Appellation Celebration

name days
Swedish name day list for February 1712


Appellation Celebration

Name days – we don’t really do them in Britain,
They just feel too Cath’lic and rather mediaeval.
There’s no formal ban – the restraint is unwritten:
It just isn’t done, it would cause an upheaval.

Any anyway, what about Kylie and Kevin
And Tracey and Daisy and Scarlett and such ?
They haven’t a saint all between them in Heaven,
So no second birthdays for Dylan or Dutch.

Though don’t give ideas to Clintons and Hallmark !
They’ll bunch us together and round up each stray:
So Sepp bunks with Joe cos they’re in the same ballpark,
And Dawn and Aurora must share the new day.

But Jack is no Jacob, nor Denholm no Dennis –
Their origins differ, they don’t mean the same.
But who cares in Athens or Moscow or Venice,
Where Simon Says sharing’s the name of the game.

And actually, even within the whole region,
They cannot agree on which dates should apply:
So Emma is honoured in April in Dijon,
But over in Stockholm, she’s praised in July.

Name days – we don’t really do them in Britain,
It’s one of those rituals it’s best to ignore.
And somehow, I doubt we will ever be smitten –
Except, of course, Wodan and Freya and Thor.



Sonnet for the Goats

selective focus photography of white goat
Photo by Djordje Petrovic on


Sonnet for the Goats

Upon the rapture, all believers fly
In rising waves of bodies Heaven-bound,
Abandoning their carnal life on ground
As pious aeronauts come fill the sky;
And leave behind our world of how and why
Which seeks to question that which is profound,
While churches fill too late, and prayer resound
With desp’rate, plaintive pleas, to no reply.
“Oh Lord, we wanted to believe.  No use !
We tried so hard, why must we stay behind
With only hell or void beyond the scythe ?”
But God is done with us, and cut us loose
To face the here and now.  Be not resigned:
Let’s brave the future, godless but alive.



Anon. Smith, Esq.

Decalcomania by René Magritte


Anon. Smith, Esq.

Have you heard about Christian Jewson ?
Lived and died most ordinary
In his flat not far from Euston,
’Cept for his obituary.
Seems that none who knew him, knew:
Was he a Christian or was he a Jew ?

Now our Chris was blond by nature,
Yet his eyes were very dark.
No pork, said his legislature,
Cos he lived that vegan lark.
Was he church or temple sworn ?
Was he of Hebrews or Gentiles born ?

Couldn’t be from both descended,
Thoroughbred, he said, his folk:
Shem or Japheth; never blended –
No mulatto, him, he’d joke.
But beneath these joshing jibes,
Was he the Goyim or was he the Tribes ?

Why keep such parental myst’ry ?
Was shame undersigning doubt ?
Did he even know of his hist’ry ?
Was he scared of finding out ?
Was it glamour, cheap mystique –
Second-hand exotic with a tuppenny chic ?

Chris, I think, was far less caring,
Never much the man of faith.
When he died, his prayers were sparing;
So which heaven holds his wraith ?
Can God even not define
Was he of Semite or Aryan line ?

Now these questions may seem suspect,
Matter none save Chris alone;
Smacks of fear and disrespect
When he has nothing to atone.
Yet still I ask, a son’s remorse:
I’d take either gladly, just give me a source.

The Meeting of Samson & Hercules



The Meeting of Samson & Hercules


“First I killed a Lion, then I wed a Philistine,
And set a Riddle tricky-hard, that nobody could guess;
And when they did, I killed those men and stole their Clothing Fine,
Then put away my Wife because she lured me to Confess.
But then I tried to get her back, and set alight their Crops,
And killed with just a Jawbone many Kinsmen of the Spouse.
I wrecked the Gaza Gates; but whore Delilah made me drop.
My Locks were Cut, my Eyes gouged Shut,
I ground their Grain and heard them Strut.
They Laughed and Ridiculed me, but, I’m Bringing down the House !

