(un)natural: Ideas about naturalness in public and political debates about science, technology and medicine


Published 30/11/2015

Booklet cover
Naturalness quotes

The year waves came in, when we sang

you’re sweet like chocolate, boy

without shame, everyone had a method

for taming even the most rebellious head

of pepper grains into slick, crazy-paved,

deference to R ‘n’ B stars who loomed

large from hoardings, pasted into diaries

and exercise books, their lyrics written

out on the backs of hands. We wanted

to be wanted like that, so we slept with

our mothers’ head wraps tight round

our heads to keep the façade in place.

Some learned the grace of clippers,

the better to keep their edges in check,

others would get the barber to shape

them up with a razor blade so the skin

stung and the stubble stayed hidden.

But for all we tried to hide our natural

hair it came back, rising unbidden

from our scalps, as if each follicle

knew that soon we would covet shaved

lines in sideburns, eyebrows, anything

to set ourselves apart, betray our roots.