Monday, June 14, 2010

In a Name and A Poet

The Poetry Bus is on the road with Jeanne Iris at the wheel! Jeanne's challenge, in part, is to ruminate on the origins of our names and see what comes to mind. Check Revolutionary Revelry to read the full challenge and see who else is aboard...and keep reading here to see my (very) weak takes on the prompt. We're among friends, right?


Adam’s chin ran apple juice.

So what? Would Eden stand

If Eve had offered,

Say, unspellable potato?

Would grief be gone

Were Romeo called Capulet?

Would longing for a kinsman

Not put cankers on that rose?

A name is not a thing;

I am not etymology,

Though, By God, given half a chance,

I would be queen.

The name Karen is of Greek origin, a variant of the original name Catherine and means pure, clean. The name is often associated with queens, of whom Catherine of Alexandria, Katherine of Aragon, and Catherine the Great are most famous.


More than anything

I want to be,

Eye and heart and ear,

A poet.

I want to see

What others fail

To see;

I want to split

Myself open

And hear.

I want to be

A lake where

Shadows fleet.

I want to seine

Feelings through

My teeth;

I want to drain

Away the spillage

And the dross.

I want to drown

In the world’s


I want to be,

More than anything,

A poet.


  1. Karen, I like the questions posed in association with your name. Your poem, A POET, cascades so lyrically: "to seine feelings through my teeth." Love that!

  2. Very nice Karen, I love the poet poem, very yearnsome and interesting

  3. "A lake where shadows fleet" - you sure can paint those watercolours and your word-choice is so unique and mysterious.

    I agree with Niahm -yearnsome is the right word. I love the bits of rhyme that run through it.

    Karen and Kathleen are related - we are pure as the driven snow. Ha!

  4. I loved both of these. I found out that my three birth names mean Bitter Welsh Dane - I wish I had known before I wrote my poem I think I could have done a LOT with that!

  5. i was trying to decipher the red letters - do they form Karen? i just can't see the finishing 'n', but i can well make myself see the rest of the name ;)

    writing a poem about your feelings about your name stirred up my thougths, and in not a good way. don't worry, it's not your fault at all :)) - it's my path

    i loved the poem about being a poet.
    it makes me wonder whether a poet is the one that writes or the one that has this extraordinary perception.

  6. oh, now i see all letters. i understand!!
    the image was created to be legible from both sides - hence are the strange letters :))

  7. I like the desperation in the second one. Desperation is a much underrated sensation.

  8. Jeanne - Thanks. You're very nice, and as I said, we're among friends here. (I noticed TFE said the same thing!) I feel like both of these poems are throw aways. I really wanted to get back on the bus, though, so posted against my better judgment.

    Niamh B - Yearnsome. You could stamp that on my forehead!

    Kat - Hmmm...the word "mysterious"...code for, "What the heck is she saying?" Makes perfect sense to me! :-)

    Bug - Bitter Welsh Dane! How funny! I love that!

    SzelsoFa - You see it! I wondered if anyone would see that! As for the poet, I think he or she is one open nerve.

    Rachel - Desperation, huh? I didn't recognize it as such, but maybe it really is that. Now isn't that sad?

  9. i might be able to see that [your name in red is written to be legible in both ways] because reading a book turned upside down has never meant any problem to me :)
    but i think others can see it just as well as i do :)

    re: poet: following your definition (and mine :))
    what's your take on this next step:
    'one doesn't have to write to qualify as a poet.'

  10. I like that version of "poet." And writer. Weaving portraits of our uniqueness in words.

  11. Like the punchline in the first and the PASSION in the second.I really felt that.

    'I wat to split myself open and hear'

    Oh, I like that!

  12. Also fine poems--& you are unquestionably a poet--no need to wish for that!

  13. two for one!

    though i don't find them particularly weak - they seem to build on each other when you consider the eytomology -
    karen = "pure, clean"
    poet = "creator, i make"
    and there they are - to write with purity, past the words, straining out the dross, getting to the heart.

    at least that's how i see it.

