If I Had Children


If I had children, I might name

them astrometeorological names:

Meridian, a girl. Zenith, a boy.

Eclipse, a pretty name for either one.

Anaximander, ancient Greek scientist

(who built a gnomon on Lacedaemon,

and with it predicted the exact date


that city would be destroyed by

earthquake)....Anaximander, wonderful

name for a girl. Anny could be her

nickname. Ion, short for ionosphere,

would make a graceful name for

a boy. Twins could be named after

planets: Venus and Mercury, or


Neptune and Mars. They'd adore each

other's heavenly bodies shining

upon their doubles on Earth.

And have you ever thought that, of

the Nine, only one planet is female?

Venus. Unless Earth is. So, seven

of Sun's children, it seems, are male.


But, if I had children, and grandchild-

ren, then greatgrandchildren, myriads

of newborn moons and moonlets crowding

into the viewfinder would furnish me

names both handsome and sweet:

Phoebe, Rhea, Dione among daughters

of Saturn, with Titan and Janus the


brothers. Io, Ganymede and Callisto,

Jupiter's boys: Europa and little

Amalthea, their sisters.

On Io, most exotic of the Galilean

moons, are mapped six great-and-grand

volcanoes: Loki, Hemo, Horus, Daedalus,

Tarsis, Ra. Beauties all! But all


boys. Well, if I had children

I wouldn't fix genders or orbits, only

names for them. Wobbling Phobus,

distant child of Mars, misshapen as

a frozen potato.... If I had such a

lopsided moon, the name Phobus would

fit. And I'd love it just the same.


May Swenson