Monday, 30 September 2013

September Departs!

I can’t believe the sky today
There’s not a rainy cloud in sight
A gentle breeze keeps them at bay
Not even a tiny fleck of white.

As bright September bids goodbye
It occurs to me it’s warm
Brief morning chill then clear and dry
And somehow not a single storm.

Then I meet a neighbour warmly clad
Who complains about the autumn chill
This makes me smile for I am glad
To see the trees their leaves now spill.

They swirl and rustle quite unchecked
Each day new patterns to arrange
Nature’s menopause effect
As the year goes through the change.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

A Snapshot of The Hague

They come from all sides, ringing bells
The pavements set the pace
And the unsuspecting tourist tells -
His neighbour, "It's a race!"

But no, this flat land, brightly clad
Despite the leaden skies
Is a wealth of wheels spinning like mad
Where movement never dies.

The Hague, no longer under wraps
Has history to explore
We walk until fit to collapse
Now "going Dutch" means more!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Happy Birthday to H.M.!

In Twenty-Six a general strike
Loomed o'er England's pleasant land
Churchill wielded budget might
And George the Fifth his Empire scanned.

On an inside column of "The Times",
Brief mention of a new princess
Just a few well chosen lines
Her birth disturbed her mother's rest.

In Thirty-Six her uncle Ed
For Wallis Simpson left the throne
Her gentle father ruled instead
Henceforth her life was not her own.

Against a backcloth of World War
She grew in stature, grace and poise
And at its end, the Palace saw
Her in the streets with our Brave Boys.

Soon Philip caught her youthful eye
Her wedding on a winter's day
Made headlines in a land bled dry
Where Austerity alone held sway.

With Charles and Anne both left behind,
She flew to Kenya's winter sun
Last sight of father on her mind,
At Treetops did the message come.

A saddened Princess, now our Queen,
Prime ministers? Now more than ten,
She rules at Ninety quite serene
Happy Birthday to H.M!

Born: 21st April, 1926

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Book Launch

At 6 the bookshop shuts its doors
But yesterday to great applause
At 7 an event took place
A local author, smile on face

Presented to a goodly crowd
His latest book; he read out loud
An entertaining page or two
But declined to see the story through!

Short stories must encapsulate
Some fact and fiction and relate
In a style that entertains
So the reader is at pains

To keep on turning every page,
His curiosity to assuage.
A simple task, you well might say
For skillful writers it does pay!

On deep red chairs the public sat
With wine in hand and lively chat
After having purchased this bright tome
Making our author better known!

Published on the Waterstones Bookshop Brussels FB page: 29/9/2013

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Enter Philip I of Belgium

It’s been hot and sultry for a week
The sun begins to bronze my feet
All my jackets left behind
For once the weather has been kind.

We reach the 21st this year
In blazing sunshine; it is clear
That our modest black-red-yellow nation
Will undergo a transformation.

King Albert, the second of the name,
Has for some time made it plain
That the affairs of State should be
In the hands of a younger man than he.

Forced by Baudouin’s death in Spain
In Ninety-Three, he’s learnt to reign;
Kept Belgium on an even keel
An act requiring nerves of steel.

The pessimists who expect “la drache”*
To pour cold water on the bash
As Philip steps up to the mark
Might have, for once, a change of heart.

Filip/Philippe – how will he sign?
It’s a language question every time!
But with his lovely wife Mathilde
The succession is fulfilled.

* heavy downpour on 21st July, National Day

(written 21st July 2013)

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Give Us Our Daily Bread!

Give us all our daily bread!
Hereabouts - not any more
The corner bakery is dead
A padlock on the door.

The hairdresser across the way
Confesses she’s distraught
Fresh baking smells would make her day;
For there she often bought -

A French baguette, some nice warm rolls
Or a fresh fruit tart;
What a boon for all those souls
Who sandwiched in the park.

The little houses in our street
Miss this friendly place
As here the neighbours used to meet
To gossip and to taste.

