Monday, 12 March 2012

The Girl Who Didn't Wash Her Hair

These days one has to beware posting work on one's blog else it's ineligible for competitions - but the poem here has already won a Leaf books competition and been published in their anthology Balancing Acts.

I wrote this poem whilst at an Arvon course on writing a poetry collection. One of our tutors was the marvellous Moniza Alvi. And it was there that I met David Tait (ok name dropping over ...). Not long after I arrived for our 5-day retreat I realised I'd forgotten my shampoo! Eeek! I faced two options, either ask someone if I could borrow some of their shampoo, or try not washing my hair for a week. After all, I'd heard that after a while hair cleans itself etc. etc. and I wondered whether it would grow into dreadlocks. Two days later, with greasy hair I cracked and asked a fellow student for a lend of her Herbal Essence. And I wrote this poem. Because, after all, when you're a writer everything is potential material. Ha ha.

The Girl Who Didn’t Wash Her Hair

One day, when she awoke, she gazed
at her reflection in the mirror,
could see her crimson hair cascade
as if the sun had claimed it for its own,
polished it until it glowed dark as a sun burst.

Weeks passed. Seed brought by the winds
caught in her tangles, took root, grew wildflowers:
tom thumb, cowslip, ragged robin, harebell.
They poked their way through her locks,
wound themselves like garlands on a bride’s head.

As she strode down Park Street, someone called out,
‘I love your hair. Where did you get those flowers?’

Next, dormice arrived to make their nests
up near the nape of her neck.
And bluebirds came to feed and sing
Zippedy Doo Dah on her shoulder.

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