Let´s discuss this poem together!! There are lots of things to talk about!
For Heidi with Blue Hair
When you dyed your hair blue
(or, at least ultramarine
for the clipped sides, with a crest
of jet-black spikes on top)
you were sent home from school
because, as the headmistress put it,
although dyed hair was not
specifically forbidden, yours
was, apart from anything else,
not done in the school colours.
Tears in the kitchen, telephone-calls
to school from your freedom-loving father:
‘She’s not a punk in her behaviour;
it’s just a style.’ (You wiped your eyes,
also not in a school colour.)
‘She discussed it with me first –
we checked the rules.’ ‘And anyway, Dad,
it cost twenty-five dollars.
Tell them it won’t wash out –
not even if I wanted to try.
It would have been unfair to mention
your mother’s death, but that
shimmered behind the arguments.
The school had nothing else against you;
the teachers twittered and gave in.
Next day your black friend had hers done
in grey, white and flaxen yellow –
the school colours precisely:
an act of solidarity, a witty
tease. The battle was already won.
Fleur Adcock (1934-)
Adcock has said that this poem was written in response to a real incident experienced by her god-daughter, Heidi, who had moved with her father (after the death of her mother) to live in Australia.
Heidi has dyed her hair and the poem deals with the reactions of her school, father and friends.