Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Too many names

I place a spell on time
It knew not what day is today
Nor what hour is shaping 
It slurred like a hapless driver 
With no hands to tally
coins and bills
beginnings and endings
My clock danced with no shoes 
and threw pebbles across the pond

What of my given birth name
Tying me to a place
Where every girl born is given
the first name Mary 
And the last name is everyone's
last name in the town
And even if someone 
writes my name on the sand 
Ocean tide erases them
like rain cleansing away chalk marks
What am I called when I am newly born
like budding blooms in season
My mouth filled with rain & nectar

At night, I hang up 
all the labels I wear- wife,
mother, employee, citizen, daughter
And fold away
all the names & letters I have been called
I put on the color of earth 
And dabble on my cheeks 
the blush and perfume of flowers
The veil of the moon covers me

I, the unnamed one,
into the wholeness of sky-

Title and poem inspired by Pablo Neruda's Too Many Names poem.

Written for D'verse Poets Pub -Writing a Poem In response - Hosted by Mary ~

Thanks for the visit ~  Picture credit:  here


  1. Where I grew up everyone had the last name Whynot. Whu not huh? lol shedding labels and lingering into the unknown can be soothing.

  2. This touches me deeply. These sections are especially powerful:

    "What of my given birth name
    Tying me to a place
    Where every girl ..."

    "What am I called when I am newly born ...
    My mouth filled with rain & nectar"

    "At night, I hang up
    all the labels I wear ...
    And fold away"

    "I put on the color of earth"

    "I, the unnamed one,
    into the wholeness of sky"

  3. I love the abstract image within this:

    "My clock danced with no shoes
    and threw pebbles across the pond"

    The somberness in this:

    "And even if someone
    writes my name on the sand

    Ocean tide erases them"

    and the intense connection to nature and love in this:

    "I put on the color of earth
    And dabble on my cheeks
    the blush and perfume of flowers
    The veil of the moon covers me

    I, the unnamed one,
    into the wholeness of sky-"

    Such a beautiful poem, Grace. :)

  4. Such a dream to find freedom! Your images invoke both the freedom and must be escaped to find it--time, place and the names that call us into obedience. Magnificent poem!

  5. Oh, Grace. I love the original poem, which I had not read in some time. Thank you.

    And your response? Simply stunning. Those last two stanzas touch me deeply, hold me fast.

  6. This is beautiful, Grace, really one of my favorites of yours; and it is a wonderful response to Neruda's. "And even if someone writes my name in the sand ocean tide erases them...." Just lovely wordings. You really aced this prompt. And I can see the influence of Neruda on your writing oftentimes, Grace.

  7. This is beautifully rendered ... haunting, really, in that I think it would resonant with so many women, universally. I can imagine it being spoken aloud, softly, in that letting-go monotone end-of-another-day (of being so much to so many) voice that comes before sleep.

  8. I have just recently started reading Neruda. thank you

    Grace was on our list of baby names years ago for my firstborn ^_^

  9. Names, names and names..........................yet we forget exactly who we are.......................

  10. The first apple
    A written word..
    a nibble of distance
    from God then.. now..
    UniVerse away
    from real..
    oh.. labels
    oh.. illusions
    you are
    not real..
    but i play
    with you
    just for fun..
    sMiLes.. just
    for fun.. now..:)

  11. A fantastic response to Pablo's poem :D especially adore the closing lines. Beautiful work Grace :D

    Lots of love,

  12. I simply love this Grace. I have found myself that my own writing becomes so much better connecting with the world of Neruda, but i have never read something that talked to me so much like this... I find it fascinating that we name children as if we ever knew what they would be... In some culture you are given a real name only when it's clear what you become... like a flower blooming... and then in the end it's just oneness with the soil... so many great thoughts in this (and in Neruda's words). This is why I loved your poet prompts so much at toads...

  13. Oh Grace, that closing couplet is simply stunning....one reads and imagines having the same first name as every other girl, then the putting away of all the roles and the escape into the "wholeness of sky". Sigh. Just perfection.

  14. Thank you for posting this poem - I'd not read it and absolutely love it.

    Your response is excellent. I especially like your last two stanzas. I smiled at the idea of neatly folding up all the titles/roles we wear and placing them on a chair for the night ... We really do that, don't we? The REMs don't care who we are. And I loved the idea of dabbing the flower scent upon our cheeks --
    I always smooth an aloe treated cream on my arms and legs - that stuff of earth as we join the dusk.
    Oh, my mind wanders with this one. I like it very much!

  15. What a meaningful poem you chose to respond to, Grace, I loved it. The last verse of your poem gave me such a feeling of freedom. To take off all the labels and just BE...exquisite.

  16. Like Zorba, I've had many names, HS nickname, three stepfathers, Nav name, theatrical name, college name, grandparent's name & on & on. Never met my father, so that is a phantom name added to the list.
    This is a stunning piece, Grace, the woman's POV, & yet so much more. Any/all of the lines could be quoted, not just the ones mentioned; just wow.

  17. One somehow are made to sdjust to maintain the dignity of self. Leave whatever had been during the day and retire nameless and start the new day without worrying about yesterday


  18. Wonderful It sounds really liberating to release yourself into the sky. It also makes me wonder about the morning and drawing ourselves into the specific and tangible. =)

  19. I love this imagery: "My clock danced with no shoes
    and threw pebbles across the pond"---it is so lush and full of beauty.

  20. This is really good! One of my favorites you've written.

  21. Sooo beautiful!! Thanks dear Grace!! xoxox

  22. Just enjoyed this so much, Grace. As I was reading, I tried to guess who was your inspiration and I thought of Wallace Stevens. In any case, you can't beat Neruda who is in my top ten list of favorite poets. But, you know, hanging around dVerse, there are many "unknowns" that could fit up there, too.

  23. this is wonderful
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