Praise Be!

  1.In Praise of Older Men

Just because you dye your hair

Like some vain female

And smile too much, hoping to disguise

The creeping tracks amid the laughter lines;

Because you wear your collars higher now

And favour muted colours

Preferring classic cuts for the distinguished,

The mature, successful man;

Because a tan is easier to achieve

You glow with health as long as it persists

And several trips abroad are now the norm

To keep the winter desperately at bay.

Because young girls no longer stare

You doubt that I can dream

Or cry within my mind when you are leaving

To come back, come back, oh, please, come back;

You underestimate me.


  1. In Praise of Younger Men

Just because you leave your hair

To curl unchecked, like some vain female

Adopting a serious mien

Which may belie your youth;

Because your cool reserve is far too suspect

And even smalltalk lacks extraneous clutter;

Because you are respectful of your elders

And only speak when spoken to

In ever courteous tones;

Because your summer tan

Adds lustre to the pallor

Of your strangely perfect skin

And you are always eager to assist

Though never volunteering an opinion

Unless one is requested;

Because young girls are either much too shallow

To recognise your worth and make an effort

Or much too lazy for your slow attentions

You doubt that I could notice

Or smile within my mind at your approach;

You underestimate me.


iii. Self-Praise is No Praise

Just because I dye my hair

Like any vain female

To keep the winter desperately at bay;

Because an inch of Polyfilla

Is now required where once a half sufficed;

Because I need a younger style of dress

Which may belie my age;

Because I am respectable and married,

Settled, happy, comfortable, no longer seeing

Every man as a potential husband;

Because I go to church when no-one makes me,

Support the Sunday School and PTA;

Because my faith will frown on impure thoughts

I keep my longings secret. You may see

The woman down the street, or at the bus-stop,

Or your favourite aunt or niece,

While I restrain these idle hands

From causing me to sin, but still I want

To look and look and look, and go on looking;

Don’t ever underestimate yourselves.

First published in Reach





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