Last night this poem popped up in my Feedly feed from today's Writer's Almanac; 'so perfect!' I said and read it aloud to Luke as we lie awake, catching up from almost two weeks (mostly) apart due to his tour and my vacation (St Louis and Michigan) and talking about the name for the baby girl we will welcome next month. We stayed up too late. Tired but happy today, happy to be home.
Listen to the poem here
Naming the Babyby Faith Shearin
When you are dreaming of the name
you are also dreaming of who they
might be. They are invented in darkness —
under cloak of skin — and, for the better
part of a year, are a swelling
or a set of symptoms. The name
books are like a box of chocolates
and when you open them you see
how many kinds there really are.
There are names of people you
have known and disliked and names
that make the wrong sounds and names
that suggest your child will be
like everyone else's. There are names
that turn your child into a character
in a novel and names that recall
the time when your great grandmother
was young. Naming the baby is a way
of dreaming about a creature who is
almost but not quite. It is a way of
imagining the soul of a person you
are making but have not made.
The name is the first way you see
the baby: their title, the syllables
that conjure a shape from the lantern.