i]nhabit the garden[?] Shall we [indeed] follow” them “through the […] gate” of meaning; “[i]nto our first world, shall we follow / The deception of the thrush?” (17-8, 20-2). And yet the voyage into and through deception, he suggests, is the end “which is always present” (48). So perhaps, though the past is ultimately “unredeemable,” we can redeem ourselves, our identities, as the poet’s efforts suggest, in the myriad possible passageways of and rhetorical passages written by memory.

Emma Lou Thayne takes this poetic cue in “The Rose Jar” wherein she quite literally (if we can take her at her word) disturbs the dust in her grandma’s jar of rose petals, stirring up the fragrance of rose and memory as she runs her fingers and her mind over the intricate surface of the “four inch cloisonne [jar] on pointed golden legs / fat as a Buddha tummy” (lines 9-10). Finding this jar in the “cedar drawer” of her “Grandma’s standing metal trunk” (1-2), she enters the intersection of several memories, some her own, some others’. The cedar musk reminds her of “some Arabian tale read by Father / in the hall between bedrooms to say goodnight” (5-6); the rose petals call forth “five generations of fragile crinkles” in lives “once supple, fresh,” but now only “fragile” memories (7-8); the jar itself inspires visions of “centuries of Chinese hav[ing] their way” in an intricate culture, their “careful hands […] pluck[ing] each [intricate] piece in place” (18-9); and the fragrance of it all, of this “holy mash,” becomes “tiny gusts / of history waft[ing]” community rituals—“the gatherings of births, graduations, / weddings, funerals, celebrations”—“into decades collecting / but never filling [the jar] to the top,” instead infusing the space of life, of memory with the “subtle, still surprising breath of God” (20-7).

And that, I think, is one reason we disturb the dust on our metaphorical bowls of rose-leaves: because doing so draws us together in bonds of imagination, kinship, and shared memory, such that, like Adam and Eve, we are infused with the breath of God and so become living souls, living communities.

And that, I think, is one thing poets and poetry are for.

Source: dialoguejournal.com

FitP Poet Highlight 33/82: Matthew James Babcock, “Moose Remembered (scroll down)

This poem features a moose, but it’s about memory: the redemption of past experience. “This was when,” the poet begins, speaking to his wife, I presume, about a Saturday morning earlier in their marriage when he, as a young husband and father trying to make good on those titles, had swaddled their “baby girl” as Mom slept and “carried [the infant] out on the driveway to watch a yearling / moose that had wandered into town from the Teton Basin.” He repeats the full opening phrase—”this was when”—twice more in the poem and with its fourth appearance he modifies it slightly, replacing the “when” with “everything.” In the first three instances, the phrase brushes against the past progressive, suggesting that the strange confluence of events narrated by the poet was happening when “this” poem, “this” memory, “this” attempt to make himself at one with his personal expectations, with his family and his community, and with nature were conceived.

In fact, I could argue that the particular experience narrated in the poem didn’t exist until the poet clothed it in breath (something foregrounded by the super-long lines) and language. In that light, this memory wasn’t until the poet said “this was.” And the experience gets reshaped—and thus re-deemed as an important moment (else why record it?)—each time the poem is repeated. Language, then, becomes the catalyzing event during which consciousness and lived experience form and reform memories. In other words, human memory seems to grow out of our awareness that we’ve experienced something worth remembering; and the moment we try to put that something to words is the moment we begin the process of trying to redeem it from the entropy of forgetting.

There also seems to be another attempt at redemption taking place in “Moose Remembered,” this one suggested in the fourth appearance of “This was.” “This was everything you missed,” the poet says, speaking again to his wife in what this time reads as an act of confession. A confession of regret, perhaps, for the delinquencies and other indiscretions that surrounded the family’s life-as-remembered in the poem: the rowdy neighbors kept under the watchful eye of law enforcement; the moose running through the neighborhood “like a big awkward kid,” a rabble-rousing teenager chased out of town by the same cop who frequented the neighbors’ domestic disturbances; the poet’s panicked “thinking” that he’d “killed [their] child with / good intentions,” even if this involuntary man-slaughter happened only in his head; the poet being able to give so “little” to his wife and their baby girl and his subsequent over-compensation for being so supposedly absent as a husband and father.

