girl with towers
Finding Myself by Cassia Arellano



Skyla McLeod, her parents named her,
Hoped to shoot her to the top –
Alas, the ev’ryday has claimed her,
Clipped her wings and let her drop.
She’s just a loser in the sky,
Although she knows it’s all a mock –
For now she only reaches high
By living in a tower block.

Skyla McLeod in her fairy-tower,
Watching the tiny people go,
Pretending that she has the power
To interrupt their to and fro.
But still, her life is not so grim,
When comes her prince, at the end of his shift –
Then she’ll let down her hair for him,
And he’ll ascend (though in the lift).



Mr and Ms



Mr and Ms

If ev’ry man’s a Mister,
Then ev’ry woman is a Miss.
Yes, even those in wedded bliss –
For single, married, we don’t care.

To ev’ry bro and sister,
We each have names, as is the norm –
Yet when we need the family form,
To speak it naked feels too bare –

So Mister and Miss are all we need
To speak to ev’ryone we meet –
For ev’ry face on ev’ry street
Is either Mister or a Miss.

I guess some egos have to feed –
But Baron, Father, Dame or Sir,
I couldn’t care what you prefer –
We each are only this.

Doctors, Captains, Highnesses,
And Justices and Reverends,
This snobby title-tattle ends,
So stick it up your upmanships.

We’re equals all, not more and less,
We’re Miss and Mister, first and last,
We’re colleagues of a single caste –
For life’s too short for sporting pips.



The title should of course be pronounced as ‘mister and miss’.



Smiths & Joneses



Smiths & Joneses

Once there was a time when a man was his surname –
The only name they ever used at school, or in the Guards.
A gentleman at club would be hailed as little better
Than the sappers in the trenches or the inmates in the yards.
Forenames were for sissies and for ladies – or your relatives,
And only then because they else would all be called the same.
Soon as breeched and blazered, they were down to the initial –
All that mattered was the fam’ly silver and the fam’ly name,
But one or two more wily gents had first-names not to be ignored –
Jerome K Jerome and Ford Madox Ford…



Gods’ Breath

wind god


Gods’ Breath

Cry out your name to the wind,
As it gathers and flies,
Let it carry your name on its wing
To the edge of the skies.
Cry out your name to the wind,
And the wind replies –
“I am Aneurin, I am Belinda,
The unseen and wise.
Now I am Cormac, blowing, blowing,
Davina rising, Ezra free –
Soon to be Fortune, waiting, growing –
Filling the sails at mill and sea.
I am the storm and the maelstrom twinned,
The harbinger-bringer, the hurricane eyes !”

So cry out your name to the wind,
And your name shall rise.



Hannah Without the Aitches

Turquoise Beads by Arsen Kurbanov


Hannah Without the Aitches

Anna with an accent,
A European accent –
So she could be from anywhere…
(Well, anywhere but France.)

I’m no good guessing accents
Much beyond ‘North of the Trent’ –
Though ‘Eastern European’,
That must put me in with half a chance.

(In France she would be Anne, see,
With an ‘e’, is what I meant.)
But Anna’s international,
And how those borders love to dance…

But hang on…wait…she’s Ana,
One ‘n’ Ana !  Oh, that’s different !
There’s less and fewer Anas
And so suddenly my odds advance.

Except…there’s Spain…and Portugal…
The Balkans…half the continent !
And yet, I just can’t make those fit,
And I dismiss them at a glance.

Perhaps she’s Anastasia…
She must be Greek or Russian sent !
And Greek ?  I just don’t think she’s Greek –
There’s something Slavic in her stance…

So Russian.  Nazdarovya !
Though by way of cockney Kent,
Where London adds its subtle spice
Into her journeyman’s romance.

In truth, I only know she’s Ana
Maybe Moscow, maybe Ghent.
One day I might just ask her where,
But not today – why break the trance ?



Handle for a Han Girl

woman wearing eyeglasses
Photo by Phong Bùi Nam on


Handle for a Han Girl

Don’t ask me her birth name,
For I never heard it
Till many years later – too late to take root.
No, she was called Clover:
So terribly English,
So strangely old-fashioned, and strangely un-cute.
And pure Anglo-Saxon – her name, but not her –
No, she was as Chinese as any I’ve met,
With excellent English and excellent manners,
Yet bearing the name that was all Somerset.

And as for her birth name,
I knew that she had one,
But she never told me, and I never asked.
And had I been told it,
I’d only be baffled
By which was her first name, and which was her last.
So she plucked a new one, did Clover, a new name –
I don’t know why this name, but this name is she.
She chose it at high school, I gather – they all did,
Her classmates and Clover, they chose who to be.

She still has her birth name,
She hasn’t erased it,
She still has her birth name for using back home –
But here she is Clover
For living in London,
(Though maybe she’s Clio when living in Rome).
We in the West are too jealous of birth names,
We get what we get, and we lump what we got,
Then sneer at the actors and writers for daring –
But Clover is Clover because…well, why not ?







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 !