Loose tea costs lives
Do not drink before the patients,
Don’t look break-and-kettley,
Do not let the halt and lame
Spot your self-indulgent game.
No Typhoo; no Tetley.
Never mind the cuppa-that-cheers:
Not before the inmates, e.g.
Do not let the sick and ill
See your crazy caffeine thrill –
No Lipton’s Red; no PG.
Keep yourself in trim at all times,
Shun the party mood –
Do not let the still-diseased
See you looking very pleased
To hear the tea is brewed.
Grimace lest you’re caught out
With your silver linings –
A nurse must look both stern and pursed
As if she cannot quench her thirst
With Brooke Bond or with Twinings.
A sour demeanour in plain view
Is as powerful as krypton:
In the ledger she’ll be booked
If she looks, oh halfway hooked
Upon the leaf of Lipton.
Click here for an Independent article
Click here to buy Bill’s poetry collection Ringers
Click here to follow Bill’s New Statesman research