Once he confesses these “transgressions,” he seems to find some degree of reconciliation with this confluence of experiences and the people who played roles therein. The morning’s “monumental ruckus” dies down. The moose and the cop cruiser slip down the “alley” beside the movie theater, maybe to play different roles in other memories, to manifest as different desires, different mental policing strategies. Together, the disruptive family next door steps from their house to join the poet and his daughter in the near-“sanctuary” of the driveway, where they all enjoy the “quiet” of communion. And after expending his breath in the long, breath-unit lines of what I’m calling his confession, in the poem’s final half-line the poet can rest his lungs, his tongue, and his “witness” of the past because he’s fessed up (as it were) to his wife and to himself about the morning’s events. And apparently these reconciliations—the ones the poem seems to build up to from the beginning—have, by every indication, been “a long time” coming.

Source: terrain.org

"My next-door neighbor’s going to hell.
I know because his soul
has hung on his clothesline since 1982.
To me, it’s like a warning sign:
“Beware of Dog”
but slightly more dangerous because souls are involved."

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FitP Poet Highlight 32/82: Laura Nielson Baxter, “Take Care of Your Soul—It’s Flapping in the Breeze

"Take Care" is an exercise in absurdity. I mean, a neighbor airing his soul on a clothesline like recently washed laundry then leaving it to dry for a few decades? How absurd! But this premise hasn’t been pushed to absurdity just for absurdity’s sake. This is poetry, after all, the realm of metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, hyperbole—a place where language (itself a realm of metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche) is pushed to its limits. A place where one image, concept, or any part thereof stands in for another image, concept, or part thereof. A place where not everything should be taken at face value.

As in the realm of piety, where not every display of righteousness should be taken at face value. Consider the Pharisees, for instance, those make-sure-others-see-me-praying-on-the-street corner “saints” whom Christ chided with a striking simile: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (ref). In “Take Care,” the poet tweaks and updates this comparison, making it less macabre, more suburban Utah (the poet’s home and the setting of many of her poems), where overt displays of Mormon piety can border on the Pharasaic and are often rewarded in the Latter-day Saint social structure wherein the degree of one’s faith is often judged in acts of service performed, motivations and actual righteousness notwithstanding. I think, for example, of a former Church leader in my hometown who was so busy serving and gaining social status and praise in the Church and his local community that he sorely neglected his wife and kids to the point where his wife finally asked for a divorce. Or another well-loved leader who cheated on his wife with a married woman he was counseling. Or a father who sexually abused his step-daughter, all the while “honoring” his position in the church. Or apparently-devoted, marriage-covenant-honoring husbands whose late-night pornography addictions and untempered lust turn into covert flirtations—and beyond—with co-workers. 

While such uncleanness may be the exception and the extremity in a religion that preaches the sanctity of familial bonds and among a people who strive to practice and to embody that sanctity in their daily lives because, well, as we’re fond of repeating, “no other success can compensate for failure in the home,” such hypocrisies are also, to put it simply, dangerous. Laura observes the danger embodied in such acts of hypocrisy—and so moves to air Mormonism’s cultural laundry—when she says her neighbor’s “hung” “soul” is “like a warning sign: / ‘Beware of Dog’ / but slightly more dangerous because souls are involved.” And not just the “abandoned soul” of this “[v]icious,” “crafty and elusive man” whose sins we don’t know, save his hypocrisy, which, paradoxically with his piety, is couched in metaphor and on public display day after day, year after year, decade after decade. But also the souls of those who fail to see and are taken in by his pretension and lack of integrity. To see him as he is, then, is to see him “Un-souled,” as the poet sees him. And in the Mormon cosmology, which posits that the spirit and the body constitute the soul and that the soul is redeemed through Christ’s atonement, this suggests that the poet’s pious neighbor has denied himself the physical and spiritual redemption offered in mortality and beyond only in an abiding relationship with and through emulation of Christ. He is thus ultimately not at one with God, with his neighbors, with himself. 

Maybe, then, as the poem’s final stanza suggests, someone should remind him (and the culture that has enabled his hypocrisy) that he’s “forgotten” something—"the weightier matters of the law," perhaps: judgment, mercy, faith. And that in so doing he’s hung himself out to dry and that, by virtue of his denial of the atonement, he’s thus crucified Christ afresh. But who should do the reminding? Mormon culture’s poet-seers?

Or is my reading just a little too absurd?

