The Names and Shapes of Things

Description

Bandicoots, wombats, and numbats surely do look as you would expect anything with such a name might, and there’s something wondrous about that. Musings and poem on how the world appears from silence, John Tarrant Roshi.

This is how the world appears from silence:

I’m writing an introduction for a catalogue of Mayumi Oda’s goddesses. Also thinking about wombats, because I’m often thinking about wombats.

Tess Beasley is thinking of names. 

She says, “James Hillman thinks that names for things arise in response to the thing itself, ‘thud’ or perhaps ‘Mayumi.’ Bandicoots, wombats, and numbats surely do look as you would expect anything with such a name might, and there’s something wondrous about that.” 

Dog is another such word.

Tess used to see a red haired woman with her lover, but the woman comes out alone now onto the red brick fire escape on the Lower East Side.

The names and shapes of things—

She sits high
on the fire escape, as on the cliffs of Dover,
gazing out toward France.

Symmetrical, round,
and shaped like the cosmos,
dahlias have a lot to live up to.

Back and forth, the steller jays
chase the hawk, but the afternoon stops
and I have stopped.

The secret is
the lemon tree glowing
in the moonlight.

Under the new moon, I stepped out
over still warm flagstones
and onto the path between the persimmon and the raspberries…  

Bare feet in the dark,
grass scratching, leaves rustling,
tree frogs singing together

White roses in moon light—
the feeling that a door
waits in front of me

In the warm night
the scent of mint
speaks for all the plants

Sea fog, frogs,
dahlias, moon sickle and shadows—
I have always been here.

The sound of fog dripping
from the maple
makes the night sweeter,
makes the night run slower,
makes the night stranger.

I dream my old collie dog
jumps on my chest, and think that
she must dream of me too.

—John Tarrant