Two Contemporary Poets

Spring, 2004

Ioanna Warwick

My Name in Hebrew


rolling on like the vineyards,
or the melody of hills.

With a name so vast,
I speak slowly.
I weigh my words like Deborah.
Ghost armies rise up.
I am their forgotten anthem:
it's all grace,
a gift of God - Yochanana.

My name began on the Euphrates,
echoing the descending footsteps
of the Queen of Heaven, Inanna.

It revolves with the Tree of Life and the animals
named by Adam and saved by Noah;
the twelve tribes,
seven branches of light.
The curves of its consonants
contain nations,
like the body of Sarah.

My name is a riddle
posed to Solomon.
It weeps with love's grief
like Bethsheba.
I slide into the ancient syllables
scented with spikenard and myrrh,
warm as noon heat on the Jordan,
veiled with shimmer of a mirage.

My name has in it
kings and prophets,
Pharaoh's dreams
and the writing on the wall.
My name is so long
I can travel through it.
It is centuries, millennia
from one letter to the next.