“…in Micmac … some trees ‘are named for the sound the wind makes when it blows through them during the autumn, about an hour after sunset when the wind always comes from a certain direction. Moreover, these names are not fixed but change as the sound changes.”   ~ as qtd. in Elizabeth Seay, Searching for Lost City, xii.

An exercise I do frequently in writing classes — poetry & othewise — is to ask students to make a list of names: of tools (dibble, trowel, router, awl), of moths (hawk moth, luna moth, emperor gum moth), of twilight (civil, nautical, astronomical). Because names often hold within them poetry. More than a mere seed, the name itself becomes an image: civil twilight holds an entire world within its 13 letters…

I once heard Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky tell of researching the names for the various parts of a man’s shirt, spending hours — if not days — on the task. So charmed was he with the precision, the world of tailoring and new knowledge, the words invoked.

Today? I’m looking for names w/ power. Names that hold poetry within the cool confines of another discipline. Another world…

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

I know education intimately. I’ve worked w/ urban schools, k-university, since 1990. At the district, state, & national levels. I’ve met w/ officials from across the globe (literally: Africa, Europe, Australia…). I have educator friends & colleagues around the country. So keep that in mind. The pro-DeVos argument  is loaded w/ biased rhetoric. Let’s begin w/ […]

Reading Jessica Livingston’s ‘Sound of Silence‘ struck so many resonant chords it was like she was playing my song. A soundtrack to a current dilemma I’m waffling over. Which is…to FaceBook or not to FaceBook. Livingston articulates the downsides eloquently: I’m sick of being a target for every neocon who buys alt-right agitprop. I’m tired […]

In a month of giving thanks for everyday blessings, people sometimes assume that I’m not grateful for the big things: my home, my family. My material well-being. But the point to an entire month of giving thanks for ‘ordinary magic,’ is to remind each of us (me especially!) that in our lives, there is much […]

Today I’m grateful, in this month of 30 days to remember all we have to be thankful for, that I’m an aunt. Being an aunt is a gift someone else has to give you — no one gets to ‘pick’ it. And it’s nothing at all like being a sister, or a mother, or even […]