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February 11, 2012 / Rae Spencer

How He Named Himself

How He Named Himself

He was magician
At the back of his tongue
Language awoke
Invoked the porous senses

In example, the word “blue”
From his mouth
Fell into air
Unfurled before his eye
To fill an ocean

Or a cloudless sky
Breezed with recollection
Bitter and sweet
Like summer drowned in heat

Other words named other seasons
Spring’s flushed lovers and mothers
Fall’s jealous kings and princes
A blush of yellow stamen
Vain, reduced to bare reflection

While legions tolled to war
Because he said “winter”
And Krakatoa split
And every illness known to man
Rattled into silence

Until his lips shaped “time”
With all its varied futures
Claiming death and birth
Irrelevant, like glacial ice

Though he never said “ice”
Because “cold” would do
Or “lonely”
A chill on the skin
Squeezed down to marrow

With all the scenes he wove aloud
Chorused, plural tenses
In a singular verb
The act that names him “poet”


  1. Sharon Poch / Feb 11 2012 6:22 PM

    How I wish I could be a poet worthy of this profound description,
    Beautifully writ
    Loved the bare bones of your trees . . .

    • Rae Spencer / Feb 11 2012 7:13 PM

      Shar, Your poetry IS worthy! (For any readers who wish to explore Sharon’s writing, I recommend here and here and here.)

  2. Betty Hayes Albright / Feb 12 2012 2:29 AM

    I loved this – wonderful poem!!

  3. jeaniemac100 / Feb 12 2012 11:26 AM

    Ohhh. “…the word “blue”
    From his mouth
    Fell into air
    Unfurled before his eye
    To fill an ocean.”

    gave me shivers of delight.

    “Though he never said “ice”
    Because “cold” would do
    Or “lonely.””

    Oh, to choose words so right, as you do, Rae.


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