Photo by Ono Kosuki on


We know who is the hero of the story
By their name,
Who overcomes the Pharaoh
And is master of the game.
They may be short and strong, like John,
Or florid, like Lysander.
But nobody can take the conn
When called by something blander.

Our names say who’s the hero,
Who’s the villain, who’s the fodder –
The latter, if they’re named at all,
Are given names which keep them small.
Who’s an agent of the Bureau ?,
Who’s a desk-bound plodder ?
Why do you even have to ask ?,
Their nametags clearly show their task.

We know who is the hero,
And the hero ain’t called Nigel
But when your name is Nero,
Then you’re Emperor of Rigel !
Nigels never save the day,
And clearly Richards have to lose,
The Mauds won’t steal our hearts away.
And Tracys never make the news.

Our names say who are heroes,
Standing-out from us bystanders.
The latter, if they get a shot,
Are only there to serve the plot.
There’s millions – so many zeroes –
Never Homer, always Flanders.
Yet still the parents set the stage
And give their children names of beige.

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