Matiiiiilda . . . Matiiiiilda . . . (jewels of names : names of jewels)

Blog post
Published: 14.04.2009

Matilda had only been with us for a few days before she learnt her name. Now she comes running to the call Matiiiiiilda . . . Matiiiiiilda . . .

Names matter. I have been called Margaret since I was born, last century. (Weighty words: last century. It sounds so long ago. Perhaps it was.) That word, Margaret, that pattern of marks on the page, that sound, that name Margaret, is part of me, as I am part of it. I meet another Margaret (not such a common name) and the response is curious: what? who? how? I hear someone call Maaargaret. Yes. That’s me! It must be. Someone calls me Marg or Margie or Maggie (UGH!) I don’t recognise it. That is not who I am. My name has been part of me for longer than my skin, which renews itself regularly.

When I wear the bracelet that my father made my mother for her birthday, I hear her voice. I hear his voice calling her name: Helen. When I wear her bracelet (I still think of it as her’s) it is not my arm I see clasped by it; it is my mother’s arm, slimmer, paler than mine. My arm has become her arm. I have become my mother. But her name was Helen. Helen Margaret.

Why would you call a daughter Amber, Ruby, Sapphire, rather than daughter; daughter one, perhaps daughter two or three. (Why would you call a cat Matilda?)
Why would you call a brooch aubade or gloria, petal or pit, credo or killing me softly, Helleborus lividus or Lillium pullum or Rosa contusa?

I wonder what difference it makes: to name or not name them. I could have titled them brooch or even aghaei-sharareh-pandikow-wiebke-untitled-2015-2014. But then, would they have come when I called?


Helleborus Lividus

Lilium Pullum

Rosa Contusa