Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Since I wrote this poem at least half a decade ago, Chloe has already left the pink-trimmed cot well behind. ('Cot' is what we Irish, as well as the English, call a crib.) My old poetry is not very cheerful. I spent most of my twenties moping.

The TV said that this year’s favourite name
For girls is Chloe. Just why it was plucked
From its archaic mothballs, who can say?
Somehow, those syllables ring out today
In pleasing tones. Now Chloe slumbers, tucked
In a pink-trimmed cot. But soon will come to fame

Some teenage girl behind a microphone
Who’ll need no surname; Chloe tops the charts.
Then pre-pubescent girls will hear all good
In those lights sounds, all dreams of womanhood.
A few months on, and Chloe will sprain hearts.
Shy, lanky boys will solemnly intone

Her name in empty rooms. Old madrigals
Will thrill again, but not for very long.
Soon Chloe scans a resumé and asks
Tense graduates about high-pressured tasks.
And soon, a grey-haired Chloe sings a song
That holds her name, unheard, as evening falls.


  1. 'Chloe will sprain hearts'.

    Even if a person has a common or even fashionable name, it is their name only. Another poem for my list of favourites! Thank you for posting it.

  2. Thanks! Working in a library definitely makes you aware of these fashions and I find them terribly poignant. Only with girls, for some reason. It seems less of a big deal with boys. 'Lauren' and 'Shona' are fashionable names amongst Irish undergraduates right now.

    I think the poem could have done with another verse. I don't like the way it jumps from puberty to old age, with barely a rest-stop for middle age. I remember in primary school, when I was twelve, the teacher taught us a song called 'The Circle Game', which included the lines:

    And they tell him take your time it won't be long now
    Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down

    I think it is almost sadistic to teach children a song like that. I remember how much it depressed me at the time. So I'm a bit bothered that I did something a bit like it in this poem.

  3. I didn't think it was terribly depressing, but I see what you mean. There is a slightly sad undertone there.