Newspapers by Hervé Clairet



I think I’ve been lis’ning to far too much news –
For though it is vital we learn of out-there,
It leaves me frustrated, and flustered and grated,
I’m hating, debating, yet never quite sated,
And thoroughly impotent, hopeless to care –
As yet more disasters are grimly amassed,
With each one more urgent and loud than the last –
Till headlining news becomes hutch-lining olds of the past.

I think I’ve been lis’ning to far too much news –
It just isn’t good to be quite so aware.
It leaves me intruded (in which I’ve colluded) –
I’m brooding on feuding, informed yet excluded,
And thoroughly cynical, drunk with despair –
As yet more injustice, or just kiss-and-tells,
All rage between grimmest and tritest of hells –
And worst is the knowledge that this is precisely what sells.



Mate in One

grayscale photography of two chess pieces
Photo by Johannes Plenio on


Mate in One

Lay out your pieces, comrade:
With the tzar in the centre, his back to the wall –
Now just a figurehead, limping-scared, out-weighed
By his regent tzarina, striding bully-tall.
Propped-up by the church, with its zigging-zagging raid,
And crooked-jumping noblemen heralding the call,
As barons in their fortresses sidle and invade –
Headlong-forward charging through this no-man’s-land-in-brawl.

But there in the frontline are the workers all arrayed –
Surging from their trenches, then trudging through the sprawl.
Their only hope, to reach the end and give themselves in trade,
And not be tossed as sacrifice to spare the tzar his fall.
Enough !  Let them strike at those behind of them who stayed
Cowering astern as the fodder feeds the maul.
For even such a lowly piece can put the tzar to blade
Game over, comrade.  We both win, after all.



The Green Tree Anthem



The Green Tree Anthem

The People’s Trees are greenest green –
They’re marching forth since Halloween.
On chilly days and snowy nights,
They proudly bear their fairy lights.

So raise your verdant branches high,
And hoist your red star to the sky –
Though humbugs scoff and scrooges sneer,
We’ll keep the green tree growing here.

When Christmas time is ruinous,
With profiteers pursuing us,
Their simple charm bring us delight,
And help us through the silent night.

So raise our battered spirits high,
And help us keep our powder dry.
Let bankers curse and workers cheer –
We’ll keep the green tree glowing here.

Oh Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum,
For needlekind we’re pining.
Oh Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum,
We’ll keep the green tree shining.



Democracy in Action



Democracy in Action

You’re blue or you’re red,
All others are dead,
You’re blue or you’re red or you’re bluffing.

You’re red or you’re blue,
All others are through,
You’re red or you’re blue or you’re nothing.

All others are splitters,
All others are chumps –
The heaviest hitters
Are holding the trumps.
All others are losers,
All others are fools –
We may be the choosers,
But they set the rules.

You’re blue or you’re red,
Or you’re red or you’re blue,
There’s no other colours for you.

You’re vote isn’t for –
No, you’re vote is agenst:
To settle a score
And to see them dispensed.
You’re vote isn’t aye –
No, you’re vote is a nay;
But don’t waste your cry,
Cos you’ve only one say.

You’re red or you’re blue,
Or you’re blue or you’re red,
Not orange, not yellow, not purple instead.
There’s no hope in green and there’s no hope in pink,
Cos who gives a toss what the voters may think ?



Your False True-Colours



Your False True-Colours

America, no !  You’re doing it wrong !
It’s red on the left, and blue on the right.
The rest of the planet can all get along,
But you Yanks as usual are picking a fight.
For red are the hands that must labour and toil,
And blue is the blood that possesses the soil.

It hardly takes NYPD or the Feds
To spy just how blurred is the choice of your hues;
With red-meat Republicans labelled as Reds,
And New England Democrats down with the Blues.
But red is for passion, and rage, and hard knocks,
And blue is for loyalty, culture and stocks.

America, No !  What you practice today,
We follow tomorrow – and follow you blind:
Our system for centuries soon shall decay
As crimson and cobalt get quite misaligned:
Then blue are the collars that lefties much cite,
And red are the necks of the folks on the right.


I debated whether I should leave out the superfluous ‘u’ in colour in the title, but I just couldn’t let logic overcome my desperate need for identity.





To arms, comrades !
And hands and feet –
Let’s take this to the street,
Across the land,
By arm and foot and hand.
Mile by mile,
And brick by brick,
We’ll build and style the future quick,
We’ll sling the clay to see what sticks,
We’ll string the wire,
We’ll raze the spire,
We’ll kick the soil to drain the mire.
Let’s use our teeth to smile,
Our claws to pick,
Our boots to walk on fire.
Comrades !  Raise the alarms
In foundries and farms,
To lay down our guns
And ready our arms !




ballot boxes



A vote was held.
For all we say we do not like
The outcome it has spelled –
A vote was held.

It’s too late now to criticise,
Or grumble how the populace
Should leave such matters to the wise,
Or how they fell for clever lies.

Or claim opinion has moved,
And new votes must be undertook
To catch the latest public mood
To verify what polls have proved,
To show our ranks have swelled.
But no.  A vote was held.

If we should challenger ev’ry time
A vote should happen not to chime
With what we thought it ought to say,
We’d be about the booths all day !
And though the outcome couldn’t be much closer,
Nor, to our outlook, grosser,
One side had a slightly upper hand:

Their hand.
So there you go, and here we are, you understand ?
The rule of law is far more precious
Than a little politics.
A cynic’s tricks are less than gracious,
And the outcome must prevail –
To undermine the vote would be betrayal !
We cannot say “we won’t obey,
For just this once, but never more –
Just once, and then we promise that we shall !”
Too late to slam that stable door
When pitchforks march upon the Mall.

The day was theirs – the future too, for now.
It has to be this way.
Don’t pull the “it was only to advise” –
You know that’s lies, to disallow their say:
We asked them what they wanted,
All these working-hard civilians,
And on the day, undaunted,
So they told us in their millions !
Advisory ?  Then take advice:
It’s time to pay the price.

A vote was held, a course was set,
And even though we might regret,
The threat that half our nation has rebelled,
So be it, let it be.
For we, who claim to be their betters, lost the bet.
And if the future asks us why,
We can at least still meet its eye, and help it see:
“A vote was held –
And far, far better this, than anarchy.”