FitP Poet Highlight 30/82: Elaine Wright Christensen, “Sermon On Manchac Swamp

Ah, “[t]he world is charged with the grandeur of God. / It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; / It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil / Crushed.” So Hopkins, for whom “nature is never spent.” For whom creation is a living fountain of ritual, language, rhythm, metaphor—a sensual spring over which the poet moves and “broods” like the “Holy Ghost,” spreading his words like his seed, anointing the tongue with lyric balm pressed from the fruits of observation and experience (ref). And so Elaine Christensen, for whom the lyric now—foregrounded in “Sermon” by the repeated heres—also consists of moving across waters “green” with life, spreading language like seed over nascent worlds, anointing the tongue, as the senses, with lyric balm pressed, of course, from the fruits of observation and experience.

At least that’s one way to read “Sermon”: in melodic counterpoint with “God’s Grandeur.” Indeed, both poems offer highly-textured, deeply-sensual meditations on the pro/creative moment, though each poet approaches that moment from a different angle:

Hopkins goes Grand, ruminating over the Divine Agency—represented in the figure of the Holy Ghost—who oversees and propagates the continual re-creation of a “bent world” “trod” and “trod” and “trod”—all-around taken advantage of—by humanity’s “generations”; a world “seared with trade,” scorched in the process of exchange between bodies, “smeared” and “smudge[d]” by their inter-relational “toil” and, like those bodies, “smell[ing]” of human sweat.

And Elaine goes local, focusing “here,” on a particular experience with particular flora and fauna in a particular geographical location—Manchac Swamp, Louisiana. She even reads the poem with local flavor, though not the Cajun-spiced palette you might expect from a poem come out of a Louisiana bayou; rather, her performance tastes very much like Wasatch Front Utah. Her tone is sincere and endearing, her inflection attitudinally positive, her facial expressions emphatic. She is no staid Modernist or metaphysical poet. She is, well, a bit Relief Society, a performance register that tends toward didacticism and sentimentality.

And this very Mormon register provides an interesting contrast to the deeply sensual imagery of Elaine’s poem, which is far from didactic and sentimental. The poem is ultimately erotic, after all, beginning with it’s post-pubescent setting: an aging swamp matted with “Spanish moss” “crisp and wiry” as, well, you know. This sets up a meditation on mature sexuality: “Here” where “lean[ing]” “cypress” yearn to maintain “roothold,” to remain erect, potent, vital. “Here” where bodies smolder in “wet” “heat,” where schools of fish “hang / just below the surface,” rising, perhaps, only on rare occasions. “Here” where the poet and her companion “listen” to maturity’s “sermon on / idleness,” on simply being with another body, basking in “how it smells” (a mark of physiological attraction), “how it smiles” (emotional attraction), and in the “immense satisfaction” of riding the soul’s vessel with another “happily into the shade” of mature sexuality.

Yes, indeed, the world—including the body—is charged, erotically and otherwise, with the grandeur of God. And that is a deeply religious, deeply spiritual, deeply poetic proposition.

Source: youtu.be

"I’m sorry that I killed your son
I did not know he was your son
I only knew he was my enemy"

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FitP Poet Highlight 29/82: Jonathon Penny, “Confession, after battle

At first glance, “Confession” seems a simplistic poem: the poet repeats the same structure for four, essentially five, stanzas, changing only a word per stanzaic turn. The structure is thus something of a template—

I’m sorry that I killed your ______
I did not know he was your ______
I only knew he was my enemy

—in which each blank is filled, respectively, with the words son, husband, father, brother. The rest of the language also seems simplistic, childish, perhaps, consisting of words many children learn—or could easily learn and use—early in their development.

But let’s not confuse simple with simplistic, because Jonathon’s poem is anything but simplistic. Sure, he essentially repeats the same stanza four, almost five times. But he does so with good reason: the speaker, obviously a soldier, is traumatized in the wake of a battle. The adrenaline has subsided. Perhaps he’s looking over a field of fallen soldiers, considering the gratuitous destruction of war. Perhaps he’s looked into the glassy eyes of his “enemy” and been struck by their humanness—he looks so different now than he did through the scope of my rifle. He puts the man in context, sees him as part of a family—as a son, a husband and a lover, as a father, a brother. He, perhaps, enters the other man’s life, recognizes himself in the Other.

And language fails him.

His thoughts become fragmentary, incomplete, as suggested by the lack of periods in the poem. The trauma of coming so suddenly and deeply into contact with an Other’s humanness has disrupted his system of meaning, except that which matters most—and paradoxically, the least, because what signs and symbols can replace a human life?—in the moment: the language of grief, which flows so deeply in the subterranean river of human emotion as to be, well, unspeakable.