It’s the latest in a growing trend;
Small businesses are dying.
This lack of dough - where will it end?
Politics isn't trying.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013


Bad news travels down the Net
At such a speed that we forget
That only a few years ago
Newspapers rivalled radio!

At any time of day or night
Tragedies are bound to strike
Be they landslides, floods or crashes
The internet informs the masses.

Tsunamis, forest fires or storms
An earthquake or a mudslide forms
Bringing destruction in its wake
How much horror can we take?

And man’s worst enemy is man
So wars endure – think Vietnam,
Or World War II or the Crusades
The Inquisition, Viking raids.

How slowly then the news came through
And when it did, it wasn't new
We had more time then to take stock
But now we live in constant shock!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

I Wish You Enough

“I wish you enough”, my mother said
In a printed article she had read
Which seemed at first sight rather tough
How can she wish me ‘just enough’?

But as I read the passage through
I understood how it rang true
As if one has what one desires
In full, at once, how soon one tires.

The value somehow is impaired
Life’s little joys are best when shared.
If one comes top, or wins each race
With ease, there’s no thrill in the chase.

So when the road is hard, be strong
Confront the obstacles head on
Continue at your own sweet pace
It’s enough to come in second place!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

At the Church Folk Club

We’re gathered here in undercroft
Far from pew and organ loft
To entertain mostly in song;
Familiar faces come along

And take their seats with drink in hand
To listen to guitar or band
Or pianist on ivory keys
When we begin, it’s “Quiet, please!”

Old favourites make us sing along
But on this stage a brand new song
Penned to delight the public’s ear
May have its first appearance here.

So old and new and tried and true
Folksy, comic, gospel, blue
All styles accepted, that’s the fun
You never know what is to come.

We amateurs like to “have a go”
Hence the varied mix on every show
Under St. Andrew’s gaze benign
Each one has a chance to shine.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Monday, 23 September 2013

Keeping the Garage Free!

There are days when life seems set on hold
With nothing but the sheets to fold
Or plants to water, fridge to clean
Or hours in front of TV screen.

Time seems to drag, the phone is still,
No mail, not even one small bill
Just hours and hours to contemplate
The world in such a parlous state.

So a honking horn in our retreat
Caused mild excitement in the street
A huge black car had parked outside
Blocking access to our drive.

My neighbour could not wait all day
So a truck soon towed the car away
The whole thing happened very fast
Live entertainment here at last!

Three policemen all in navy blue
Stood on the corner watching too.
The driver soon will pull a face
When he comes back and finds no trace

Of his vehicle in this lonely spot.
Did I say lonely? It is not!
Garages are at a premium here
So we fight to keep our access clear!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Car-Free Day in Brussels

On a warm September day it starts
At 9 a.m. each driver parks
As Brussels once more sets in motion
Other forms of locomotion.

It’s car-free Sunday once again!
Outsiders all arrive by train
Police cars man the barricades
Making way for street parades.

The traffic lights go red and green
But the invading cyclists seem
To disregard the Highway Code
Going any which way down the road.

Along the boulevard it’s worse
Pedestrians can only curse
As bikes at speed swerve to avoid
Each other; who is most annoyed?

It’s supposed to be a peaceful day
Where trams and roller-blades can play
A useful and a quieter part
In mobility in Europe’s heart.

Instead, bandstands and stalls now line
The routes and music sounds - big time!
At 7 p.m. they let cars through
A quieter option, what think you?

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

The spotlight falls upon the Cape
The media circus in full spate
As Nelson Mandela, ninety-four
Hangs onto life – but how long for?

A lung infection so we’re told
Has very firmly taken hold
This elder statesman much admired
Is weakening and growing tired.

South Africans of every hue
Dumbfounded, don’t know what to do
His cry for freedom heard once more
Will echo soon at Heaven’s door.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Died 5th December, 2013 What a wonderful role model
and inspiration!

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Bubble has Burst!

The recession hits us long and hard
Jobs lost, our spending power is halved
Utilities that we need and use
Skyrocket - we've all got the blues!

