Guardian Poem of the week Sep.2018: The Barber Shop by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke
A white rose,
the barber’s towel
around your face
shining like a beetle
clinging to the petals.
Clippings scattered on the floor
were the days when I loved you so much
while the garrulous
sculptor of heads cuts away
what time had made superfluous.
Ah! That unscrupulous hand made you
even more beautiful,
the curve of your eyebrows more clearly defined
and beneath the jade of your eyes,
your flowers, your lips half opened.
The shop impressed itself on my mind
in all its detail
and little by little the nothingness
which my life would soon become
into the scented room.
You smiled in the mirror
and I crumbled
because I had you and would lose you
like life classically cut short
by a pair of ancient scissors.
Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, ‘The barber shop’ , trans. by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke and Jackie Willcox. In The Scattered Papers of Penelope, London: Anvil Press, 2008.