She Said Her Name

She Said Her Name

She said her name, but I could not pronounce it;
And so I went and practiced for a while;
The next time that I saw her, then, I said it.
She turned to me with something of a smile

And said, “Most English speakers cannot say that.”
“I had some help, but it just seemed polite,
Now that you’re on the team, to make you welcome,
And show respect by saying your name right.”

It’s hard when you’re away from home the first time,
And harder in a country far away;
A name is like a passport or a treasure,
A bit of home that’s with you every day.

Some people take a new name for the natives
And that’s a type of reaching out, as well:
So long as one’s identity continues
For all have different tales that one might tell

Or might not e’er be told, there is no knowing.
But loneliness and pain, hit all the same;
It’s hard when you’re away from home the first time,
At least we all can bring along
Our name

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One thought to “She Said Her Name”

  1. You’re so thoughtful. I worked with a lot of Indonesians once, and managed almost always to finally say their names correctly, but I still don’t know if I should’ve called one “Oma” (Grandmother) or Jeannie, since she was close to my age. They were all so gracious,, they told me to call them whatever I preferred. There was one Indian girl, though, whose name I simply could not GET. Since I liked her a lot and she was half my age or even less, I called her Cutie rather than mispronounce her own name, but I did ask her first if that was okay! You’re right.. names from home are very important in anyone’s mouth– especially when away from home. I don’t know how these folks do it all with such grace.

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