This afternoon I met a bee


This afternoon I met a bee 

A busily nectar-collecting bee

She chanced to glance askance at me

And said, with a working girl's dignity

You're a lady of leisure, I can see

But for only this fleeting moment said I

As I lay on my back and looked at the sky

For I must return to the factory

That's why my skin's rather yellow, you see

Oh yes, I can see, said she, the bee

It seems to me you're a trifle sallow

But I've always considered yellow to be

A colour that looks quite well on me

Not on me! said I, feeling quite contrary

I'm one of those girls they call canaries

I work all day, making munitions

Which accounts for my skin's somewhat sallow condition

And I'm writing a letter to my boy overseas

And he mustn't know what's happening to me

For I hope and I pray to God that he

Won't be blown to hell by a German shell

Made by a factory gel, like me

Handling t.n.t. explosive turned the munitionettes' skin yellow = 'Canaries'

Their babies were often born yellow too.

© nigel hallworth 2014