Monday, December 11, 2023

Leslie Leyland Fields

Leslie Leyland Fields is an Alaskan writer who has published twelve books, including Your Story Matters (2020, NavPress), Crossing the Waters (2016), and the poetry collection The Water Under Fish (1994). She has taught at the University of Alaska, and is a founding faculty member of Seattle Pacific University’s MFA program. She also founded the Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop, an annual writing retreat on her family’s wilderness island in Alaska.

She and the poet Paul J. Willis have just had a new collection of Advent readings published by IVP: A Radiant Birth: Advent Readings for a Bright Season. It consists of 42 readings from the first Sunday of Advent through to Epiphany written by members of the Chrysostrom Society. Some of these readings are poems, while others are stories and essays, and they come from such highly regarded writers as Luci Shaw, Robert Siegel, Diane Glancy, Eugene Peterson, and Madeleine L’Engle ― all of whom are (or were) members of the Chrysostrom Society.

The following poem is from Leslie Leyland Fields, and appears in A Radiant Birth.

Let the Stable Still Astonish

Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child,
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said: "Yes,
Let the God of all the heavens and earth
be born here, in this place?”
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms
Of our hearts and says, "Yes,
Let the God
of Heaven and Earth
be born here―
In this place."

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.