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ROSIE MILES

 

 

cRosie Miles's debut pamphlet CUTS was published by HappenStance in 2015, and she has been published in The North, Rialto, Artemis, Under the Radar, Carol Ann Duffy's Daily Mirror Poetry Column, and Cinnamon Press and Emma Press anthologies amongst others. She lives in south Birmingham, where her poem "You Enter" is carved into King's Heath Urban Village Square, and she was chosen to be part of the 2017 Nine Arches/Arts Council Dynamo Poet Mentoring Scheme.

 

 

 

 

The fashion for beards

 

 

At first I thought it was a London thing:

for those who work and play in galleries

and coffee shops. But gradually it grew

 

along the Virgin West Coast Line until

I stepped on out at Birmingham

(and Birmingham is now so hipsterized)

 

to face a sea of beards in every style

conceivable. Then finally this term

when students gathered after summer’s break

 

I realised that several in my class

on fin de siècle art and literature

at Wolverhampton University

 

had sprouted manly growth. The coup’s complete:

the whole of England is now beardified!

So is it liberal solidarity

 

with Muslim men? Or simply when you search

for ‘beard’ on Twitter what gets auto-filled

is ‘beards are so attractive’? It’s a sign

 

of virile masculinity: indeed,

on wikihow.com on ‘How to Grow

a Beard’ you’ll find some pictures of a chap

 

who must be nearly seventeen – no more –

performing macho press-ups to increase
t
estosterone. Every little helps.

 

This hairiest of moments thus deserves

a poem to commemorate more beards

on Britain’s streets than in Victoria’s time.

 

If gentlemen back then had whiskered chops

and beard oil was an oft-bought Christmas gift

you’ll all be glad to know you can still buy

 

a cedarwood and ylang ylang grooming kit,

as well as man-combs, trimmers, soaps and balms,

to aid your favourite bearded-one’s own growth

 

this Christmas-tide. So joyous hirsute warmth

and health to all on cold December nights:

a beard’s for life, not just for Christmas. Right?

 

 

 

©2018 Rosie Miles

 

 

Author Links

 

The author's collection CUTS (HappenStance)

Author's biography on HappenStance

Rosie Miles on Twitter (@MsEmentor)

 

 

 

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