The Naming of the Shire

For the creation of the Barony of Politarchopolis, I composed a poem about the most controversial event in our history: the long-winded and painful process the Politarchopolans went through to register the name with the College of Heralds.

[July, 1995]

In the dark old days of Lochac, when the Berries ruled the land
And the iron heel of Rowany trampled every heart and hand,
Came a wizened, sagely greybeard with his fairly youngish wife
On a voyage to the highlands, there to start a better life.

When they came upon a river nestled in among the hills
They declared their search was over, lest they both expire of chills.
Uttered Agvar in a mighty voice: “Let Lochac know that this
“Is the newest shire in all the world, we’ll call… ummm… bugger, we need a name…”

“Never mind, my darling Agvar, answered Zoran Belvedere,
“We shall find ourselves a herald who can name this new frontier.”
So they called before them Dafydd, saying “Something is amiss!
“So research a proper name to give… ah, this place here… you know…”

Now the welshman known as Dafydd took the job, and he was keen,
So he asked the folks assembled, “What should such a title mean?”
Kiriel was first to answer, saying “Give me one more kiss!”
“Ah,” he said, “in old Phoenician, that’s Poo La Tokkoo Perloo-oss… no, doesn’t really work…”

“Bugger that!” said handsome Brusi, who was newly authorised,
“We should choose a name like thunder! Leave all others traumatised!
“What’s a word,” he asked of Daffyd, “meaning ‘Feasts and rowdiness’?”
“Well in French, the best translation is ‘Per lieu ton quam pra lodde… nope, so near and yet… not quite.”

They were getting fairly desperate, for the shire was growing old,
Yet it lacked a proper title for its people’s hearts to hold.
“What about,” said Hrolf Herjolffsen, “saying ‘Ignorance is bliss’?”
“That,” said Dafydd, “done in Spanish is ‘Polly Tor Karoobly Spodd’… oh, that’s not it at all…”

Now the folk were getting restless, for the shire by now was huge
And they grey extremely tired of the heralds’ subterfuge:
“There’s a lot of politicians in our fair metropolis!”
“Then in English,” Dafydd answered, “that’s Politarchopolis!”