I was writing a poem earlier today and having a hard time thinking of a good title for it. I started thinking about the way I name poems and when and why I sometimes leave them nameless. So here are my thoughts, delayed by a few hours.
“Sometimes I do not name poems. I typically do this for one of two reasons: either I cannot find a name that suits it, or I believe that naming it would diminish the poem.
Naming something defines something; it gives it boundaries. It’s like cutting down trees in a forest and planting a sign that says, ‘This is the road to Abenforth,’ or, ‘This is the road to Tristal Downs.’
But somethings I can’t find the right words. And sometimes, it’s like staring at trees glimmering in the moonlight. And I just can’t do it. I can’t cut down the forest; I can’t plant the sign. Sometimes I try, but I just can’t do it.
Some forests do not deserve to be cleared. Some lines should not be drawn. Sometimes there is more wisdom in the mystery than there is in the revelation. An unnamed poem is like a question: it makes us think; makes us ponder. A well-named poem will do the same, but that’s a different kind of thinking. A name sends us wandering down a road; the unnamed leave us in the middle of a field. The path is unknown, and in the end, we make our own journey.
And that is why I like my few unnamed poems. Because they aren’t unnamed, not really. Every person who reads it will try to name it in their hearts. Others will perhaps be like me and be at a loss for a name, but some may find names they like. So instead of a single name, that poem is gifted with a multitude.
And I rather like that.”