Week #2 on Naming and The Power of Speech

Listen to Orr Read a poem

Essay on Adam

 by Robert Bringhurst

There are five possibilities. One: Adam fell.
Two: he was pushed. Three: he jumped. Four:
he only looked over the edge, and one look silenced him.
Five: nothing worth mentioning happened to Adam.

The first, that he fell, is too simple. The fourth,
fear, we have tried and found useless. The fifth,
nothing happened, is dull. The choice is between:
he jumped or was pushed. And the difference between these

is only an issue of whether the demons
work from the inside out or from the outside
in: the one
theological question.

From Out The Cave – Joyce Sutphen

When you have been at war with yourself
for so many years
that you have forgotten why

When you have been driving for hours
and only gradually begin to realize
that you have lost the way

When you have cut hastily
into the fabric

When you have signed papers
in distraction

When it has been centuries
since you watched the sun set
or the rain fall

And the clouds drifting overhead
pass as flat
as anything on a postcard

When, in the midst of these everyday nightmares,
you understand that you could

   wake up

You could
turn and go back
to the last thing
you remember doing with your whole heart

That passionate kiss

The brilliant drop of love

   rolling along the tongue

   of a green leaf

Then you wake

You stumble from your cave

Blinking in the sun

Naming every shadow

as it slips.


My father always knew the secret
name of everything––

stove bolt and wing nut,
setscrew and rasp, ratchet
wrench, band saw, and ball
peen hammer. He was my
tour guide and translator

through that foreign country
with its short-tempered natives
in their crewcuts and tattoos,
who suffered my incompetence
with gruffness and disgust.

Pay attention, he would say,
and you’ll learn a thing or two.

Now it’s forty years later,
and I’m packing up his tools

(If you know the proper

names of things you ‘re never
at a loss), tongue-tied, incompetent,
my hands and heart  full

of doohickeys and widgets,
whatchamacallits, thingamabobs.

Ronald Wallace

Here is the map to where we will meet this week: