Sunday, February 2, 2020

Poem: Pronunciation

As a child, I was perhaps a little more self righteous and indignant than I am now. The more people I meet, the more mistakes I make, the more I come to understand how we’re all just people. I’m not saying we should just forget every mistake, but if we take the time to try to understand, it can make relationships easier.

Take names for instance.

I have a unique one: Azelyn. No, not the lion as I’ve said countless times before and will say countless times again. Many people have trouble pronouncing or spelling it. It’s Az-lin for those wondering, and the spelling is actually an alternate spelling to its Hebrew origins, Aslin (meaning: spared by the Lord). See, it’s not like the Turkish Aslan (meaning: lion), which I’ve always pronounce Ass-lan. Yet I’ve been called many names from Aslind to Evelyn to Az. Don’t you dare with that last one. I am not a preposition.

At my latest job, I’m working with new kids and adults on a weekly basis. I meet people from across the world and there are. So. Many. Different. Names. The struggle is real. But I try to say them all. I try really hard. Maybe I don’t always get it right, and when that happens, I’ll ask for the right pronunciation. And I’ll ask again. Maybe again. Because I know how hearing somebody say your name right, even if it’s the third attempt, can make you feel welcome.


I don’t know this word.
My tongue trips over
                                    the pronunciation
one more time,
but what’s really frustrating
are the words I
but can’t say right.

Why is it so hard?

As a child I found
my nose wrinkle at the scent
                        of my name
said wrong
                                    and again
and again.

Didn’t they hear me?

Today I handle new names
like an octopus wrangler
                        touching the syllables
and shrinking back a bit
            but always ready
to try again.

How do you spell that?


Let’s chat! What did you think of the poem? Any of my readers have a unique or difficult-to-spell-or-say name?

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