A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature. Over 400,000 monthly users. Over 6,000 archived posts.
You said, Name the world. So I said, I call this a spangle tree. How about, you said, a rose-hued spangle tree. That’s beautiful, I said. Let’s name the world together. No, you do it, you said. What’s this? And held up a leaf. Red, three fingers. Red mitten leaf, I said. And that? Golden grain. Moptop grass. Chewberry bush. A donglehopper. How about this feeling? I said. Can you name it? Can you name this sunlit chill, the meadow brown and gold, the crunch and crackle of leaves we shuffle through, old friends seldom together? Can you name how we remember being here with sons now grown, tossing pebbles in the water? Here with that botanist who won your heart by naming every plant, even the water weeds? What do you call it, what would he call it, when we share tea on a bench and homemade bread and apple butter? When the trail is closed because deer are being hunted with bow and arrow? Name how we feel, the leaves dying around us, bees probing skeletons of flowers, deer pierced nearby. Name slipping on wet leaves. Name how I catch you. Name me saying, lean on my arm. Name me not saying, You should wear better shoes. Name how the plants are beautiful in old age, like our mothers, hair white as milkweed, skin speckled with brown seeds. Name how we cocooned in their leaves. How their stalks bent yet held when we flew away. Name it, name it all, using only one word. A word you search for. A word you build out of leaves and air. Out of memories and forgetting. Out of together and apart. Come next November will we remember this view of bare branches cascading below us if we cannot now find its name? So name it, you said. Name it with words more beautiful than the real names. -- For Sharon McDermott and Christine Benner Dixon
Copyright 2020 Judith Sanders