There’s something strange about forenames
In the Anglophonic world –
We’re pretty relaxed about the unusual
(Like Sue for a boy and Manson for a girl).
I was saying as much
To Anglophone Sutch.

“Ah well,” he replied, “we’ve always been
So easy going in our names.
Indeed, we’re laissez-faire to a fault,
And sometimes turn our children into games.
But that doesn’t mean that we don’t care –
Why, ask my daughter, Laissez-Faire !”

“Could it be a Protestant thing ?”
I asked him, but he shook his head.
“Denmark, Iceland, Germany,
Are just as strict as Spain” he said.
“But why not ask a registrar ?”
And so I turned to Proddy Parr.

“We’re under orders not to interfere,”
She told me, “more or less –
So just last week, I registered
An ‘Octopus’, a ‘Table’ and a ‘Mess’.
Little Britons set to make their mark,
Like ‘Superman’ and ‘Sharky-Shark’.”

“That said, we do have, on occasion,
Cause to be a prudent voice
To overly-creative parents,
When their child will have to bear their choice.
It only takes a quiet word
To stop a ‘Clitoris’ or ‘Turd’.”

“But by and large, we’re mostly made
Of Johns and Janes, and that’s okay –
We’ve got the choice, though, that’s the point !
It seems to work, so what they hey.”
And that is why, my darling child,
I named you Unverboten Wilde !



Nominative Determinism

The Entrepreneur by Kathy Morris


Nominative Determinism

Dammerung Dasching:
A girl with one hell of a heck of a name !
It’s hardly her fault, of course,
She didn’t choose it –
Her thunderbolt handle is hardly her blame –
In fact, it’s absurd,
But her parents once heard
Of the power a moniker has on its wearer,
And children so labelled
Were feted and fabled,
Endorsing their promise upon the proud bearer.
And so she became
An incentive for fame,
Did Dammerung Dasching – the girl in the frame.



Nom de Guerre

Duel !  by


Nom de Guerre

Somewhere out there,
I’m not solitaire,
Cos somebody’s sharing my name.
An unaware pair, we are,
Not quite so rare, we are –
Feels so unfair, but there’s on-one to blame.
I must share a claim
To some unwitting fame –
I ought not to care,
But it still seems a shame:
With names going spare,
It is baffling, I swear,
That two of us bear one the same !



The Name Not Taken



The Name Not Taken

I always wanted to change my name –
But of course I never did.
I’d invent noms de plumes as a game, as a kid,
But be far too embarrassed to tell.
Instead I languished on in the hell
Of my parents’ choice – my nominal shame.
And I never gave voice to my secret name –
The pseudonym that I never became.

But hey, we cannot help the way we’re christened,
And parents cannot ever hope to guess –
And so we get their hand-me-downs
And grow to like them, more – or less.
And maybe also we’re conditioned
By these names with which we’re branded:
Bright Miss Pinks and drab Miss Browns –
We’re bound by handles that we’re handed !

I always wanted to change my name,
But of course I never will.
Though who needs shelter more from unsought fame
Than the bashful-still ?
So my lovingly-crafted pseudonym
Is firmly kept inside,
And it’s too late now to allude to him –
I could never be him if I tried.



Don’t be a Steve

Young Boys Playing Dice by Bartolomé Murillo


Don’t be a Steve

Some are Mikes and some are Harrys,
Some are Davids, some are Barrys,
Some are even Lens and Larrys,
So I do believe.
Some are Gavins, Grants and Garys
Some are Dustins, some are Carys,
As they live and breathe.

Not all children must be Steven,
Some are Karl or Keith or Keven,
Some of them are daughters, even !,
Nora, Nell and Neve.
V or PH ?  Stop deceiving !
Pick a name for high achieving !
Not all kids are Steve.


Incidentally, Bartolomé Murillo’s middle name was Esteban.



A Rose by Any Other Name but This

The Brutal Murder of Jezebel at the Hands of the Baying Mob by Gustave Doré


A Rose by Any Other Name but This

Atheist parents do not breed Jezebels,
Their daughters are precious, not pawns in a game.
Atheist parents may mock what the Bible tells,
But that is no reason to resurrect the name.
It may sound pretty, and the Bible may teach slander,
But why would any parent choose a stripper’s name to brand her ?

Atheist parents do not breed Jezebels,
Their daughters are Marys and Sarahs and Janes.
Atheist parents may not fear burning hells,
But that is no reason for bully-bate names.
It may sound pretty, but it’s home to tarts and brats:
For we cannot name our children in the way we name our cats.



Always Known As

Temperance by Cesar Santos


Always Known As

Elizabeth has never liked her given name
And wants to substitute or rearrange it;
Maybe she should shorten, though that does seem tame:
Elly, Lisa, Bette – they all estrange it.
No, they’re common, twee and lame,
And all too lacking in acclaim.
So she must start afresh, aflame !
She mustn’t just shortchange it.

Elizabeth has never liked the name she’s got,
But ev’ryone who knows her knows her this way –
And even if she calls herself by who-knows-what,
It won’t mean squat – they’ll never come and play.
They’re far too used to it, she knows – it’s what they say,
And even if they try, they’ll slip – they’ll slip a lot.
‘Elizabeth’ she’ll be until her dying day –
Unless she leaves them all behind, for those who know her not…