Spectral Horse No. 5: An Excerpt

The Barber

I shave on the upward stroke,
Listen lad, it is no joke,
If you want to fill this chair
With a lifetime’s derrieres:
Serve contented clientele,
Those who seek a salon’s smell,
And the soapy lather crave
On their cheeks, by far the fav
Of them that call before work,
Where they must forbear the jerks,
Those who put down good hygiene,
In muttering most obscene.
If you can soothe these itches,
Your shop will swim with riches.

But if your blade smooth skin nicks,
And feeds on blood, like the tick,
Or sully a suit’s lapel,
With stray drippings of the gel,
That wayward wigs holds in place,
Or the cream with solvents lace,
Our high art you will pervert,
And your chair the droves desert.
Then in shame you will abide,
A trimmer of poodle’s hide,
And braider of horse’s hair
At some obscure county fair,
Where like dung the people smell,
You, the angel lately fell
From the heaven of our trade,
The proudest God ever made.
Thus I tell you, bloke to bloke,
Always choose the upward stroke.