“Naming Them” by Teddy Devitt

Teddy Devitt


Names of number, or of no consequence,
Names held dear, or to the least offence,
Names he’d weighed, had tried, and counted,
Names he’d framed, had polished, mounted,
Names he’d loved and lost; or the to-be-soon,
Names he’d met in passing. Names he’d sung,
Or had hung to in a drunken afternoon,
Names he stuttered, half forgotten, half there;
Names he resurrected from cobbled paths,
From under stairs. Names of his sisters, brothers,
A daughter; step daughter, if I’d gathered,
Aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins,
Twice removed. Anyone who had bothered.
Name of his friends’ friends’ friends’ friends
And their sworn enemies, teachers, neighbours,
Milkmen, postmen, a shop keep, a bailiff.
Names of his longest to most recent employers,
Names he had made up, names he had dreamt,
Names he had ticked off in bed as he slept,
Names he had sworn with blood, oath, and flesh,
Names that had lingered long after breath,
Names he’d peeped at, from close, or afar,
Names to whom he’d hung pictures, thrown darts.
But when the day came for his own farewell,
There was nothing. No words. No half remembered hymn.
Only the nameless air and the absence of him.

from Rattle #82, Winter 2023


Teddy Devitt: “I write poems because it feels like filling an empty space or solving a puzzle. I enjoy making moments, thoughts, and feelings into something concrete.” (web)

Rattle Logo