Yesterday evening the New England Society in the City of Brooklyn held its annual poetry event at Plymouth Church. This year’s featured poet was Wesley McNair, professor emeritus and poet in residence at the University of Maine, Farmington, and Poet Laureate of Maine. He began by expressing his delight at being, for the first time, in the church of Henry Ward Beecher, whom he regards as a very significant figure in American history. He then read a selection of his poems.
One of the poems he read, “Hymn to the Comb-Over”, has special significance to follicle-challenged men like myself. It begins:
How the thickest of them erupt just
above the ear, cresting in waves so stiff
no wind can move them. Let us praise them
in all of their varieties, some skinny
as the bands of headphones, some rising
from a part that extends halfway around
the head, others four or five strings
stretched so taut the scalp resembles
a musical instrument….
(Read the full text of the poem at Poetry Foundation.) “Hymn to the Comb-Over” is published in McNair’s most recent collection of poems, Lovers of the Lost. You can hear McNair read it, and several other poems from Lovers, here.