Artwork (not mine) inspired by Joseph Cornell 

encapsulated into being:
an A, an E, maybe a D
or, perhaps, two Ts:

You grow into your name,
or maybe you don’t know
what it means. Google tells you
that you’re a “child of God”,
or “the Messenger of Angels”.
But I don’t want empty titles, or
non-definitive purposes. Neither am I
a word lost in the passages
of light, or meaningless verses.

The story spills, rolling about
from the dregs: pale pastures of bitter coffee.
Of two really bad wines –
a glass flute lies casually on its thinly, curved side.

A discarded button lies on the floor,
reflecting a pale bluish Singer hue.
Ethereal grandmother eyes, sandwiched
between ancient, jovial mischief
now sparkle as she takes to the tale:

“80 years of strife,
and of withered family life –
of the seas and of many lovers,
drowned in the jungles of Malaya.
A man that disappeared off the coast,
taken by two khaki-clad men:
who is to say, or say afoul
of these dangerous mice
that masquerade as men?”

Somewhere in between
the halogen lights
rests the slight pause
of her dexturous fingers,
the shadow looming

in the form of benign presence,
all in all, right in front of me –
she who wears them all,
clandestine threads
inpalpably woven in her blood:

she, half-hidden by the light
of the lamp, who gently
pokes the needle through the cloth,
humming the medley under her breath.

“I took you to the fortune teller
and he took a look at you –
and he named you right there, and then.”

But what does it mean, Mum?

She continues to sew,
the silence punctuated
by the scrape of the key.
The door creaks open
and a stilted gasp of light peers in.

It dances on her face,
illuminating buttonhole dimples,
tracing soft-worn wrinkles
and lifting her face
from somnabulant monsters.

“I don’t know, honey –
count it as a blessing from the gods?
But what you make of it:
that, I can say, such will be.”

9 thoughts on “Names

  1. Very honest one, which is the highest compliment one can give.

    Jean, I mean no offence, and please erase my comment if it ends up meaning so, and I don’t want to play the wise guy role, since that annoys me as hell, but I have to tell you there is nothing written, at least not something intrinsically bad or intrinsically limiting.

    We all fall for the patterns and expect them to mean something, but at the end it’s about what or who makes/made you happy. It’s time to think about yourself if you allow me to give my opinion.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey – not at all. I really appreciate that you took the care and time to write this. I did have a feeling that this was kinda botched, but couldn’t pin it down properly. This was supposed to be about how names, what naming in general could mean and what they represented, but reading your comment now makes me think that perhaps I was too philosophical about the entire matter and lost the ‘feeling’ in the process. Sometimes, when I write, I feel like I’ve strangled it – and when I give it too much space, I feel extremely dissatisfied. It’s just…*deep sigh*

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this immensely. You have such a way with words. I would have to read it a few more times to get the depth of it — which I trust is there — though I can sense the validity of the previous comment, in that there is a flair of obscurity in your words. Still, the reader is drawn toward it.

    Not sure if I ever mentioned that my name inadvertently wound up meaning “Manly Godly Father” in three biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, respectively). But this is only because my dad was talking to a ham radio operator named “Andy” (Andros) at the time of my birth; he wanted the two boys to have the Irish names “Pat” and “Mike” for middle names, since he was part Irish (and I got “Michael”) and of course “Pope” was the family name, Latin for “father.”

    This intrigued me at an early age. I then began to read the family Bible in a search for the meaning of Saint’s names. Also, since my mother’s name was “Mary” (the mother of Jesus) and my father’s was “David” (Jesus being of the House of David), I got on a Jesus-kick as a seven year old. My dad responded by confiscating the Bible and forbidding me to read it.

    But that’s an anecdotal tangent. Consider it a paranthetical note. I do believe, however, that names have power. It might be interesting to explore this theme further.

    Good to hear from you again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi AP, it’s good to hear from you again too! Thank you for sharing your anecdote about your own name, and what you think about the poem. 🙂 It does seem that an investigation of some sort would be good in the power and meaning of names…

      Liked by 1 person

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