Wednesday 8 June 2011

The Names of Things

Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes
gazes out at me
behind the window frame
Half content to be
in Billy Collins' world,
half wishing to be me -
Cross legged in the evening sun
drinking rose petal tea.

I can name the Yellow Rose,
the frilly Poppy, the Bee
longing for that same tea;
the half-eaten bruised cherries,
the guzzling, drunken, blackbird feast.

Deep in the shadows
lazy snakes of ivy curl
and the wind is a Tempest again -

I walk among the unnamed things
the secret, hidden lives,
I pronounce the names of Latinate things
and trip on the words
and smile -

Cerastium tomentosum,
snow in summer,
Galium odoratum,
stars in spring,
Lavandula angustifolia...
where the herb garden sings.

- Shaista, 2011
Poem participating in One Shot Poetry Wednesday.
My first line references the poem 'Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes', in the collection of poems by the same name. I do love the work of American Poet Laureate Billy Collins, and am so grateful to my American blogger poet friends for widening the horizons of my poetic readings. I read my poem aloud on radio today - with my brother Irfan present in the control room!


Ruth said...

Naming is the best, or not naming, as we wish. Some things are enhanced by names, and some need them not at all. I love the name 'Billy Collins' because of the man and his poems, a light he is, a gift.

I don't know why I am talking like Yoda.


Congratulations for reading him on the radio!

Shaista said...

Ruthie, you are Yoda!! Didn't you know? ;)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Shaista, you are a wizard at transporting me to wherever you write about. I love your top blog photo, by the way. And the poem you read on the radio (you famous girl, you!) is remarkable and wonderful. I love it. And I love your poem, the tea and all the blooms and the "drunken blackbird feast". Lovely, all of it!

Brian Miller said...

nice..i love me some billy collins as well...have you read his new book?

love that last stanza, you present it quite lyrically and the rest of it puts me right there...great verse

Shaista said...

Sherry, it wasn't Billy I read on the radio, it was just Shaista! I should have read him instead :)

steven said...

shaista you know it's a strange feature of me but i love the natural world and yet i'd be hard-pressed to provide the proper names for much of anything. i have my own names for plants and trees. i love the latin names, especially when they are translated. stories unfold from those names. steven

Maxine Beneba Clarke said...

cross-legged in the evening sun...

what a wonderfully peaceful image.

Renee said...

Beautiful piece, Shaista. I can smell the flowers even as you describe them.

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