The Name by Robert Creeley

“The Name”, a poem Creeley wrote for his daughters, that first appeared in “For Love” a collection from 1962:

Be natural, wise
as you can be,
my daughter,

Let my name
be in you flesh
I gave you
in the act of

loving your mother,
all your days,
her ways,
the woman in you

brought for
sensuality’s measure,
no other,
there was no thought

of it but such
pleasure all women
must be in her,
as you. But not wiser,

not more of nature
than her hair,
the eyes
she gives you.

There will not be another
woman such as you
are. Remember
your mother,

the way you came,
the days of waiting.
Be natural,
daughter, wise

as you can be,
all my daughters,
be women
for men

when that time comes.
Let the rhetoric
stay with me
your father. Let

me talk about it,
saving you such
vicious self-
exposure, let you

pass it on
in you. I cannot
be more than the man
who watches.