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
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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
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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.



No-Nonsense Names



No-Nonsense Names

“First name and last name,
That’s all I’ll call you,
No to initials or multiple-barrels,
No truck with nicknames,
Or maidens or middles,
Or unusual spellings and other apparels.
Just pick out a name that you wish to be called by,
And that I shall call you –
That and no other.
So don’t be contrived, or obscure, or untrue,
Though it need not be that which is used by your mother.
Now no lords or ladies, no highness or sir,
Just easy to spell out and easy to read.
And none of that senior, junior, third –
First name and last name, that’s all that you need.
I’ve no time for Bobs or for Bills or for Bazzas,
No time for Mollys or Maggies or Shazzas.
Our names should be sturdy and stately and great,
With every syllable pulling its weight.”



No Sinjun



No Sinjun

Sir John St John the Sixth esquire,
Is strictly iambic and strictly a Saint.
He won’t stand for slurring his old money surname:
His Saint-hood is sacred – so ‘Sinjun’ he ain’t !

Sìr Jòhn Sàìnt Jòhn (to use sprung rhythm)
Was knighthed for service to country and queen.
It isn’t a parvenu baronet title
That’s passed-down with silver and eyes of grey-green.

Sir John St John is a John at the double,
Whose handle is firing both barrels to boot.
The hyphen’s still present, though these days it’s silent –
The fam’ly tree’s old, but it’s still bearing fruit.

Sir John St John is a doctor, also:
Dr Sir John the surgeon, no less.
He once sojourned on a journeyman’s journal
In old St John’s, with its permanent ’s.

Sir John St John has a inborn condition
That makes him assume that we jolly well care.
His symptoms assisted his self-diagnosis:
The syndrome of Sinjun Sinclair.

Sir John St John, (like his father, Sir John),
Insists as the firstborn, his name gets full worth:
He claims both his Johns by the right of tradition,
And claims he’s a Saint by the right of his birth.