My beard is probably my own best friend.
That’s not to offend
other strong contenders,
But who can pretend that
anything or anyone
has been so close
so warm, so long.

I was fifteen when we met,
You were shy and reticent;
Soft at first and hesitant
But present, all the same.

We could claim a lot in common.

Fluffy, patchy, unimpressive
neither rugged nor aggressive
But to me the thing was blessed:
Brian Blessed, to be precise.

Because you came when I needed change.
I was broken-hearted
When you started
And your patchy presence parted
My present and my past
You were a comfort-blanket cast
Around my face.
There in case of
emotional emergency.

And when you’re fifteen,
On the violent ocean
of unrequited love
God knows you need all the help you can find.

This guy came right on time.

Masking weird behind beard
Hiding stigma in the stubble.
When I found myself in times of trouble
Ginger, hairy – it came to me,
Speaking words of wisdom:

To you I was your anchor
Your raison d’etre host
To me you were the most
Friendly buffer I could muster
Between the universe and self.
You helped me help myself in many ways
Those days of shaveless fable,
When somehow you were able to
Give a little respect to me
Without a-razor.

Not to mention the flavours
of booze I misused
With your assistance.
And I’ll confess the instances
I cut you clean a couple of times
But in spite – or maybe because
Of that separation
We grew back
Stronger, longer, together.

And now a little older
Hair no longer down to shoulder
And receding at rate of men
Twenty years my senior.

My best friend still hasn’t abandoned me yet.

So for the good times and the bad,
For past and future years
Here’s three cheers
For beards.