So he prays. He confesses his grief to the soldier’s mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter. He recites a litany, a ritualistic, primal repetition meant to purge his sorrow, to bind him to the human community (as rituals are ultimately meant to do), to give him knowledge and meaning. Because in addition to grieving for the Other’s life, he’s also grieving over the annihilation of a system of meaning that taught him the Other was “my enemy,” that automatically placed the Other in opposition to the Self.

And that’s how the poet leaves the poem: with his final line—”I did not know he was not my enemy”—he exposes the devastating gaps (the naught, the emptiness) in the speaker’s former epistemology. With that, he leaves it to readers to complete the final stanza, which seems to have been left intentionally unfinished—it’s missing the third line (“I only knew he was my enemy”) or a variation thereon just as it’s missing the period. By so leaving the structure wide-open, he thus passes the torch to readers, offering no trite or easy conclusions, though I think a more filling and fulfilling epistemology is there, if only we look deeply enough to see.

"What is this soft array of leaves and light
But morning? The sky opens with the wind
That caps the upper branches like spume,
Whiteness over them sweeping mist that rises
From meadows. And now what is the array of light
As one looks down upon the city’s scape
Of buildings? The places where Joseph came
To find his Zion are in the spell of prophecy,
The sound of vision, and moments of his certainty."

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(Mormon) Poet Highlight 3: Clinton F. Larson, “The City of Joseph

While “The City of Joseph” is obviously meant as inspirational verse (especially considering its venue of publication), I don’t find it sentimental in anyway. In fact, the language and imagery and the way Larson binds them together in his poetic vision are quite striking, quite accomplished. In fact, I think seeing it as a tightly-crafted vision of a poet-seer is one way to make sense of the whole.

To begin with, it incorporates a sweeping sense of Mormon history (specifically) and natural history (in general), of human presence in the world and the West, of the Mormon movement from east to west as directed by the Morning and Evening Stars. It opens with what I read as an allusion to the First Vision, with Joseph and his influence on a chaotic world at the center, as represented by “light” and “whiteness” rippling outward from the “meadows” over “the places where Joseph came / To find his Zion” as moved by and “in the spell of prophecy,” beginning with the grove he knelt in that Spring morning, then moving to the city he planned and helped build, then to the Saints’ movement West, and finally to the valley where he knew they would establish themselves, could make their home and further influence the world “because,” as Margaret’s mother says, “we believe” in Joseph’s vision and words and in the “harvest” to come.

The idea that poetic seership is at work also arises in the repetition of “vision/s” (five times) and the repeated occurrence of “eyes,” “seen/saw,” and the passage of “time,” which, the poet confesses, “elides antiquity and the nearby years,” suppressing history in immediacy, something the poet strikes out to remedy by following Mormon history from “morning” to “evening” and by drawing together Earth’s glacial prehistory (ever-present in the “moraine[s]”) with a specific woman’s (archetypal) progeny, a group of “children” who stand “on a hill”—“a holy place”—and consider their ancestral path, an act that sounds very much like temple worship (”devotion”) to me.

In fact that may be another fruitful way to consider the poem: as an endowment-like ritual through which certain images and key-words are meant to bring us together as the family of God, meant to bind us together in “gray cirques of vision” that will eventually clarify in the Dawn of Christ’s return.

"

[T]he sun and the moon
set the world in a swoon
and clothed it in meadow and wood.

And with bashful glance
began to dance

… and called it good.

"

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FitP Poet Highlight 28/82: Danny Nelson, “Creation

Danny is a poet of considerable range and talent. He works deftly in poetic forms from light verse (as here, here, here, here, here, and here) to the free-verse dramatic monologue (here) to forms situated between (here, here, and here). “Creation” revises the Old Testament’s opening text and, as such, it delves deeply into the “procreant urge of creation”, a phrase straight out of Whitman. Indeed, in Nelson’s poem, as in Whitman and, I would argue, most poetry, I find this “Urge and urge and urge, / Always the procreant urge of the world” advancing “opposite equals”—as poets and readers—“out of the dimness” of matter unorganized into bodies and relationships eternally on the verge of being (or greater manifestations thereof). Danny captures this paired advancement in “Creation” with his depiction of the (pro)creative union of the sun and the moon, an interaction representative of the male and female aspects of Nature working together to craft a new sphere from the fabric of the universe.

