What’s In a Name?

First published in Contemporary Haibun Online 15:4, January 2020. Originally written in December 2013. See also “Historical Haibun.”


O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

Deny thy father and refuse thy name;

Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love

And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.



Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?


’Tis but thy name that is my enemy:

Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.

What’s Montague? It is nor hand nor foot,

Nor arm nor face, nor any other part

Belonging to a man. O be some other name!

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other word would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,

and for thy name, which is no part of thee,

Take all myself.

                we enjoy the scent

                of the garden flower . . .

                then you ask its name