Some social services close their doors
And luck runs out for local stores
We grow our veggies, make and mend
And where possible - don’t spend.

The hunt for jobs is fierce and long
And to succeed you must be strong
The level of skills is very high
Just the cream of the crop gets by.

So, many strike out on their own,
With business cards and mobile ‘phone
After wading through a paper trail
Of tax forms, VAT, junk mail.

It isn't like it used to be
You can’t retire at fifty-three
And enjoy two holidays a year;
The good times simply are not there.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Thursday, 19 September 2013


When the Tuscan Zephyr gently blows
Round vineyards and deep olive groves
From murmuring hillsides is unfurled
A museum in a living world.

What joy that Dante's birthplace stands
Amid the rush of modern man
Near Duomo and old Neptune's fork
Which many an idle hour have bought.

Look where the Sabine women find
Their rape accounted for all time.
And marvel all on Shank's pony
From Vecchio Pont to Tornabuoni.

Who would think in days of yore
This scene was set in blood and gore.
Such was the hated civil strife
That Guelph and Ghibelline lost life.

Speak Florence, for I love thee still
Bathed in sunlight from the hill.
With ageless Arno flowing by -
My thoughts will ever to thee fly.

There's no time now to contemplate
The ripened gold celestial gate
Where in my student days I saw
A vision of what lay in store.

But gentle friend, perhaps this day
You'll tread these self same streets and stay
To feel the memories enshrined
That made that Comedy Divine.

For patience brings its own reward.
Your lonely heart will be restored.
My presence too is in the stone
Believe me, you are not alone.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

It Depends Whether

I thought it was too good to last
The blazing sunshine of July
But miracles do come to pass
As August too was warm and dry!

In shorts and sandals, smiles in place
Jackets quite forgot at home
Brussels commuters slowed their pace
But being Belgian had to moan.

They complained about the torrid heat
How their gardens wilted in the sun
How life was hard with swollen feet
No energy to get things done.

But now that autumn brings the rain
And sombre evenings lie ahead
Umbrellas all come out again;
They whinge about the chill instead!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Pushing the Boat out

I heard a fun phrase aired today
I’m sure it’s been and done the rounds
But it had never come my way
I latched onto its clever sounds.

I forget the subject of the chat
But enthusiasm played a part
It flowed so nicely and off pat
That I lodged it firmly in my heart.

What was it, I can hear you say
That so attracted, I took note?
I shall not rest till I can say:
Someone or something “floats my boat”!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Expanding Horizons - May 1st, 2004

The first of May. Another day?
But no - we go
From 15 to 25 at one go.
The Union opens up its gates
To ex Iron Curtain States.
The world is turned upon its head
These politicians make their bed
It's now too late to change the sheets
Let's hope new partners' sleep is sweet.
Fireworks, hot air balloons, parades
What's done is done and memory fades
We've half of Cyprus - is that wise?
Hungary and Latvia - no surprise.
And valiant Malta with George Cross;
Slovakia's also won the toss.
Catholic Poland, Lithuania
Still on the list - Romania.
The Czech Republic: "Welcome Prague!"
Say Ljubljana - it is hard.
Slovenia, you're not on your own-ia
We must not forget Estonia.
That wraps it up - but what a laugh
I make it twenty-four and a half!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Monday, 16 September 2013

A Glimpse of Autumn

The spider weaves his web so fine
It glistens in the autumn shine
Ensnaring flies from time to time
Against my wall
While the leaves lay scattered at my feet
Their colours interwoven, neat
Slight vestiges of summer heat
In Autumn’s hall.

Rustling wind, billowing clouds
Dark shadows clothe the trees like shrouds
Their silhouettes are stark and bowed
I gaze aloft
A single plane with smoky trail
Makes lacy patterns o’er the vale
So man and spider never fail
Their art to waft.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Bucking the Trend

I am thinking as the days draw in,
And winter stands within our sights
How easy it is to give in
And stay home on these dim, cold nights.

