Jul 01 2009

Pablo Neruda – Too Many Names

Published by at 9:09 am under Ivan's Story,Poetry

Too Many Names
by Pablo Neruda

English version by Anthony Kerrigan

Mondays are meshed with Tuesdays
and the week with the whole year.
Time cannot be cut
with your weary scissors,
and all the names of the day
are washed out by the waters of night.

No one can claim the name of Pedro,
nobody is Rosa or Maria,
all of us are dust or sand,
all of us are rain under rain.
They have spoken to me of Venezuelas,
of Chiles and of Paraguays;
I have no idea what they are saying.
I know only the skin of the earth
and I know it is without a name.

When I lived amongst the roots
they pleased me more than flowers did,
and when I spoke to a stone
it rang like a bell.

It is so long, the spring
which goes on all winter.
Time lost its shoes.
A year is four centuries.

When I sleep every night,
what am I called or not called?
And when I wake, who am I
if I was not while I slept?

This means to say that scarcely
have we landed into life
than we come as if new-born;
let us not fill our mouths
with so many faltering names,
with so many sad formalities,
with so many pompous letters,
with so much of yours and mine,
with so much of signing of papers.

I have a mind to confuse things,
unite them, bring them to birth,
mix them up, undress them,
until the light of the world
has the oneness of the ocean,
a generous, vast wholeness,
a crepitant fragrance.

— from Neruda: Selected Poems, by Pablo Neruda / Translated by Anthony Kerrigan

/ Photo by Swami Stream /

I just received word that my mother is in the hospital with brain cancer. Still a lot of questions about how she’s doing and what the next step is for her in her treatment.

Today I dedicate this poem to my mother, Jan.

…until the light of the world
has the oneness of the ocean,
a generous, vast wholeness…

Pablo Neruda, Pablo Neruda poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Pablo Neruda

Chile (1904 – 1973) Timeline
Secular or Eclectic

More poetry by Pablo Neruda

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Pablo Neruda – Too Many Names”

  1. narinderon 01 Jul 2009 at 10:57 am

    ivan is beautiful……………..

    he does not remember his mother only on the Mothers day ………….!

    in India of yore ,we never observed such days of remembrance …………. because to us ,mother was always God ……….father was always God …….. the Acharya (guru) was always God …………

    God realisation was the aim of Life and living ………….. and every experience contributed to our movement towards God ……

    today ,time has brought new thoughts …. we also remember our mother only on Mother’s day,and send her flowers and gifts …

    ivan is the Lord’s beloved ……… because Ivan does not remember his mother ,ONLY on the Mothers Day ….


  2. patricia grahamon 01 Jul 2009 at 11:47 am

    I will be sending healing thoughts to your mother and ask the angels to be with you and your family. I am sorry to hear about Jan’s illness.

  3. manpreet kauron 01 Jul 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Dear Ivan ji

    Wish you a lot of courage, you had a lot of suffering lately in life.
    All i can offer is to remember you and your mother in my prayers. I will… every day.
    Take good care of yourself!

  4. Shernazon 01 Jul 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Just read this Ivan. I too send thoughts of healing and love to your mother. May the Lord be with her and you in this difficult time.

  5. Tom M.on 01 Jul 2009 at 8:41 pm

    I will say prayers for your mother and your family. Our family had to deal with brain cancer. Courage.

  6. Aristideson 02 Jul 2009 at 2:34 am

    How sad! Hope God gives you all courage and eventually healing. Maybe consulting a healer would help (eg Sufi Shaykh Taner Ansari -based in New York- in his book “Alternative healing, the Sufi way” claims he has healed many patients of cancer and offers instructions for healing. Shaykh Hakim Moinuddin Chisthi who also wrote excellent books on healing is based in the States). I will pray for your mother.

  7. Ivan M. Grangeron 02 Jul 2009 at 8:11 am

    Thank you, everyone, for the compassionate notes.
    My mother was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon, and we’re now discussing what sort of treatment she wants to pursue and what she wants to avoid. She’s clear-minded and generally in good spirits…

  8. Mimion 02 Jul 2009 at 11:40 am

    My prayers are with you and your mother – Ivan. Remain peaceful…

  9. nasiha manikon 05 Jul 2009 at 12:26 am

    hi Ivan,
    best wishes to you and your mum and may you find courage during tough times

  10. aparnaon 09 Jul 2009 at 12:23 am

    Ivan i’m very happy for you and your Mom.
    Take care always.

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