Sadness Is Wasted Happiness
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.
Harry Hayes (2013)
Some poems can be difficult to read. Others not so difficult. Harry Hayes' work falls firmly, and proudly, into the easy-to-read category.
"I've never been a fan of the 'high falutin' stuff," says octogenarian Harry, "Probably because I couldn't write the same." Indeed, such is Harry's commitment to keeping things simple he would probably take umbrage at being called an octogenarian: 'Just say I'm 80-something - more people will understand that!' his likely reply.
It may not be 'high falutin' stuff but Harry's work is humorous, uplifting and touching in equal measure and his easy-to-read writing style means his poems are accessible to all.
Amazingly, Harry - a Warringtonian born and bred who currently resides in Grappenhall - didn't write his first poem until the age of 77.
"I'm a pretty ancient but newish author," says Harry, "My poems arise 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."
Three of Harry's poems can be found in the Poetry section of All Things Warrington: 'The Tide Will Turn', a humorous poem that explains why being picked last for football and other life events isn't always a bad thing; 'Sadness Is Wasted Happiness' (above), an uplifting poem about the power of positive thinking; and 'Time And Tide', a touching tribute to Harry's late wife Audrey that talks about how empty the family home is without her by his side.
Although at the time of writing I have never met Harry, I recently discovered he is my first cousin, twice removed (Harry's grandparents James Hayes and Elizabeth Rowson were also my grandad's grandparents) and he has passed on many fascinating snippets of family history to me.
One of his more recent emails said "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 benefitting from Harry's insight, knowledge and counsel - it's 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.
For more Warrington poetry visit the poetry section of All Things Warrington.