We are alike, my Friend, we are alike,
Both you and I:
We long to feel the Kick within,
The Rush to fight, the Rage to win.
I know you Well, my Friend: the Urge to strike,
The Eye for Eye.
Our Patience shot, our Caution scarred,
We Hammer home and Hammer hard.
And that is why we Labour so:
To Cull and Raze, to Crush and Rend.
We Smite this World and Overthrow;
We Soar and Blaze, my Friend.”


“I too slew a Lion, then the vicious Hydra beast,
I caught the Stag, I killed the Boar, and swept the Stables clean,
I stopped the Birds Carnivorous and in their Man-eating Feast,
And captured Bull and Horses, and the Girdle of a Queen,
I rustled Oxen Cattle, and scrumped Apples made of Gold,
I even took old Cerberus for walkies, (out of doors !)
And with that were my Tasks complete, my Duties Dozenfold.
But here I must curb Glorylust,
This List ignores the trailing Dust,
The endless Dash and frenzied Thrust that Drove me through these Chores.

We are alike, my Friend, we are alike,
Both you and I:
We neither one good Husbands make,
Too Quick to blow, too Slow to brake.
I know you Well, my Friend: the bursting Dyke,
The sacred High.
My Wife I killed, my Children too;
My Furies great, my Forethoughts few.
For punishment I Laboured so,
To drain the Pus and make Amend.
I pray this World need ne’er more Know
The Likes of us, my Friend.”


Obviously, the poem isn’t directly related to the film poster (Italy 1963) – I just like it.  The poster, that is, I’ve never seen the movie.  Incidentally, it was relaeased with it’s English dubbing as Hercules, Samson & Ulysses – and no, it wasn’t this particular flick that was redubbed in Hercules Returns.



Following Yonder Star

The Three Wise Men by James McConnell


Following Yonder Star

“…there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.”
Matthew 2:1-2

When we first saw the star, we knew.
The whole of our lives we were waiting for signs,
And here was just such a clue –
And oh, what a clue !  How she shimmers and shines.
What is her news ?
A King of the Jews !
And just in time for the midwinter feast !
A saviour is born,
So set off at dawn,
And follow His star in the east.

As we followed that star, we thought
That our route would take us a strange way yet:
For if Judea were sought,
Then why does she lead us on into Tibet ?
But on we must trek
With the star as our check,
Until the ocean was stopping us dead.
So we chartered a ship
To continue our trip,
Because she was waiting ahead.

So we followed the star by sea –
Always due east would she lead our band,
Until we wise men three
Were finally washed on an unknown land.
And on we went
’Cross the continent
And strange were the people and customs upon.
Then at the next moat
We hadn’t a boat,
So we build one – and so we sailed on.

And we followed the star some more,
Across the African sands we were coming,
Until at last at the Jewish shore
We reached the land for which we were plumbing.
We took from our camels
Fine skins and enamels,
And spices and lapis, all fit for a priest,
And strange silks and feathers
We’d gathered together
From all of the lands of the east.

We knew we could trust her, we sighed,
She brought us all safe where we needed to be.
Now where is the child ?  we cried,
Where is the one who we travelled to see ?
We told the bazaar
How we followed the star
To the King of the Jews, of whom we bespeak.
Then up spoke an urchin:
“How long you been searching ?
They just nailed that guy up last week.”

Waiting for the Adoration

Nativity Scene by Craig Mitchell


Waiting for the Adoration

Twelve days waiting in a barn for them, we were,
For two weeks, nearly, with the horses.
Two weeks of waiting for a bit of gold and myrrh,
And a warning not to fall to Herod’s forces.

The shepherds came by early, but they couldn’t stay for long:
As they’d left their sheep all grazing in the pasture.
(I hoped the wolves weren’t prowling, nor the north-wind blowing strong,
And their truancy not noticed by their master.)

Surely now the census had been tallied up and done,
There must have been some room back in the inn ?
But there we slept, and waited, till the angel told us “Run”…
…Or was it we went home, back to our kin ?

And that, my lad, is how you spent a fortnight in a manger,
Upon the hay – or so we’ve always spun.
They must have used the Julian, those fine-attired strangers,
While you were pure Gregorian, my son !