Published on April 8th, 2021 | by Andy Green


The poetry of Harry Hayes

Some poems can be difficult to read, others not so difficult. Harry Hayes’ work fell firmly, and proudly, into the easy-to-read category.

“I’ve never been a fan of the ‘high falutin’ stuff,” said Harry when I interviewed him back in 2013, I like to keep things simple.”

It may not have been ‘high falutin’ stuff but Harry’s work is humorous, uplifting and touching in equal measure and his easy-to-read style means his poems are accessible to all. Amazingly Harry, who was a Warringtonian born and bred, didn’t write his first poem until the age of 77. “They arose from my experience in the university of life including a childhood spent in near poverty, 30 years in the police force and 53 years of marriage,” he said.

Three of Harry’s poems appear here – ‘Sadness Is Wasted Happiness’, ‘The Tide Will Turn’ and ‘Time And Tide’.

I didn’t realise when I first spoke to Harry that he and I were first cousins, twice removed (Harry’s grandparents James Hayes and Elizabeth Rowson were also my grandfather’s grandparents). We subsequently corresponded regularly about our family history. One of his last emails to me read: “make the most of us oldies while you can”. Thanks to his poetry, I think it’s fair to say it isn’t just me who benefitted from Harry’s insight, knowledge and counsel – so did the Warrington public at large. And if you ever spot someone walking down Bridge Street with a tea cosy on their head, don’t blame me, blame Harry.

Sadness Is Wasted Happiness

A humorous poem by Harry that explains why being picked last for football and other life events isn’t always a bad thing.

Whatever you are doing,
Why not think a happy thought;
Yes, you have some worries,
But compared to some, they’re nought.

Make yourself a cup of tea,
Your troubles just ignore;
Improve something close to hand –
You’ll enjoy your cuppa more.

Maybe a little downcast?
Put a tea cosy on your head;
Stand naked before the mirror,
Have a laugh instead.

Pursue happiness, you’ll never find it,
It’s near at hand, not afar;
Desire less; try giving more,
Be content with who you are.

Feeling less than 100%?
Why not picture a bit of fun?
Try ringing death’s front doorbell –
But don’t forget to run!

Improvement starts with the letter ‘I’.
Branch out like a tree;
Become stronger in your weakest place,
Can’t? – cross out the ‘T’.

So drain away all negatives,
Try happy thoughts instead.
Go outside and enjoy your life –
But take the tea cosy off your head.

The Tide Will Turn

A poem by Harry all about the power of positive thinking.

I was born not quite a loser,
More relegation zone I’d say;
Early worm instead of early bird,
Picked on every day.

My teacher didn’t like me,
Thought King Herod had it right;
Milk monitor; filling ink-wells,
Yours truly – never quite.

School bully shared my sixpence,
Even let me write his ‘lines’;
Nitty Nora came to goo my hair,
Strange comb with metal tines.

Children used to call for me,
Is my ball coming out to play?
Picking sides, one left over,
Ah well – another day!

Eenie meenie was surely fixed,
Paranoid? – well just a jot;
Dandelion ‘clock’ couldn’t tell the time,
The next one ‘loved me not’.

Second violin in an orchestra,
Good job there was no third;
Still, every tide must surely turn,
So watch out early bird!

Friday the 13th I met her,
The omens weren’t that good;
Asked her if she’d marry me,
Surprisingly, she would.

Unlucky as a parent,
Two boys – I wanted girls;
Grand-daughters before we knew it,
Never seen such lovely curls!

I’m 79 now – doing fine,
The ‘winners’ all have passed;
Don’t take this as a grumble,
Even God picks me the last. 

Time and Tide

Harry’s touching tribute to his late wife Audrey that talks about how empty the family home is without her by his side.

Half a century since we bought our house,
Which was standing all forlorn;
Love’s young dreamers came along,
And a happy home re-born.
Nature blessed us with two fine boys,
And our wishes all came true;
Both lovingly raised to manhood,
Then to seek out pastures new.
Darby and Joan left in residence,
Bond even stronger now;
Golden years spent together,
Three decades did God allow.
The good lady is now in a nursing home,
It seems a bell will toll;
Sans mother and her children,
The old home has lost its soul.
What was once a house of laughter,
Sadly now a place to mourn;
But new young dreamers will come along,
And a happy home re-born.
This is not a tale of sadness,
It’s the world since time began;
Dear reader heed the old advice,
Gather rose-buds while you can.

All poems by Harry Hayes

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