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


About the author

Margaret West is an artist who sometimes makes jewellery; she writes: mostly poetry essays. She has exhibited widely in Australia overseas. She lives in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia.

About this blog

Touching the thingness of words the wordness of things.