Richard Devereux

Long-haired Poem



Sure, my hair was long back then

& luxuriously curly in the photo

on my Student Card 1976.

The kipper-tie a kind of chrysalis:

the woolly-headed kid about to turn

into a smart young professional.


At sixty-six, I gave up work,

just before the March lockdown,

since when the short-back-and-sides have overflowed

with silver strands below the ear-lobes

and a pigtail my daughter likes to knot

though, sadly, nature’s deficit

still shines out on top.


People I pass on the path through the woods

smile and offer cheery greetings

that are warmer, I like to think,

because they see in me a free-spirit –

a little wild, perhaps, but quite benign;

after all, a chap with hair like mine

can’t take himself too seriously, can he?


My wife likes my new-grown mane,

the kids and mates take the mick,

while the most impeccable types

of my acquaintance, clipped

in manner and appearance, look,

then look away, completely undermined,

I like to think,

by the fly excesses of my tresses.


What am I to do?

I enquire of the man in the mirror.

My locks, you see, have recently become

high-maintenance – it takes

a couple of minutes or more to comb them through –

and the comb has started to extract

an ever-heavier tythe of precious threads.


I’m thinking of getting some clippers.

I’ll chop the over-hanging branches with scissors,

then run it all over on a number 3.

That would just leave the long white beard.

Sorry, I didn’t mention the beard,

but the options there would seem to include:

continuing towards the chin on a number 3,

some artistic topiary

or growing the full Moeen Ali.

It’s all about identity, I suppose.

I’ve been looking to look

like a Man of Letters,

or the long-haired lay-about

my father’s generation deplored

or, at very least,

a superannuated hippy.


This, I’m afraid, is what can happen

when you loosen the knot after forty years

of wearing a tie, and when


            >the length of your hair<

            >is no longer regulated<


by the office diary entry:

Friday 10:00am Haircut –

set to recur every six weeks.

Needed or not, round it came.

Footnote (Hairnote?) 

569 days after my  last haircut, I underwent, at the hands of an Albanian barber, and without anaesthetic, a procedure that replaced my extensive locks with a short back and sides.

Richard Devereux.jpg