Wednesday, 3 August 2011

New Stratagems, the radiant Lock to gain…

The Peer now spreads the glitt'ring Forfex wide,T'inclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide.Ev'n then, before the fatal Engine clos'd,A wretched Sylph too fondly interpos'd;Fate urg'd the Sheers, and cut the Sylph in twain,(But Airy Substance soon unites again)The meeting Points that sacred Hair disseverFrom the fair Head, for ever and for ever! Then flash'd the living Lightnings from her Eyes,And Screams of Horror rend th' affrighted Skies.Not louder Shrieks to pitying Heav'n are cast,When Husbands or when Lap-dogs breath their last,Or when rich China Vessels, fal'n from high,In glittring Dust and painted Fragments lie!
Which is a roundabout way of saying that I submitted to the barber's scythe today. Every time I go, the 19-year old inside me screams blue murder. Even as a teen, I knew that time and circumstance changes one's perspective,  and wondered what the older me would make of the younger one, and vice versa.

In the case of hair, my inner teen is in mourning. It was OK to have a mane of jet-black hair most of the way down my back when I had the build of an anorexic whippet and wore only black. Whether or not it suited me I have no idea, but it was a justified reaction against year's of my mother's brutal, and distinctly unartistic basin haircuts. All six of us - regardless of gender - received the same utilitarian treatment. For someone trained in surgery, she was remarkably clumsy with the scissors too - my ears were almost Spock-shaped by the time I was 18.

As the years and pounds accumulated, the hair got shorter, thinner and less distributed: I've seen the balding pony-tailed future and its name is Rossi. By now, I've got a position on hairstyles: I'm agin 'em. These days I just want some hair, mostly on my head, to avoid sunburn. But as a marker of passing time, my enlarging forehead is a fine sundial for the progress of the decades.

(The quotation is from Pope's 'The Rape of the Lock': it's very good).


The Red Witch said...

"There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope." - Oscar Wilde

The Plashing Vole said...