I shall bestow upon
Each of my children a middle name
Of ancient Greek or Roman origins –
I just hope when they grow up –
They won’t ever speak their middle name
With any trace of shame –
Unlike many people today
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion
and published in Perspectives, ISBN 0-9686250-0-2.
Notes to this poem…
The notion of giving my children Greek and Roman middle names when I’m not even close to either ethnic origin may seem ludicrous. I’m talking about ancient Greek and Roman names, here, like the ones in mythology and of their ancient culture, since there isn’t a modern Roman culture with modern Roman names. Besides, I don’t actually like modern Greek names, much, no offense intended to the culture and any Greeks I know. There are plenty of cultures which’s names I generally dislike far more than Greek. I just wondered what happened to all those beautiful Greek names since those ancient days?
Anyhow, I love Greek and Roman mythology and the names used in them, enough that I would give my children a Greek or Roman middle name, probably more from mythology than from actual history like the Roman generals, senators and the like. There’s a lot of symbolism that goes with it, but that’s also I’d have to be careful because a beautiful name like Persephone, the Greek Goddess of Spring, comes with a tale of being kidnapped by Hades, the Lord of the Underworld, who eventually let her go for half the year to spend in the earthly realm. Hence our seasons explained in that myth.
Now, I’m not stuck on sticking a symbolism to the middle name. I’d probably just use it if I liked it, but you never know what people might make of it later on in life. I do believe names, in some ways, influence your life, to help or hinder things for you in life, possibly even direct you, though not to the extent of determining your destiny. That’s why one has to be careful in choosing baby names if not something rather common and/or traditional.
But what am I writing all this for? The missus would have a huge input in all of this, of course, and I would not want it any other way. For me, though, at this time, I’ve got to do a lot of work to be finding a missus first before I can even think about this kid thing. At least let’s hope I find the missus first before I have to think about this kid thing!
As for some favourite Greek/Roman names, you can count: Artemis, Apollo, Persephone, Romulus, Dionyssus, Calypso (among a whole host of nymph names), Gaea and Rhea (among a few Titan names), and a host of mortal hero and heroine names. Reading the names mentioned again and again in the myths is actually a part of the joy of reading those myths for me. It is really like music to my ears. That’s how much I love those names.
As for a middle I might have wanted? I tend to like the female names a lot more than male names. Look at the list provided in the previous paragraph, for example. However, I am male and would only take a male name, so Apollo would be the answer to that question. Apollo is that Renaissance man sort of God for the arts, enlightenment and such, all those things I strive to be the most, not to mention his athleticism, if there is a thing for the Greek Gods.
Minh Apollo Tan does sound a little strange, I have to admit, even with that multi-gold winter Olympics speed skater Apollo Anton Ohno a few years ago popularizing the Apollo name. But if I had a Greek/Roman middle name, Apollo would be it, for sure. You’d then be able to call me MAT for short. 🙂
The O-series of poems are one stanza poems composed before I got onto writing haiku and tanka, and short poetry while in action or traveling by select means like plane or ferry. These poems are 3-9 lines long with at least one rhyming couplet, and not of the short forms just mentioned. For the sake of elegance, I just called the collection One.