Curled up with a good book and tea
The curtains closed, the radio on
Or maybe watching some TV
Like many a lonely singleton.

But is this life, I ask myself
As I bite into a piece of cake
Or take a biscuit off the shelf
And absent-mindedly partake?

I feel I ought to get a grip,
Wrap up warm and face the fray
Now into life’s pool I must dip
Before the waters flow away!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Autumn Paintbox

The rolling hills and sparkling streams
The countryside with myriad greens
And everywhere you look it seems
Nature’s on show
At this time of the year the sun
Smiles on us now that harvest’s done
And melts the wreaths of mist that run
O’er fields below.

No woven carpet can compare
As autumn’s palette has such flair
The Master’s touch is everywhere
In wood and park
I put my stressful thoughts aside
And for a moment I take pride
In all the beauty just outside
Which gives life spark!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

René Magritte (1898-1967)

Heard a programme on Magritte today,
The Belgian artist much admired
Whose traumatic childhood came to play
A decisive role which has inspired.

A faithless father, mother’s trauma
Her suicide post World War One
So many moves, a constant drama
Escapism in films his fun.

Georgette his wife appeased his soul
And his cynical approach assuaged
Yet memories buried deep soon stole
The limelight on each canvas page.

Known in the Sixties for design
His posters won him world acclaim;
He remains hermetic for all time
Surrealism is his middle name!


René Magritte: Nov 21, 1898 - Aug 15, 1967

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Saturday, 14 September 2013


Lost in a sea of waves
Buffeted by life’s storms
Longing for a word that saves
A friendly hug, a word that warms.

Outside are people on their way
Do they seek this pool of calm?
There’s something out there, who can say
When it will come, this soothing balm?

Lost perhaps, we drift away
Losing sight of God’s warm light
We move on slowly and betray
Our fears and yet - we hold on tight.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Friday, 13 September 2013

Hurricane Irene 2011

The news is bad, Irene has come
East Coast is shrouded from the sun
The New York mayor has done his best
His plans await the final test.

Ground Zero braces for the worst
This hallowed site is doubly cursed
Low-lying in more ways than one
The evacuation has begun.

When Nature lashes out once more
All bets are off, and less is more
Emails and Internet – forget
Storm surges, floods - we can’t connect.

A fearful waiting game is played
When the Elements are on parade
We are reminded of our humble place
Far at the back of Nature’s race.

Hurricane Irene raged between 21-29 August, 2011.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Ayer's Rock

The barren plain before our gaze
Cloud cover quite precludes a haze
A sprinkling of bright-coloured flowers
The result of recent, rare, spring showers.

A purple tooth, devoid of scrub
Dominates the sky above
Whence it came, the Native knows
And Dreamtime legend surely shows.

But we, in air-conditioned coach
Are regarded somewhat with reproach.
Do we profane a sacred site
With sunset viewing, wine and bite?

Uluru – Ayer’s Rock to us
Must be magnificent at dusk.
Unfortunately, the day we went
The sunset was a non-event!

(written in 2000)

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Thursday, 12 September 2013

A Feeling of Excitement

Something’s in the air as autumn turns
The sun’s still warm but no one burns
A feverishness like rustling leaves
Is it the Divine that breathes?

I feel it all around me now
As if my cloak of care I slough
There’s brightness on the road ahead
And a certain lightness in my tread.

Repressed excitement and elation
Like a train about to leave the station
Where it’s lain neglected far too long;
The exhilarating wind is strong.

Last obstacles are overcome
The engine burgeons into song
The points have all clicked into place
No worries – we have joined the race!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Barford Mill

Cascading torrents flooding time-encrusted rocks
Droplets like so many sparkling thoughts
Deep pools wherein do lie lost dreams
And yet the water rushes over
Like a thousand streams.

For centuries of grinding corn to purest flour
The dusty labourers bent upon their endless work
Great oaken beams a testimony bear this hour
In tired floors and well-loved spiral treads.
Almost one can hear the throaty miller's cry
Across the golden grain

The red-haired 'prentice boy bare thirteen years
Toiling with a loaded sack - a peasant's livelihood
All gone - if Mother Nature was not kind -
Entrusted to his care; and all to do before the boiling sun
Melts upon a deepest blue beyond; they call it sunset
But the boy knows none of this.

