Arts & Culture · Poetry

Poetry Sunday: A Child Is Born

Women of our age are often thought to bemoan the inclinations of young parents, and certainly aren’t considered champions of “out there” thinking.   Here, poet Barbara G.S. Hagerty imagines empowerment through nomenclature—and leaves no doubt about her opinion of the ordinary.


Naming the Girl      

       after Rhett Iseman Trull

Call her Firestar. Titania or Palace.
Not Susan, Nancy, Debbie, or Barbara…
Can’t you just see Cosmica in her space suit,
lassoing quasars, first to travel

at the speed of light? Give her a name
to defy all gravities: She-Ra, Neytiri.
One to define gravity, like Crescent.
Luna, Oberon. Make her other-worldly, Phanta,

or so worldly her name embodies it: Terra.
Let her be a divining rod for pleasure, Alice Wonder,
Sappho, Jewel-Above-Price. Incendieria
will invent a new way to make fire:

thumb against palm igniting skin.
Call her Acetylene—Torch for short, or Scorch.
Give her an axis-turning, Atom-Eve smashing
name to demolish borders:

Macha, Hercula, Iconoclasta,
galloping up the birth narrows,
past Rigel, Betelgeuse, Alpha Centauri,
vernix-slick, sinuous, strong. Get it right:

Ishtar. Nectar. Blossom-Breaking-Into-Light.

—from Twinzilla (The Word Works, pub.), ©2014 by Barbara G.S. Hagerty


lBarbara G. S. Hagerty is a native of Charleston, South Carolina, whose poetry publications include two chapbooks—The Guest House (2009) and Motherfish (2012)—both from Finishing Line Press. Her first full-length book of poems, Twinzilla (a 2013 winner of the Hilary Tham Capital Collection competition) was published by The Word Works in early 2014. Awarded the 2010–2012 Fellowship in Poetry by the South Carolina Arts Commission, she is also the recipient of a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She serves as a board member of the Poetry Society of South Carolina. She has worked as a photographer, curator, and teacher of poetry and creative nonfiction, and has published several nonfiction books. Long active in organizations that benefit women, she is a past board member of The Center for Women and the Sophia Institute (which cultivates wisdom and mindfulness, and upholds the principles and ideals of the sacred feminine). She holds an MA in Creative Writing from The Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars.


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