  14. Karen, I liked these both, but I loved the honesty of the second one. There's no doubt your're a poet though,

  15. I really enjoyed "In a name", and then those final two lines,

    "Though, By God, given half a chance,
    I would be queen."

    just shout all the Catherines you mentioned and Elizabeth I so well!

    And I loved the desire, violence and obsession of the love poem. And it was a love poem.

  16. SzelsoFa- How cool! Are you ambidextrous, too? As for the definition of a poet, I don't think a poet can be divorced from words. He or she has soul and senses put into the best possible words. It is creating or re-creating with words, art in words.

    jason - Weavers; I like that. Add that to my comment to SzelsoFa.

    TFE - Thanks!

  17. TFE - Me again! I had a thought about your comment on those words. When I wrote them I was reminded of Emerson's transparent eyeball - opening himself up and becoming one with nature. In some way, I related this to that experience of leaving the self and becoming one with the sense. (And that's probably more than you wanted to know!)

    John - I'll just be gracious and say thank you.

    joaquin - Thank you for making sense of these. I am probably my own harshest critic. My inclination is to argue, not from any sense of false modesty, that I'm not a poet. That's my inclination (and curse).

    Pure Fiction - Thank you!

    JoAnne - You know, I never say things like, "By God," but it seemed to fit here so well, I had to put it in. As for the love poem. I think you're right. My elusive love.

  18. i grew up right-handed, but i'm so good with my left (i type, play badminton with both hands to almost the same efficieny for example) that chances are i was taught to NOT use my 'wrong' hand when i was a child. i don't know.

    oh yes, the words.
    i've just read about emerson's transparent eyeball (in your comment above). i like that.
    sure you are right about creation; creating and re-creating is uplifting, and ultimately satisfiying challenge.
    but sometimes one just wishes to silently immerse and NOT intervene by (re)creating.

  19. I like them both. Much to ponder. I do agree - a name isn't any kind of destiny or the vaguest indication of who one is.

  20. We know another great Catherine don't we? :P

    And you do not "want" to be a poet. I want to be a poet. You were born one.

    One of these days I'm going to find time to scout this poetry bus. I love love love the concept of it. Its a great idea to create a community.

  21. I love both poems, and they work wonderfully together. The last stanza of "In A Name" made me want to applaud. I love that touch of sarcasm...or maybe sarcasm isn't the right word. It makes a point in a fun way. I can picture the narrator slamming her fist on a table and saying, "By God...I would be queen." I also hear a little invisible curse word after that...haha!

    Yes, you are a poet, Karen. A wonderful one. You know, I've never thought about it until now, but every Karen I've ever met is a good hearted soul.

    I just read your comment about the poems being "throw away." I don't know if you mean it literally or not, way! I'm so glad you posted them. They're both keepers.

  22. Karen, you ARE a poet - one of the best I've ever come across!

  23. You have a gift, Karen, and one day you will accept that. For now you seem to second guess and fret. But I'll remind you again: In your world view is a lyricism and yearning, and in your mind is a command of language, and together these make you a fine poet. Like you I have little faith in myself. But with each successive poem, I think we get closer to an acceptance of ourselves as people who paint pictures and emotions and turning points with words. Indulge in a little faith in yourself!

  24. "unspellable potato". I like that. And I agree with Enchanted Oak! Have faith!

  25. SzelsoFa - I agree. I calling it just "soaking."

    NanU - I read what you said to TFE, so I understand this comment.

    Ani - Catherine is great, isn't she? You would love the, you'd be the youngest passenger!

    Julie - Thank you, dear friend. I was not "fishing" for compliments. I won't argue the point, but I know what I think. I really think if I want to be better, I need to read more and write more (and probably blog less). Thanks for your sweet comments.

    Margaret - Thank you. I really, sincerely appreciate that.

    Chris - Please read my comment to Julie. I do think I want to be a poet, and I've decided to really work on the work. By the way, you are very, very good.

    Jessica - That's my Dan Quayle comment! :-)

  26. You are a poet, and a damn good one.