POEM OF THE DAY

The Herald - - OBITUARIES . - WITH LES­LEY DUN­CAN

There is a par­ent’s pang of sad­ness be­hind the lit­tle boy’s first proper hair­cut, the snipped golden locks hav­ing been also some­thing that bound him to his child­ish past, now open­ing up to vis­tas of in­de­pen­dence. Paul Henry’s lines come from Po­ems That Make Grown Women Cry (Si­mon and Schus­ter UK, £9.99) and are play­wright Stephanie Dale’s choice.

DAY­LIGHT ROB­BERY

Silent as cut hair fall­ing and el­e­vated by cush­ions in the bar­ber’s ro­tat­ing chair the seven-year-old be­gins to see a dif­fer­ent boy in the mir­ror, glances up, sus­pi­ciously, like a painter check­ing for sym­me­try, The scis­sors round a bend be­hind a blush­ing ear.

And when the crime is done, when the sun lies in its ashes a new child rises out of the blond, unswept curls, the sud­denly se­ri­ous chair that last year was a round­about.

All the way back to the car a stranger picks him­self out in a glass-veiled iden­tity pa­rade.

Turn­ing a cor­ner his hand slips from mine like a fi­nal, for­got­ten strand snipped from its lock.

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