Getting to Know You

© Matthew Word Bain

reliance on signs
can leave one in a quandary
when the signs have all come down

what is this place?
at one time
its identity was
written on its face
it was labeled

what happens
when we rely on labels
for identification? what happens
to relationship? when we learn the name
of a tree from a textbook do we know the tree?
what do you suppose would happen if instead we sat
beneath the tree twice every day for a whole year
without presuming to know its name?

wandering around this building
for half an hour with only my camera
and my curiosity, I have a much better feel
for who this building is, a feel arising
from the dance of relationship
something no sign or label
would ever be able to provide