Within the Mormon context of the poem (it originally appeared in The Fob Bible, an anthology written by a writing group made up of Mormons of various stripes), the (pro)creative movement of these “opposite equal” spheres further implies the eternal (pro)creative influence of both male and female Deities over the universe. For if we have a Father in Heaven and if, as Eliza R. Snow reminds us, “truth is reason, [then] truth eternal / Tells me I’ve a Mother there” and that she’s doing more than merely keeping House. Rather, as Danny’s variation on this theme suggests, she, as represented in the creative power of the moon—which here “lift[s] land” from the earth’s watery void, “set[s] the rain in silver sheets / upon the ocean’s stormy streets” and places “birds in flight” and fish in the sea—and as the feminine coeval with God the Father, is an active participant in the eternal, reiterative round of creation, a circling “dance” that is more productive of all that is “good,” beautiful, and holy than many of us may care to—or even, at present, can—imagine.

"amicus, amici, amico, amicum, amico,
Amice.

The window, with its morning salty joke
of squinting scowls, unfolds a dusty yellow ray
of light on you, while I still close-eyed soak
in shadows in the middle of the room.
We resurrect the third declension, bring
the plural genitive alive, resume
linguistic worship, conjugate the Mass, and sing
our hallelujahs, pater nosters, pronoun penance
for our poor grade in repentance
for our reprobate translation of this sentence."

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FitP Poet Highlight 27/82: Arwen Taylor, “Lingua Doctrinae

In this poem, Arwen’s lyric is crisp and pointed. And her poetic engagement with words is a means of “linguistic worship” centered on the conjugation and communion of bodies through rituals of the tongue. Speaking to an unnamed “you” (a lover? the reader? God?) upon whom “light unfolds [in] a dusty yellow ray,” she discusses their conjugal acts of language, witnessing that in their continued relationship, in their textual communion, they “resurrect the third declension, bring / the plural genitive alive.” The poet renews the complexities of linguistic inflection and possession in the plural pronouns “we” and “our” as, in her’s words, “we” “conjugate the Mass, and sing / our hallelujas” and “pater nosters,” paying “pronoun penance / for our poor grade in repentance / for our reprobate translation of this sentence.”

Such trouble as the poet’s punning and rhetorical uses of ritual may make is, at once, as these lines suggest, the source of the poet’s need to repent and the means of that redemption. Through the “locution of [… this poetic] system” of worship, she thus explores the relationship among languages, doctrines, individuals, the sexes, human and the divine, in ways that highlight the subversively redemptive possibilities of humanity’s communal acts, including communication. And by so doing, the poet presses readers to consider that language is something more than mere garments for our ideas, more than mere marks on the page, more than a series of vibrations that pass through the aural cavity, even as seemingly meaningless as these garments, these marks, these vibrations can sometimes seem.

Because language, especially poetic language, is ultimately much, much more than any of these materialities combined.

"

I counted them as they
came—sons and daughters
who didn’t count.

I counted their limbs, perfect
limbs, like their father’s—
nothing so imperfect.

I found him perfect, my one
week of us, my one weak
husband.

"

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FitP Poet Highlight 25/82: E.S. (Sarah) Jenkins, “Weary”

In her moving elegiac poem, “Weary,” Sarah highlights a less than pleasant aspect of the woman’s (pro)creative relationship with God: childbirth and the toll it can take on the mother’s mind. Speaking with language that sneaks back on itself and shifts meaning in the movement, the poet explores an experience like Leah’s, the “hated” wife of Jacob whose womb was opened by the Lord such that she conceived four sons in rapid succession. I can only imagine (if that) what this does to a woman’s cognition, especially when she’s already under pressure to please a husband who likes her “beautiful sister”—his favored wife—that much more, but after watching my wife adjust to the needs of our first newborn daughter some years ago, I’m convinced that Jenkins captures the weariness well. And though my wife’s passage into motherhood wasn’t tainted by a husband whose attention was diverted elsewhere, there were times, say, after middle of the night feedings or nights of little to no sleep, when her words followed the circling rhetorical path the poet follows in the excerpt I’ve shared.

Such sorrow, “greatly multipl[ied]” at and because of conception and condensed here in the poet’s language; such physical, cognitive, and rhetorical labor as “Weary” represents is, I’m convinced, the (pro)creative heritage of the Fall, a re-creative act that essentially revised our premortal relationship with ourselves, one another, and with God, providing the means by which spirit could connect with flesh and language to the mind and body as never would have been possible had Adam and Eve remained in their unproductive sphere and, by so doing, bound humanity in a perpetually unembodied existence.