Li-si-bi-fi-fac-man (pron. ‘Lissy Biffy Fackman’)
Some of us take many years to work out who we are.
Some, like me, lack wisdom: some bear a different scar.
I’m just over sixty, and I’ve finally worked it out
I’m a ‘li-si-bi-fi-fac-man’ – there’s a few of us about!
The ‘l.i’ stands for ‘lift it’; the ‘s.i’ stands for ‘shift it’,
The ‘b.i’ stands for ‘build it’; the ‘f.i’ stands for ‘fix it’.
And when the lifting, shifting’s done, and the building, fixing too
There’s often ‘fetch and carry’ when there’s nothing else to do.
That’s what ‘f.a.c’. stands for, and I’m sure you’ll understand,
That while there’s a time and place for that, It can get out of hand.
I for one allowed it; I’ve done it all my life,
I thought the way to happiness was try to please the wife.
But I now know that’s not possible, I wish I’d known before;
I wish someone had put me straight and let me know the score.
I wish I’d had the wisdom to know what was good to do,
I wish I’d had the courage, to do it and see it through.
It seems she doesn’t realize it’s not my job to be
the one to make her life the way that she thinks it ought to be.
That her life’s up to her, and my life’s up to me,
And whilst we help each other out, we let each other be.
But I know it’s up to me to say ‘enough’s enough’,
(It’s like a bloody game of golf that I’m playing in the rough!)
I’d like to be accepted just the way I am,
And valued for the qualities I value in this man.
I know that my life’s up to me, I said that earlier,
I blame myself for where I am; I’m not blaming her.
I wish we could see soul to soul; live our lives with ease,
Better dying on our feet than living on our knees!
So come on, brothers, stand up with me,
Let’s get on our feet.
Let’s treat our wives, our sweethearts
to the real men we can be.
Strong and wild and gentle,
and wise as heaven too,
Knowing what is right to say
and what is right to do.
Not just to please another
to satisfy a whim
that only comes from ego;
the child of original sin?
But, rather, let’s commit to hear
the spirit voice within
the deepest centre of the soul;
from where life begins
to appear in its true form;
not the pale cut-out shape
of a world devoid of colour;
of uniqueness – the primary design
of this amazing creature,
dynamic and divine.
And let’s go on with you and me,
each one of a kind.
Let’s find and celebrate that ‘one’,
let’s never let our minds
and souls be deflected from their design;
let’s find and live the ‘me’
that each was designed to be.
Not bow to any pressure
for any pale reward,
What travesty! What disgust!
a carrot where a sword
should be wielding, cleaving
evil from the good.
My brother, my sister, I beg you,
Live your life: don’t take on board what belongs
to your husband or your wife.
And don’t allow, I beg you,
their wants to pressure you,
The world is dying the tragic death
of one trying to live for two.
So, Li Si Bi Fi FAC man,
If that’s what role is yours,
I want to say that it’s OK
If that is your choice.
But please don’t demean yourself:
the glory that is you
this tired world needs;
a palette of every colour,
a palette of every hue.
And you are one essential shade;
without you life is bland.
Your partner’s lost a hero,
your partner’s lost the hand
that really would be useful
if only it be allowed
to do what it, alone, could do
if free from expectation,
free from trite demand –
free from unaware request,
free from fatal harm.
So, my friend, my brother,
my Li Si Bi Fi FAC man,
I beg you, claim your ‘holy ground’,
the ground on which you stand;
the ground that God has given you
belongs to no other man –
or, especially, to woman –
that delightful, frightful sex
who, in their desire to be secure
often overstep the line
that actually belongs to us;
warriors of former times;
the saviours of tomorrow
if only we heed the call
sounding deep inside.
And let the bear awake,
and let the god arise
in all its glory, all its power;
all its wisdom too.
All your beauty, all is lost
if you will not be you.
John White, 2011