The Rings of a Tree – known as growth rings, reveal its lifespan

ImagePhoto: © Paula Masterson Dreamstime Stock Photos

I was married a long time ago. Got divorced a long time ago, too. Daniel is my married name. When I divorced, it didn’t occur to me to go back to my maiden name. I have a son who was five when I divorced his father, and I wanted to keep my married name for his sake (so we’d have the same last name, you know?).

Lately, though I’ve been thinking about my married name, and what it took to get it. Now that my son is an adult, he has said having the same last name doesn’t matter much to him (I scratched my head and said, ‘OK’).  I’ve also been thinking about going back to my maiden name. And in the thinking, this poem told me to write it.


I traded in my father’s name

the name I was born into

The name of the man

I’d known

like the rings of a tree

for twenty-six years

9,490 days of my life

before I

traded it in


Like it had ceased to

suit me,

had outgrown it, somehow


Like it was just


do disconnect

from the man

who celebrated

fifty-one years of a knotted bond

with my mother

before he transitioned

in his eighty first year


I traded it in his name

for the name

of a man

I’d known

like the rings of a sapling

for two years

730 days of my life


How do you compare

justify it against

the knowing of

9,490 days

 © 2014 Andrea Daniel

I’m not sure if this poem is actually complete; we’ll see as time goes by. But what it tells me is, it takes time to know someone… I’m mean really KNOW a person. It also says to me to be deeply mindful (and utterly truthful) when taking on something as important as a relationship that could lead to marriage. I’ve come to believe that marriage is the most intimate way you can spend your time with someone – we are at our most vulnerable in marriage. I’m not saying you’ve got to know someone as long as you knew a parent before deciding it’s time to get married. But let the knowing seep in so you can put your finger on it, trace its rings (feel the cracks), and see if there’s room for growth .  What do you think?
















  1. I love this gal. 1995, right? 6,935. Soul.

  2. Thanks for visiting my post with the photo-poem “Round dance.”
    I see you like this way of combining the visual with language narrative.
    The picture of something distant helps us to avoid sentimentality – the great enemy of poetry.

    • Hi Andrzej,

      Thank you for your comment. And yes, I love combining the visual element with language narrative.
      They work so well together and your photography is wonderful.

  3. I absolutely love this poem. The words. The meaning behind it. And the feeling that even though you said everything you needed to say, I understand the question of whether or not it’s complete. I get it.

    • Hi!

      I’m so glad you “get” it. And, at this point, I do think it’s complete. Like you said, I really did say everything I needed to say.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.


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