What’s in a name?

“If you ask me my name, take the time to spell it correctly. Take the time to learn to say it correctly, and I’ll do the same with yours.” ~   Icess Fernandez Rojas (Journalist), in response to Starbucks’ practice of writing its customer names on cups – and getting it wrong a lot of the time…


My name is not the same as yours;
Yours is not the same as mine.
So when you ask my name, take time to
Find out how to say it as I like it to be said.
Take time to spell it as I like it to be spelled
And I’ll make sure I tell you how.

Take time and treat my name with some esteem;
Accept my name the way it seems,
Don’t stare at me looking all quizzical;
It’s a name, not something metaphysical.

If you’ve found that it sounds strange to you
Then please – don’t guess at what you’ve heard
Or write down something quite absurd –
A name that certainly isn’t mine,
Take time, and ask me how it’s spelled,
And if you can’t tell first time around
Then ask again, and listen to its sound;
Listen to me, and watch my lips,
Listen to how I carefully pronounce
The vowels, spell out consonants;
It’s important that we get names right,
So take time, all our names are personal;
They may be easy or exceptionally
Difficult to say or spell; some may seem unusual
To you, but every person’s name is precious.

Names should not be objects to be mocked
Or slighted because you can’t be arsed
To get it right; maybe you find it comical –
Reminds you crudely of parts anatomical –
Or conjures innuendo in your mind –
Because I mind, – it winds me up
Because my name belongs to me,
As much a part of my identity,
As how I look, the way I speak and
Where I’m from; names don’t make us freaks,
So don’t tell me my name sounds odd because – guess what?
I’ve had it all my life, so to me – it’s not!

And this is not about pretention or being politically correct,
I simply want to mention that names are things
That we should treat with much, much more respect.

© 2013


Filed under Poetry

5 responses to “What’s in a name?

  1. Amen, brother. I feel as a ‘Martin Pryce’ that I almost have my own tag line…”Martin with an ‘I’, Pryce with a ‘Y’!”

  2. Well you know my views! 😀

    “Then please – don’t guess at what you’ve heard
    Or write down something quite absurd”

    It would be impossible for me to count how many times this has happened to me. Enjoyed this loads.

  3. Isobel

    Ohhh – I feel even more guilty now. Great poem though. Isobel (not Isabel) x

  4. I can most defenitly relate to this! 🙂 my surname (Le Sueur) is quite difficult to pronounce and to spell and I got very upset with teachers in school! Haha loved it

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