Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A Surprise - from Canada!

Life has a way of playing tricks
Not always bad, sometimes it clicks.
Scarcely had I got inside
The Museum when," Have you a guide?"

The man beside me, Mr. Holt
A Canadian without French (his fault?)
Was casting round without success
To find one. "Here I am. No stress!"

We agreed to meet by Lion stairs
Of Brussels Town Hall; no one cares
That official channels are sidestepped.
Here what you see is what you get.

Six people keen to learn some more
Than guide book tells, want to explore
And see behind main tourist streets
Where Brussels' quirky heart still beats.

An added bonus, it was hot
Droves of tourists seemed to flock
Around the little peeing boy
Whose pose delights the hoi polloi.

Brussels in the summer sun
What luck, I too can have some fun.
The City I am proud to call
My own, just never seems to pall.

We walk on though the shops invite
Keen to continue, time is tight.
They want to see the River bed
And we find it, where they once baked bread.

Too much history, facts and dates
We mustn't overfill our plates
So interwoven in the spiel
Some anecdotes, to make it real.

Two hours on, their mother ties
She's not alone, her son perspires
They're happy with the tour it's clear
And would I join them for a beer?

Written in 2006

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 21 April 2014

In Delft

Down shady streets caressed by limes
And cobbles like in olden times
To a busy market in the square
With imposing town hall proudly there.

The pace is slow – we walk on by
In early evening – still blue sky
The shops are quaint, well stocked and neat
In contrast to the busy street.

Small bridges the canals still span
It has a feel of Amsterdam
Without the bustle of that city
Delft is picture-postcard pretty!

Abstraction made of bike and car
This trading town remains a star
Whichever way I look, it’s clear
I see the easel of Vermeer.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Monday in the UK

In leafy lanes across the land
Daffs and primrose proudly stand
Green swards and blossom greet our eyes
And birdsong welcomes in sunrise.

England's villages look cute
Is this Easter heat a fluke?
We love to spend a week down here
When spring has sprung and skies are clear.

But note how full main roads become
With traffic permanently a hum
Since we left this isle of dreams
Which now is bursting at the seams!

Written in 2003

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Daffodils at Easter

Thoughts of you oft cross my mind
A bit like Wordsworth's daffodils
Plagiarism of a kind
In middle age the theme still thrills.

This metaphor, where can it go?
You are not yellow, it's not spring
And yet your image seems to flow
Like the lake, a moving thing.

I have no couch on which to lie
My mind goes vacant when I'm tired
But it's true I see you in mind's eye
Something stirs, my muse is fired.

Wordsworth's ode I learnt by heart
I recited it for my exam
Since then it's always been a part
Of me, the way I really am.

Proust with his dratted madeleine
Roamed at leisure in the past
Some memories remain the same
Burnt on your soul, they are stuck fast.

One Easter, it was long ago
You took me to the Yorkshire dales
We walked and you were proud to show
The daffs that had survived the gales.

So as in solitude I lie
Reflecting on what might have been
I see you with your head held high
Walking past that lakeland stream...

Written in 2006

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Friday, 18 April 2014

Cycling round Kinderdijk

A moment captured – lost in time
A row of windmills in a line
Small ripples caught in playful sun
Bulrushes whisper, cyclists come.

Clouds like cotton wool hang low
An Old Dutch masterpiece on show
While gusting wind sweeps straggly grass
And buffs the cheeks of those who pass.

Comfrey clusters on the bank
Cow parsley too; they love the damp
Narrow bridges catch the eye
And freedom-loving birds swoop by.

Near to, the windmills look sedate
Each proudly sports its founding date
Since 1740 on this site
Keeping the water levels right.

Stalwart sails toiled around the clock
Draining polders with livestock
Oh Defenders of a valiant Nation
Superceded by a pumping station!

Much of Holland lies below the sea
So polders and dikes will always be
A feature of this windswept scene
Where Delft skies merge with paintbox green.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Lent Draws to a Close

A swirl of clouds, a misty sun
The caw of birds across the lake
A coot and heron, one by one
Arrive from who knows where – and wait.

On the far side, barren trees
Scarce hide the neoclassic pile
The International school – a frieze
That adds Man’s touch to nature’s style.

The wind that can’t be seen, is heard
Pale blossoms cling for life, intent
On reminding us that spring has stirred
And soon will chase away cold Lent!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Gabrielle d'Estrées*

Come glorious dawn
And greet the morn
Fill me with rays of joy
So my shepherdess
A pure princess
May this new day enjoy.

Blonde tumbling hair
Beyond compare
A waist nymph-like and thin
Her twinkling eye
Like celestial sky
Heralds the star of spring.

Her soft skin glows
Like a dew-drenched rose
With a freshness quite complete
No ermine fur
Could equal her
Nor lily be half as sweet!

* Mistress of French King Henry IV - end 16th century
poem based on a French text (a homework!)
This painting hangs in the Louvre.

Written in 1966

(c) Poet in the woods 2014