The Tide Will Turn
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.
Harry Hayes (2010)
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' (above), 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', 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.
For more Warrington poetry visit the poetry section of All Things Warrington.