He is a man for whom everyone’s a trespasser.
Co-existence? He doesn’t believe in it.
Give you the time of day? Not one minute.
He is happy to be a grinning contrarian.
Music, he claims, gives him indigestion.
He dismisses several generations
Including most members of his own.
He is a virtuoso concert pessimist
Who even disagrees with his own agreements.
He is the exact opposite of mellow.
You never see him sitting in the sun.
And as for ‘foreigners’—oh-ho!—
He is the Keeper of terms like ’wog’ and ‘dago’.
Longevity has failed to teach him benevolence.
I notice his visible weak spot
Spilling from the back of his eternal cap—
And I think he deserves my parting shot:
And so I say to him, ‘Get your hair cut.’
About this poem
In 2015 the Scottish Poetry Library commissioned poets Douglas Dunn, Vicki Feaver and Diana Hendry to write on the theme of age. Their poems appear together in Second Wind as part of the Saltire Society’s pamphlet series. The project as a whole is supported by The Baring Foundation, as one of its series of ‘Late Style’ artist commissions.