Growing Up "Jenny"

Naming is not a trivial thing
when something is bright
and shiny and new.
They called her Jenny
"their bright and shiny penny"

It's what the name became
as time went on. Always taking on meanings
from out there. Because it rhymed, they said.
"their bright and shiny penny."
Once saved, so were their smiles.
Like "Henny Penny" Why does the sky
always fall in?
Still there was that existential choice
in what name
she became.

She learned there was
a Jenny Wren and adopted small birds.
Even at four when you couldn't catch her
using  that flight of fancy
Those specks came
when she called their name.
"Here jenny wren"

Always ready to look behind corners.
An ever-earnest desire
to look over her shoulder to see
if the corner
had moved and she could see
the back of the moon.

Which did not fit when
her father called her his jenny engine,
"portable and auxiliary"? ---so what
did auxiliary mean
once her brother was born?
Just in case? But not all the time?
Corners became sharp angles.
"Jenny engine"
brought new meanings.
They all laughed
when jokes were made
about raising a wren
with weekly allowances
for their little engine.
 She laughed and was so clever.

When she grew stupid
and obstinate,
and had to be reminded
she didn't know it all.
Jenny was ever more,
the big ears
and stubby mane.
What did she make of that!

Meanings out there were clearly
used.  It was a heavy load
for one young back.
But where was the choice?
spinning with a thread
that meant all of that?
Rapunzel, Rapunzel --
let down your gold hair.
Come sit down beside me,
 my spinning  Jenny. . .
your pennies, the young man said,
are from heaven   And if you sing,
what's the matter with that?


If you've any comments on this poem, L.Fullington would be pleased to hear from you.

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