Eight syllables of Sturm and Drang
That trip along a Teuton tongue
With a click of the heels from brother Wolfgang.
If only Wolf and Hanni tried
The Eidelweiss and Extrawurst,
But they were born in Merseyside –
So less Sachsen, more Anglo-cursed.
Helmholtz-Hertzsprung – what a surname !
H times three and twice Tee-Zed –
They’re triply stung, as if to claim
A ‘Graf’ and a ‘Von’, and be dubbed ‘the Red’.
Her parents gave them the kind of name
That only folks in stories give.
What chance have they of meek and tame
With monikers so transformative ?
They wonder at their German roots,
Though mum’s their mum and not their Mutti.
And their father’s never worn Prussian boots,
And when asked why, he shrugs why should he ?
Of the language, they speak no word,
And their accents sounds less Saar, more Scouse.
So why share names with a yodelling goatherd
As if they’d been raised in a gingerbread house ?
Wolfie tries to harden his Double-Yoo,
But ev’ryone still calls him a softie –
He’s got the wrong voice, where even he struggles to,
And sounding far more pretentious than lofty.
A pair of Frankensteins lacking a zeitgeist,
A Bildungsroman for these misplaced Franks –
Their only reminder of whence their genes spliced
Is that damn Nachname, upping their angst.
Helmholtz sounds like a planetary ship,
While Hertzsprung, like a clockwork core –
Or else a springbok, skittish to skip –
The poor, poor dears !, emburdened with lore.
Their parents gave them the kind of name
That only elves and heroes get –
But theirs it is, to shun or claim…
Could Deutschland be über Alles yet…?
Hannelora Helmholtz-Hertzsprung –
The name of a nuclear engineer –
With phonemes thoroughly washed and wrung
To perfectly balance the Rheinland ear.
How can she live with so much hype ?,
Precision-polished for wide acclaim.
And yes, she knows that’s a stereotype,
But verdammt !, so is her whole damn name !