(Won a prize with this poem about my elderly neighbour
some years ago. Thought I’d give it another whirl….)
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.