Please Don't Call Me Robert

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RobSRice's avatar

Literature Text

My parents "Rob-ed" me at my birth,
And, in its cardboard frame,
My birth certificate makes clear
That "Rob" is my first name.
And only that is why I scream
Until it starts to hurt,
That, nickname though just "Rob" might seem,

I've no aversion to that name,
In fact, I think it fine.
It's nothing to dislike or blame,
It's just that it's not mine.
I've known 'Roberts' throughout my life,
In fact there's one I Love,*
But still it cuts me like a knife
And hits me like a shove.

That name, from Latin noun robur
Means "heart of oak," and "strong."
Robustus, "fit," comes from the same,
And "mighty"'d not be wrong.
The name I bear, because my folks
Saw fit that name to give,
Means merely "Rob" because, no jokes,
It's the diminuitive.

The U.S. Navy (which I love)*
Gives me the higher title.
It should not hit me like a glove,
I really shouldn't bridle.
It's just, although I asked and balked,
"Robert" Rice, just last year,
Received all credit when I talked,
And will again, I fear.

I'm not the only one I know
Who's had such grounds to rant
This problem once, some years ago,
Vexed Cadet Hiram Grant.
West Point inscribed his name all wrong,
It stuck to him like gravy,
But still I raise my plaintive song,
And hope more of the Navy.

And so, upon two bended knees,
Too mournful for a caper,
I beg you now, I ask you--PLEASE!
If you should print this paper:
Don't let "Robert" steal all my praise,
But leave my name as natal.
The way the job market's these days,
The error could prove fatal!

(And for this verse, apology--
The light above me dims,
But I might claim analogy
And cite William S. Sims!)

*The recipient of this poem was Dr. ROBERT Love at the United States Naval Academy, who had invited me to lecture at a Naval History symposium.  Or rather... he invited ROBERT Rice.  I punned on his name, which is NOT a good idea for someone named 'Rice.'
A poem written in anguish, not hostility.  It is self-explanatory, or rather, only needed the one note to be explanatory.
© 2015 - 2024 RobSRice
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Mavraster's avatar
I will not 'Rob' you of your name.
I will not give you shame.
I know this feeling for myself,
for I too have been shelved.

Some doppelganger took the praise!
Adulation, attention, and a pay-raise!
After asked for whom this was for,
It was a twin, now numbered in score.

I won't take a name in vain,
less I give it back again.

Sorry if the poem-reply is cudgeled, just 'free-thought' it, but it is sincere, having had many a like problem.