By Robert Dalvean

When I wake up to find that my poor head
has left its trunk and lost itself
I usually try to find it.

You can imagine the scene: the trunk,
all arms and legs agrope; the head
down in the bedclothes, muttering:
“Here, fool, here” – softly,

for fear of being overheard by neighbours.

Be assured, connected feelings remain:
the head senses the trunk, the trunk the head –
but it takes hours to get the two together.

I try to make my search seem casual,
for were I to allow my peace of mind
to rest on head and torso’s near conjuncture,
Oh, how I’d rage and spew profanities
(which in my family one just doesn’t do).

So I proceed with counterfeited poise
even when the search fails,
and with wrinkled shirt and tie askew,
I walk as if untroubled, proud, aloof,
like the ghost of a beheaded king
haunting a hatter’s picnic.

The giggles of brats
who see me as I go along truncated

fail to muddy the pool of my serenity.
No, I am not crushed
by those who jeer at my headlessness –

yet when I fail
to find a head that’s come adrift at night,
I do regret it.

I do not wail or rave,
but Oh! I must admit I’m happier
wearing my head than not wearing my head.

Perhaps I’m a slave to conformity,
or it’s simply a matter of habit.