A plague of foot and mouth is in the air;
The countryside is in despair.
Footpaths are closed, owners and dogs can’t roam.
Pavements are used as toilets – close to home.
Share prices tumble. Is this financial doom?
What can we do to lift the gloom?

Turn of the telly. It’s not worth a look.
Don’t read the papers. Try a book.
Stroll down the road and look for signs of Spring.
Give your best friend a ring.
Dig up the garden. What you sow, you’ll reap.
Stop eating meat and save a sheep.
If you’ve enough to eat, and some to spare
Who wants to be a millionaire?

Jean Hayes, March 2001

Singular Bliss

Oh, the joys of independence take some beating.
Let’s close the door and keep the world at bay;
Choose where we go, and when, and who we’re meeting –
We wouldn’t have it any other way.

When greenfield sites are sold to build more houses
We damn trespassers from ivory towers,
Then justify the hatred this arouses
Since now their pleasure interferes with ours.

If taken to its logical conclusion
We’d start tomorrow. Build for all we’re worth.
Ignore the protestations and confusion.
Construct a house everywhere on Earth.

I’m sure this dismal prospect would not suit us.
Vast sound-proofed “refuges” would do us well,
Equipped with hi-fi, telly and computers,
Blissfully tucked in cosy padded cell.

Jean Hayes

What’s the Time?

Remorselessly, the click ticks –
of course it does. I’m not
going to stop it. Tricks
like that won’t make a jot
of difference. The moments fly
whether or not I pay heed.

Each year, I’m sure, they go by
at twice the speed they did before

“Why?” this curious human asks.
Back in a trice snaps the reply.
“Too much choice. Too many tasks
you idiot, that’s why.”

Between busy and bored
is a niche, a wormhole
of time we can’t afford
to lose. Abandon your soul
until time disappears.

Take deep breaths of thanks
for being alive through the years.

Jean Hayes 2007


Old men with dogs roam the neglected park
Where they once played as boys. Now take a peep
Into the lounge of Number Twenty Three
The Meads. Four sturdy youngsters sit
Before a slick computer, playing games.
A milky, midget, artificial sky
Holds them enraptured. Sterile bullets flash
And flitter, stuttering across the screen,
While Mother whisks around her microwave
Preparing instant meals from plastic packs.
Better to stay indoors. It’s clean and nice.
That dog-polluted field is a disgrace.
Besides, it makes less work for Mummy. So

The piper bleeps, luring his victims on
Through the dark doorway. Deep inside that hill
All children are forever quiet and still.

Jean Hayes (TTB member, and poet)

Climate Change

Way up high in light blue mist
can’t you ever notice
this big old bubble is getting Bigger
and polar ice-caps are melting.

Maybe no snow?
Maybe no polar bears?
Keep recycling,
go go go for it
that’s what we want!

Zoe Bonnett, aged 7 (TTB member, and Victoria School pupil)

Getting There

We are conditioned to need an aim,
a struggle, a monumental fight.
Years of trying to tame
the wilderness was right
then, but we are seeing

the results of greed,
of demanding too much
from the earth to feed
our voracious appetites,
such consumption cannot last.

When our heat has melted the ice-caps
and the seas have risen to drown the islands,
when we don’t recognise old maps
and the cure is out of our hands;
when no more oil can be drilled
and the fish stop breeding;
when every wild creature is killed
yet this is portrayed as succeeding
We’ll know we have got there – too fast.

Spice of Life

The longer the drought
The sharper the showers;
When deserts are watered
We worship the flowers

The tighter the bondage
The wilder the fling;
The longer the Winter
The sweeter the Spring

We pile on the woollies
We snuffle and cough –
Now dream of the bliss
When we cast them all off!

This winter was dreary.
It could have been worse.
Without English weather
How would we converse?

Jean Hayes (TTB member, and poet)

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