Stephen Vincent Benet


Some people have names like pitchforks, some people have names 
         like cakes,
Names full of sizzling esses like a family quarrel of snakes,
Names black as a cat, vermilion as the cockscomb-hat of a fool”
But your name is a green, small garden, a rush asleep in a pool.

When God looked at the diffident cherubs and dropped them out 
         of the sky,
He named them like Adam's animals, while Mary and Eve stood by,
The poor things huddled before him in scared little naked flocks
”And he gave you a name like sunlight, and clover, and holly

For your mouth with its puzzled jesting, for your hair like a dark 
        soft bird,
Shy humor and dainty walking, sweet laughter and subtle word,
As a fairy walks with a mushroom to keep the rain from its things
You carry your name forever, like a scepter alive with wings.

Neither change nor despair shall touch it nor the seasons make it 
It will burn like an Autumn maple when your proud age talks to 
        your youth,
Wise child, clean friend, adoration, light arrow of God, white
I would break my body to pieces to call you once by your name!