That noble arch has stood the test of time
Has seen the midnight rider and the huntsman
And even lovers met beneath its litchened stones
To gaze at stars.
But many generations and ideas are born
Since first it raised its lofty arms to heaven.

Within the mill, stone wheels which ground
In endless torment, cease at last
The sacks are filled no more
Yet how many jovial millers trod these boards?
Who knows?

Perhaps long-darkened eyes saw this expense of golden crests
Sweeping to infinity, with eager nodding heads
Old roses hug the porch way, to hand the cracks of time
And hidden from the autumn shine
A cellar stacked with casks of mellowed wine;

And still the silver water tumbles over rounded rocks
Like the touch of a child upon a toy
O Mill of a thousand secrets, master of the fields around
The world is thine!

(written in 1967)

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

September 11th - 2001

A lovely, blue-skied New York day
America in the Fall
All thoughts of danger far away
And suspicious - not at all.

Business as usual just at nine
Wall Street on the make
The world's finances are on line
And cell 'phones make or break.

4 aircrews, each on scheduled flight
Whose planes are filled with fuel,
By hijackers are forced to fight
A reversal of the rule.

With North and South Towers in their sights
Without warning came
These capsules bringing certain death
Exploding into flame.

And so the towering giants fell
Symbols of U.S. might
With consequences who can tell
As George Bush wants to fight!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

9/11 Memorial

World Trade Center - 2011

Ten years since Bush, at Deep South school
Heard whispered by his aides the news
That scheduled aircraft filled with fuel
Had changed forever N.Y. views.

The reading programme soon dismissed
The children were the first to hear
That the U.S. also was at risk
All flights grounded everywhere.

A scene of horror and destruction
Dust and debris – sudden death
3000 lives had ceased to function
Those below fought for their breath.


Another bright September day
Obama at Ground Zero speaks
The memories will not go away
The music plays, the crowd still weeps.

Upheavals and an Arab spring
Libya fights to turn the page
Ten years later we still cling
To the values of a bygone age.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Monday, 9 September 2013

Eternal Barbados

The lapping of the waves
The early morning haze
This erstwhile land of slaves -

This Caribbean isle
With its people who beguile
All with warm and friendly smile -

Luscious growth on every hand
Smooth and sparkling strand
But tree frogs should be banned -

Floodlit palm trees, velvet sky
A gentle breeze and leaves that sigh
Warm air - humidity is high -

Hibiscus, jasmine, tamarind
Bougainvillea in the wind
The Trades that many a sail have trimmed -

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

The House Opposite

Late September, deep blue skies
We're still in shorts; now is that wise?
It's warm and sunny, not a cloud
Belgium looks good. I am proud.

Stray tourists who by chance are here
Will sit outside and drink their beer
Admiring views of quaint old streets
Before they stroll off for some eats.

Work has begun across the way
The trees that took my sun away
Have now been lopped and passage made
My terrace comes out from the shade.

For many years, this house was dead
No lights, no movement; it was said
That rats had made it their abode
Unwanted squatters in our road.

A big conversion so I'm told
Is planned now that the house is sold.
Until last week, weeds blocked the door
Today I realise they're no more.

New owner Marc and pal Fabrice
Come every day and do not cease
To hack at tree roots, stack up bricks
And clear away the weeds in skips.

They told me what they had just found
A grass snake slithering around.
With the forest path by our back door
There may indeed be many more!

The Commune says work can't begin
Until the very early Spring
But nonetheless each day I see
Care lavished on this home-to-be!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

"Le Coin du Balai" S.E. Brussels


A dear old lady whom I know
Whose friendship gives me a warm glow
Has been taken from her charming flat;
As her doctor signed a paper – that

Enabled scattered kith and kin
To throw her treasures in the bin!
All valued items have been sold;
Such cruelty makes my blood run cold!

