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…



Dropping Aitches

clearly not a reference to hydrogen


Dropping Aitches

To all you Saras, saying it like Sarah,
Can’t you see the puzzlement you sow ?
Now we’ve got Claras wanting to be Claira –
Just how is the reader then to know ?
There’s nothing wrong with Sara,
Tiara and mascara –
She’s sounds as posh as Tara, all plumminess and wealth.
There’s nothing wrong with Sarah,
But Sara’s rather rarer –
It seems so much unfairer by slurring her by stealth  –
Sara is not Sarah –
Sahara, not sierra –
Since she must be the wearer, let’s her be herself !



Tilly in Potentia

close up of pink baby booties
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


Tilly in Potentia

Will she be sensible ?  Will she be silly ?
Will she be rosy or will she be lily ?
Will she be grungy or will she be frilly ?
Will she be steamy or will she be chilly ?
Whatever she’s like, be it willy or nilly,
She won’t be like Polly or Sally or Milly,
She won’t be a Molly and won’t be a Billy –
She’ll always be utterly, strutterly, Tilly !



Pseudo for Two



Pseudo for Two

Oh yes, my love, yes !  Oh I shall, yes, I shall !
Oh, I shall take your hand – but alas not your name.
Now, pray do not think me an ungrateful gal,
But must we be titled and branded the same ?
I know, yes, I know – it makes us a union –
(And as reasons go, well, that’s not a puny one.)

But, honestly, darling, your name is, well…bland.
In no way notorious, curious, grand,
Nor pithy and sharp, nor noble and fine.
It’s boringly ordin’ry, jars most discordantly,
Wholly abundant, redundant and panned.
(And woe, don’t I know, so is mine !)

There’s nothing else for it, we each must do better –
Let’s cast both asunder, and start out anew.
We’ll tailor each phoneme and polish each letter,
To craft us a cognomen worthy and true.
Dynasties ?  Damn them !  Just patriarch fetters –
Anonymous rungs of begats and begetters.

Soon, my love, soon, shall the world know our name,
And sing out each syllable, ring out each tone.
And suitably christened, we’ll join in the game –
Inhabit our alias, make it our own.
And if they should wonder at who we became –
It’s only a label by which we are known.



This is written with a female voice, since they’re the ones used to changing names.



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.



Eponym’s Syndrome

clinician writing medical report
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com


Eponym’s Syndrome

When news is bad, then no-one thanks the messenger –
But rest assures, there follows much renown.
To make ones names can prove a fickle blessing:
Why, just ask Dr Parkinson or Dr Down.
Perhaps Dr Tourette has got off lightly,
In only causing ridicule and jokes,
Whereas for Dr Alzheimer or Dr Weil
There’s no-one ever pleased to hear those folks.

As if they’re gothic surgeons in a castle or a lair,
Meddling in such knowledge as should best remain unknown:
With Dr Hodgkin’s evil laugh and Dr Creutzfeldt’s crazy hair,
All nations tremble at the wrath of Drs Asperger and Crohn.

It’s sure no way to treat such heroes,
To have their good name turned to bad
As patients spit their syllables,
And lose whatever little hope they had.
These doctors, whose labours we ought to hail,
Have found themselves as harbingers of doom.
Do nurses fear to yet invoke these names
That always seem to summon up the tomb ?

As if they’re puffed-up prettyboys all posing in their lab,
All engineering new diseases, socket-wrenching genes apart,
Chasing fame at any price, copywriting ev’ry scab –
Until we gawp at Dr Bell’s and Dr Turner’s works of art.

When news is bad, there’s no-one thanks the messenger –
But better, surely, that we know than not ?
And largely thanks to these unwitting fathers,
These conditions shan’t soon be forgot.
And yet, for each new syndrome that they spawn,
Their children must carry their touch –
There’s few whose work can reach so many lives,
And few whose name is cursed so much.

As if they’re ancient tragic heroes, fighting with the gods,
To bite the apple, steal the fire, always seek the new –
Can we catch their genius, to bear their brand against the odds ?
Though maybe less of Dr Frankenstein, and more of Dr Who.