James Hannon


Forsake of Naming

Pretend that I charge you
to name all the creatures,
great and small, leaf and limb,
so you can feel in control
of your outer world when
so much inside is unnamable.

Your numberless descendants
will count and classify
kingdoms they think they rule.
Dominion they will call it,
like one of their orders of angels. 
Always with them will be
the orders and ranks
columns and rows
greater than and less than.
Until some learn—
that which is named is no longer itself.
Then will begin the unknowing.





James Hannon is the author of the poetry collection, The Year I Learned the Backstroke (Aldrich Press, 2013).  His poems have appeared in Gathered: Contemporary Quaker Poets (Sundress, 2013) and several journals including Cold Mountain ReviewMuddy River Poetry Review, and Zetetic.