My name’s Gail.
And that’s where I fail
A name so short to no avail-
Quick to write, no signature flourish,
Really not much there to encourage:
Nothing romantic or remotely lyrical,
Much less some eponymous miracle…
Though my mum’s assured me over the years
She and my dad, they chose it with care,
Hyphenated (if you will!)-
A very particular role to fill…
My mother and father naming me
After a nun, you see.
That’s quite absurd,
And not an epithet I’ve ever heard,
A name so brief it’s barely a word,
Unusual still, and vaguely absurd.
But peeling away at my discontent
I instantly feel myself relent
To hear of love and hope in the tale*
Explaining why my name is Gail.
‘Veronica’ as a name preceded
With parents thinking more was needed,
This, a name that could be shortened
But chosen because it was important.
So Gail-Veronica I became,
A lengthy and unfortunate name,
Hyphenated…(don’t you know!)
More preventative measure
Than just for show…
Though a head-turning moment
And volubly eloquent
When summoned from play
By parental dismay…
*I’ve been form filling for England and St George lately, applying for jobs. The constant need to cite my original family name (Grostate…) drew me to thinking about the repeated complications this has caused me over the years.
My mother, an East-ender(!) and my father, Indian by birth, met at church in the late 50s at a time when mixed-race relationships were taboo. Sister Veronica, among others, was instrumental in their being able to marry. They stayed the course against all odds until my father died in 1999.