Sunday, 20 April 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Superceded by a pumping station!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

Monday, 14 April 2014

Setting Sail

Every day brings fresh surprises
Amazing joys in time of crisis
Wide avenues come into view
With prospects challenging and new.

Routine is dull, yet reassuring
But in a lull, life can be boring.
So Fate is ruthless when it strikes
And once-safe certainties ignites.

Deep in the ashes, fertile soil
Where tiny green shoots now uncoil
And reach towards the springtime air
A brand new pattern soon forms there.

The chips are down, the die is cast
The race is on, the pace is fast
Caught up whether we will or no
Breathless, cresting on the flow.

The brake released, the gear engaged
Ahead a feast too long delayed
In a whirlwind swept up, my arms flail
The captain and the ship set sail!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Palm Sunday

Unbidden, the donkey He untied
The owner murmured no complaint
It was warm but not yet Eastertide
Which later artists were to paint.

Down dusty roads at leisured gait
Surrounded by palm-waving crowd
He ambled to the fabled Gate
While Hosannas rang out loud.

Imagine what went through His mind
When in the Garden He had prayed
Leaving His sleeping friends behind;
Alone and anxious and betrayed.

In the Upper Room they had no clue
The time of trial would come so soon
But for silver and a kiss He knew
Darkness would descend at noon.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Friday, 11 April 2014

Something's Missing

You can call me quaint, I’m out of step
With all the “apps” on Internet
On-line banking? Not for me
I still deal with an employee.

I like the twenty-minute stroll
Through the village to my goal
There’s no Post Office any more
Reduced to “Post Point” in a store.

The supermarkets are too vast
A zillion trolleys to get past
You stand in queues that stretch for miles
Too few cashiers, too few smiles.

Is the Smart phone now the way to go
With its brother, I-pad? I don’t know.
Little humanity survives
Electronic gadgets rule our lives.

No birthday cards, just SMS
Or an office email if you’re pressed.
We live in “bubbles” – music blaring
From MP3’s and no one caring…

(c) Poet in the woods 2014