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This poem is taken from Poetry Nation 6 Number 6, 1976.

Two Poems Stanley Cook


GEORGE THE BARBER

Plump, with a fat man's manual dexterity,
He first came round on a bike, with a leather bag
Like a doctor's emergency kit on the carrier,
Cutting at the table by gas or lamplight
And moving later to a lean-to by the Working Men's.
He cut my hair from golden curls to black
And when I was old enough to bike it
Always started his conversation with 'Father?' and 'Mother?',
Meaning 'Are they all right?'; the only barber
I ever talked to. Customers waited
On a stick of secondhand cinema seats
With a view in a pier glass whose upper half
Was working but never used; his qualifications
Hung framed beside it - his membership scroll from the Buffs.
For passing the scholarship he gave me a prize,
...


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