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Pears Teansparent Soap

(Won a prize with this poem about my elderly neighbour

some years ago.  Thought I’d give it another whirl….)

 

Soldiering On

Four years old and privy to the ritual,

I waited at a respectful distance.

mesmerised by ablutions’ habitual

sacrament, which unctioned his existence.

First he stripped to dazzling vest, braces down,

dangling by his sides.  Next came bristle brush

from Old Spice tooth mug and transparent brown

oval of Pears soap.  Hot water did not rush

from dull brass tap, but moderately flowed

at his methodical pace.  Lathered foam

creamed the razor’s rasp to a face that glowed

peony red. Scant white hair by ivory comb

furrowed like forked mashed potato.  Thick steam

obscured the mirror and he strained to see

a tiny nick and with determined gleam,

snipped my focus of curiosity:

his waxed, pointed military moustache.

Satisfied, he rolled both ends with a twirl,

beaming, confident he still cut a dash

at eighty five, with a style-conscious girl.

Who knows what previous close shaves he’d had-

young blade, soldier; now surrogate grandad.

Advertisement for Pears soap from the 1890s. T...

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