The Name Denotes the Mood
by Pamela L. Atkinson

A name takes on so many forms
It’s hard to tell which one’s the norm
Depending on the mood of the caller
Will it be loving, or yelled in a holler?
Will I respond in love, or in a storm?

“Pamela Lynne!” filled me with dread
Hearing it meant trouble. What had I said?
“Pammie, come play,” shouted my nephews.
How could this loving heart ever refuse?
Each greeting warns me of what lies ahead.

“Pamela,” formal . . . they don’t really know me.
“PL” an endearment for me. You see?
“Pam,” by co-workers when passing by.
“Ms. A” by students brings a happy sigh.
I wonder which name would be etched in a tree.

“Hey Bitch!” Oops, I’ve made somebody mad.
“That’s a dear,” my help made her feel glad.
In what manner would you like me to respond?
Think carefully, use a name of which I am fond
So that my response doesn’t make you feel bad.

IMAGE: “Pamela” stickers from

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve always been fascinated by all the names we go by and the moods that each name creates. This poem is just me having a little fun as I ponder all the names by which I am known.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pam Atkinson is a long-time educator who writes to keep her sanity. She has written poems and autobiographical stories for family and friends from childhood to old ladyhood. When not correcting papers, writing lessons, or reading a good book, you will find her, with her laptop or notebook, writing away.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: This photo was taken in Merced, California, in 2014 during a family reunion photo shoot. I love being surrounded by my family.