Birth of a Poem

I have heard of a poetess
whose ideas blossom in her gut
like unplanned pregnancies.

She often goes for a ramble
“to clear her head.”
In the green of the woods,
her poetic water breaks.

Damp with rushing images,
she turns on her newly fertile heel
and waddles toward home.
Creativity is a fickle lover
with powerful seed.

With legs emerging first,
her breech inspiration
wiggles its toes between her thighs.
Horrified, invigorated,
she scrambles over hills and
down trails.

The worst agony comes
when she glimpses her house from afar.
She can picture her writing desk,
the open notebook waiting
like a midwife’s careful hands
to catch.

Her words must be swaddled in paper
before their first breath.
The ink they absorb like milk
will give them voice to declare,
“Life!”
with lusty cries.

And always, always
there is this race to the
beginning.

If a poem bursts forth fully formed
just outside the garden gate,
it will elude her pen forever.

She already mourns
so many wayward, wordy daughters;
Grieves a whole anthology of
non-prodigal sons.

Her writing straddles the line between
life and loss every time,
exactly as poems should do.

Birthing them stretches her
terribly,
beautifully,
rending her wide
with new stanzas.

By Amanda Greavette for The Birth Project

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52 responses to “Birth of a Poem

    • For some reason, I read this as “blacksmith midwife” and my first thought was, “Now that person could survive the zombie apocalypse!”

      But then I read it again. Thank you, REDdog.

    • Thank you, thank you. 🙂 At least I managed to create something lovely in homage to my terrible memory.

      Do you have that problem? The thoughts come with a glorious rush, but there’s a tiny window of time before they fly away again.

    • Ha! Funnily enough, this poem comes from someone else’s real life. A colleague told me about her friend, who didn’t see inspiration as a baby, but as a train she had to catch. If she couldn’t make it home to her notebook in time, the train rushed right by and she missed it. I started writing about that, but babies have been on my mind lately, so here we are. 🙂

      (Also, this poem was written in my purse notebook, which I do carry everywhere, because of this exact fear! So you are still right, after all.)

    • Thank you so much. Do you also feel that every poem – even about the simplest things – is really about either trying to understand or savor life?

  1. A stunner. This weaves together two true birthing processes as if we were witnesses to the ordeal (and yes giving birth to a human being or two is harder than a marathon!!). And I agree with your last comment. Poems are ways to capture and captivate the essence of our humanity.

  2. Reblogged this on Being the Memoirs of H̶e̶l̶e̶n̶a̶ ̶H̶a̶n̶n̶-̶B̶a̶s̶q̶u̶i̶a̶t̶,̶ ̶D̶i̶l̶e̶t̶t̶a̶n̶t̶e̶ Jessica B. Bell, Creepy Fucker and commented:
    I don’t often write poetry. It takes a different sort of mindset and brilliance to pull off poetry properly. Jennie Saia is one of my favourite poets — and she’s not prolific, either, which is, I think, why it’s a special thing when she writes something like this. This is just beautiful, and made my day brighter. I wish I had her gift for metaphor — this whole piece is so flawlessly constructed. Magical.

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