Bearded Lady by Richard Outram

Encore Literary Magazine is extremely proud to have permission from the executors of the estate of the late Richard Outram to present work by one of Canada’s great poets. In the months to come, poems by Outram will be periodically featured here, thus helping to keep alive the singular voice of, in the words of Alberto Manguel, “one of the finest poets in the English language.”
Bearded Lady

I am in fact a public slave;
How I would love to misbehave
And start the morning with a shave;

But do not dare. Each day I rise
To face my face with downcast eyes
And make the toilette I despise,

So that, my moustache all unfurled,
My whiskers neatly oiled and curled,
I may go forth to face the world.

To bear all day the cruellest whips
Of dirty jokes and jeers and quips;
I am adept at reading lips.

Hell hath indeed, as we are warned,
No fury like a woman scorned:
God knows why I am so adorned.

He may not find, for all His Grace,
A member of the human race
To love me for my hirsute face;

But when the world and time have died
You’ll face me, seated by His side,
His radiant and bearded Bride.