What’s in a name? That which we call Rosa
by any other name would smell as sweet.
And yet we give each of a hundred species a name
and a name to each of a thousand cultivars.
Would you deny Rosa persica its singular title
or call Rosa canina Rosa kordesii?
Would you claim there’s no difference
between the homes of Rosa carolina and Rosa chinensis
or the thorns of Rosa acicularis and Rosa sericea?
The humble rose is no less lovely with one name or another
yet we honor the beauty of difference with the blessing of language.
If we can give each bud a family, genus, subgenus, and species
can we not respect the names with which our fellow humans define themselves?
Are we not worthy of the same deference as the smallest rose?
[ Written for the August 2016 Carnival of Aces. ]