Channels: A Poem by Nora Hutton Shepard
When I hold you I want to ask Why
are you named for a river in a land
I have never seen? in New Zealand?
Your parents named you for what I may never know—
but I think I might see that foreign sky in the blue
of your eyes, that water dancing its course
where animals, strange to me, come to cross,
come to lap at glacial springs rippling
reflections of mountains and snow.
How right it is: this name I never knew before.
With your other name Elizabeth, you become—
a child of water, clouds and gentle showers,
of snow, floods, and the ocean’s fury, the hurricanes,
or the peace of a lake at dusk. Some day you will hear
the story about the night of your birth, your father driving
your mother to the hospital in a lashing rain
lasting through the labor, the delivery, lasting
until the dawn of your pristine first day
at the source of your beginnings.
Nora Hutton Shepard
Nora Hutton Shepard is a poet and alumna of N.C. State’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing program, as well a graduate of the MFA Writer’s Program at Warren Wilson College. She taught poetry courses at N.C. State before relocating to Davidson in 2019 to be closer to her daughter’s family. Nora has quickly acclimated to life in Davidson and is a wonderful addition to our Community.