20 Nov
Posted in: Poems
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All Of Us

I’m back from the retreats in Mississippi and Tennessee and now, of course, must turn my attention to laundry and grocery shopping and sorting through mail. Which is not that much different, really, than walking and sitting, because there are always thoughts and emotions and sounds and sensations….all coming and going….all pretty much all on their own. The mind is amazing. It never fails to put on a show.

For today’s post, I offer this poem, which I have chosen for many reasons… mostly unknown.


Too Many Names
by Pablo Neruda

Mondays are meshed with Tuesdays
and the whole week with the whole year.
Time cannot be cut
with your exhausted 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 Paraguays;
I have no idea what they are saying.
I know only the skin of the earth
and I know it has no 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 lasts 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 I while I slept?

This means to say that scarcely
have we landed into this 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 signing of papers.

I have a mind to confuse things,
unite them, make them new-born,
mix them up, undress them,
until all light in the world
has the oneness of the ocean,
a generous, vast wholeness,
a crackling, living fragrance. 

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