I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Monday, 20 February 2012

Hair Today And Gone Tomorrow

One of the great joys and freedoms of poetry is that no subject, however apparently perverse or prosaic, is taboo. It just depends on how that subject is treated: the style's the thing. I once wrote a poem about a tooth extraction, and now I seem to have cobbled together in bed last night a piece of the lightest of verse about body hair. As is often the case when I write a poem — though I would hesitate to call these flippant and casual stanzas a Proper Poem, so Simon Armitage can rest easy — I toyed around with a few lines in bed last night (don't worry, it's perfectly legal), then finished it off in my head on waking a couple of hours ago. Although I have a reasonable head of hair, it has been pointed out to me that there is a gently thinning patch at the back. It's impossible for me to see this — except when, at the hairdresser's, my sadistic coiffeuse, seeking approval for her cutting and styling skills, shows me the back of my head in a mirror. Needless to say, I never look, turning my gaze towards the woman in curlers on my right who's reading 'Hello!" magazine or the old hippie on my left with hair spilling thickly over his shoulders. To think that my own hair was like this when I was eighteen!   

Hairy Poem

Hair sprouts in most mysterious ways
And in unwanted places;
In cracks and crevices it coils,
In erstwhile hairless spaces:

Like in the ears and up the nose
And even from the shoulder;
Yet hair upon the head grows less
The more that one grows older.

Some think it cute to be hirsute
On chest and leg and thigh;
Myself, I'd rather trade this for
A thicker thatch on high.


I suppose this could go on and on, but I think we've all had enough, and, anyway, it's time for breakfast. Oh, and I mustn't forget I've got an appointment with the hairdresser later...

18 comments:

Bouncing Bertie said...

Lovely little poem.
I was most diverted to learn, when simultaneously filling in a tax form and on the side conducting some research for a blog post on Burns Night, that Scotland's Bard wrote a couple of poems about tax collectors.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, I knew the descent had started when I saw hair on my toes! When did that start..?

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for this, BB. It would be good to compile a list of the strangest subjects poems have been written about...

That's a big piece of self-disclosure to make to the world, Rachel! Are you sure we were ready for it..?

Rachel Fox said...

Well, there isn't that much!

And I was surprised to make it through the WV!

Friko said...

If that is what you come up with at night and you remember it in the morning, can I have what you have for a nightcap?

ksam said...

My face hurts from laughing at your post and the responses!! The ladies will appreciate..we too have these issues sometimes. Someone else referred to the occasional thing that will sprout on the chin as eyebrows gone astray! Sorry, I know...TMI!! :-o

Danish dog said...

Forgive me for tinkering with this to double the number of rhymes. (I'm just back from the hairdresser's myself.)

Hair sprouts in most mysterious ways
And in unwanted places;
In cracks and crevices it plays,
In erstwhile hairless spaces.

Like up the nose and in the ears
And even on the shoulder;
Yet from the head it disappears
The more that one grows older.

Some think it cute to be hirsute
On chest and leg and thigh;
Myself, I'd rather substitute
A thicker thatch on high.

The Solitary Walker said...

Congratulations to everyone on making it through the optical challenge of the WV! Somehow it makes your comments seem all the more precious.

Friko — the answer is obvious, isn't it? A hot marmite drink...

And Karin — great to hear your laughter! 'The occasional thing / That will sprout on the chin...' Sounds like you're composing verse number 4 there. (BTW, I once dined in a refectory full of nuns on the camino — many sporting rather more than a mere suggestion of beard and moustache...)

Danish dog — many thanks for this! I do think you have improved it. Excellent!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Can't help wondering just how long this poem kept you awake in its composing Robert.

Susan Scheid said...

Wonderfully silly! And to think it all comes from a Marmite nightcap. Oy!

George said...

Well done and very funny, Robert! Ah, the pleasures of getting older, watching new things appear and familiar things disappear, all leading to the overwhelming question: Who the hell is that guy? Writing down a few choice words, as you have done skillfully, helps to answer the question—but only for a day, only until the next weird strand announces its presence, or the hairline furtively recedes another millimeter.

Ruth said...

Oh bravo for this delight. Remember the poem I wrote with something about plucking my chin? Thanks for the word "hirsute" which is new to me.

The Solitary Walker said...

Took approximately 23 minutes before sleep and 13 and a half minutes on waking up, Pat.

Hi Susan! Of course, I meant Marmite with a Baileys chaser...

George, my little bit of nonsense certainly seemed to strike home with you, my friend! I'm sure you agree we need to hang on to the Zen notion of life being in constant flux. Things appear, things disappear. And what the hell, at the end of the day. The strands of life are just plain weird — but interesting.

Ruth! Your own poem — bristling with honesty — was my inspiration!

The Solitary Walker said...

For everyone's information, I have disabled the WV feature (you have to do it via the old Blogger interface) and would advise everyone to do the same (you can still moderate comments if you wish). Liberation!

Goat said...

I haven't done lines in bed since the 80s, SW - about the last time I had a decent mop on top. It was magnificent, actually, dead straight, long and looked splendid bleached and cut in a 'Raw Power'-era Iggy style when I was in a rock band - which made it all the crueller when the retreat from the frontline began soon after.

I think it was about that time I realised that if there was a God, he was a perversely cruel fellow. Ever since, I've shaved my head with a Bic razor once or twice a week. Beating God to the punchline, I called it. I couldn't bear having a paid professional deal with it, I'm much too vain.

Great verse!

The Solitary Walker said...

That's a very vivid picture you paint, Goat. I did so enjoy it. And I wasn't aware, up till now, that Aunt Nora was related to alopecia. The things you learn while blogging!

Nick said...

An interesting poetical adventure to be sure. Oh how envious would the late great Mr McGonagall have been had he been able to read it.

The Solitary Walker said...

Envious? I could have sworn I heard him turning in his grave, Nick!