Smiths & Joneses
Once there was a time when a man was his surname –
The only name they ever used at school, or in the Guards.
A gentleman at club would be hailed as little better
Than the sappers in the trenches or the inmates in the yards.
Forenames were for sissies and for ladies – or your relatives,
And only then because they else would all be called the same.
Soon as breeched and blazered, they were down to the initial –
All that mattered was the fam’ly silver and the fam’ly name,
But one or two more wily gents had first-names not to be ignored –
Jerome K Jerome and Ford Madox Ford…
This poem is dedicated to William Carlos Williams.