Sea Planes and Seed Trays


Sea Planes and Seed Trays – Poems and Songs is a 2019 collection of twenty-two poems and five songs in turn humorous, serious, political and nonsense. Some focus on family relationships and others on current news stories.


    • Andy Croft – The Morning Star, June 2021
      Sea Planes and Seed Trays is a collection of songs and poems by Simon Haines, mostly written in response to news events. There is a lovely song about the Burston school strike and some well-aimed attacks on the current government and its wealthy friends:

      They brought me up to be non-violent cos violence is a sin / But so many of your policies / make me want to kick your head in.
    • Terence Blacker, author, journalist and songwriter
      The cover illustration of this poetry collection has a gruesome look. It is of a grotesque, yellow-toothed masked figure which would not be out of place at voodoo party on the streets of New Orleans. Don’t be fooled. The poems and songs in this book are approachable and funny, capturing the joys and pains of everyday life with real warmth and poignancy. When there is justified anger and frustration at the world outside, it is of the ironic, low-key kind – and all the more effective for that.
    • Anne Sherer Broom
      With the sub-title Poems and Songs 2016-2020 this witty and playful collection belies an often-serious – although thankfully not excessively “woke” – voice running through some of 2021’s hottest, topical issues.
      It is unquestionably a voice broadly of the Left but leavened with humour and without the crushing seriousness of so much other “political” verse.Even his Green credentials are laced with humour as in Climate Emergency where he tells us he only uses his diesel car (of course!) for journeys of more than a mile.   Others are quietly considered but often devastating, including Quarter-to and Excess Office Equipment.
      Simon’s idiomatic flair with words means this collection cries out for public performance where the words can be liberated from the paper to the stage.Some examples from the collection:

      We have a Grayson Perry hanky you wouldn’t wipe your nose on

      A detail from a tapestry – in yellow, green and crimson
      And a David Hockney cushion that you wouldn’t sit your arse on
      Twenty-seven quid it cost – “A Bigger Splash” in cotton

      And a Giacometti T-shirt with a sculpture that’s been sprayed on
      A tall and spindly man – looks more like I’ve spilt food on.
      A fridge magnet by Matisse – a cut-out “Blue Nude Two”
      A sixteenth of the actual size makes it easier to view.

      And a Wassily Kandinsky tea mug – “Swinging 1925”
      Finest white bone china keeping “modern” art alive.
      We’ve got nothing by Picasso yet, that’s something I’d quite like
      Pants with Three Musicians or Don Quixote on a bike.


When the drought in Africa hit the news
I made an ethical choice
Every time I cleaned my teeth
I turned the cold tap off.

When the Aussie bush was burning hot
I turned our heating down
from twenty-five to twenty-two
And wore pullovers again

When I saw the so-slow-motion death
caused by plastic in the sea,
I changed to paper drinking straws
and used them three times each.

When they tore the Amazon forests down,
I took a moral stand
I rationed my kids to one burger a week
and planted a miniature oak.

When Florida flooded I pondered a while
Then bought an electric bike
And only used my diesel car
For journeys of more than a mile.

Song version by Matt Haines
Climate Emergency


Another of the poems from the collection Nine Across was read by Anthony Roberts on YouTube as part of his online lockdown project.

Simon Haines says

Simon in one of his other roles: as folk musician

I’ve always written songs and poems though very few have seen the light of day until now. Lockdown gave me more time to write and more subjects to write about.  Several of my poems have been included on the Poetry Wivenhoe website. Two of these were included in their printed collection Tales Told By Birds. Other poems of mine have been broadcast on BBC Radio Essex.
But the story actually goes further back than this. When I was about 7, I went in for a national poetry competition for primary school children and amazingly won second prize. We had to write an extra verse to Old Mother Hubbard. I was too scared to go to London to collect the award, but I was pretty chuffed, even though the prize was only a book token. Sadly I didn’t keep that extra verse.
I think it was probably at this point that I decided I wanted to be a writer. My parents used to ask me regularly what I wanted to write. My answer was always “I don’t know yet.” But, ever since then, I’ve always been busy writing something: songs, poems, magazine articles, children’s stories and for the last 40 years EFL textbooks.


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