Insult to injury what’s more
The flat which lies on second floor
Of Fifties block in quiet square
Shows signs of life – new tenants there!

Aged ninety-two, a fragile soul
She’s fallen into a black hole
No one to turn to, no one cares
Bewilderment met by blank stares.

Independence lost, in passive mode
To enter the Home you need a code
This we have so can pass by
A little comfort to supply.

It’s not the same, she’s forced to share
Her bedroom – always someone there
Thank God she has a telephone
Her family has hearts of stone!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

She died - barely 2 months later ...

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Night Visitors

Blue skies in August, bright sunlight
Sometimes (not always) stars at night
A waft of warm – I step outside
But where do all my neighbours hide?

I know that some are still around
The lights go on, stray voices sound
And echo down our quiet street
Where full bin bags are placed each week.

Marauding foxes, lean and keen
Come tumbling out at night unseen
Attracted by the pungent smell
Inside our plastic bags from hell -

Which catch the summer sun’s last rays
As they “ripen” hidden from our gaze.
In no time, eager paws let rip
And the street becomes a rubbish tip.

This scattered debris of our lives
Is a midnight feast for prying eyes
Though by the dawning of the day
Night’s revellers have all slunk away.

So each of us in turn is faced
With the remnants of a paper chase
To clear before the bin men pass
While the fox deep in his lair just laughs!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Glad Rags

The poor and needy claim my skills
I unpack clothes, a morning fills
With cast-off garments stuffed in sacks
Often suits from heart attacks.

Or posh and scarce-worn children’s shoes,
Assorted nightwear, who knows whose?
Jackets, Macs and anoraks
Knitted scarves and ladies’ hats

Or drawers of undies, frilled and plain,
(Though matching pairs are sought in vain).
If you want footwear, those back shelves
Are stacked with fives as well as twelves!

For those keen to accessorize
That rack has handbags, belts and ties.
Nighties, pinafores and long skirts
Jostle next to rows of shirts.

And down the far side, on the right
Are children’s garments grouped by height,
As labels marking size and age
Are lost or faded at this stage.

We’re winter now and nice warm coats
Soon walk out buttoned round new throats.
There are berets, skiwear, wellies, slippers
Tee-shirts, jeans and outsize knickers.

All tastes are catered for, it’s true
Sandals and swimwear, some near new,
Are neatly folded by the door.
Each week the van delivers more.

We’re a little group of volunteers
Some who’ve given time for years
Though I’m the new kid on the block
Our aim? To help those who “have not”.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Saturday, 7 September 2013


At last - the scene outside is new
The wave of sultry heat is through
My terrace flowers perk up too.

Beneath a seamless leaden sky
The rain in torrents flows on by
Till not a cobblestone is dry.

Both my skylights on top floor
Record the rivulets that pour
And clean the dusty panes once more.

Of course there are those who complain
In strident tones about the rain
Though its cleansing properties are plain.

The truth is - we’re not used to heat
But this time it’s with joy I greet
The watercolours in my street!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Benedict XVI

Events come thick and fast these days
Some quite surprising; I’m amazed
I hope I caught the message right
The Vatican’s in another plight.

Paedophile priests first shocked the church
A scandal causing much soul search
Poor Benedict, the German Pope
Weighed down with his embroidered cope

Has valiantly held the reins
Of Catholic Power but these strains
Together with exhausting travel
Now cause his future to unravel.

Time passes – he is eighty-five
A pacemaker keeps him alive
Is he now equal to the task?
Like Jesus he wants the cup to pass.

He’s way beyond retirement age
Surely it’s time to turn the page?
He’s declared his intention to step down
Who now will wear the papal crown?

None but his brother knew his mind
The Press were stunned and could not find
A spokesman to confirm this news
Which spawned worldwide conflicting views.

Events, as I have said, move fast
No time for dwelling on the past
The hunt is on for someone new;
By Easter though we should know who.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Retired on 28th February, 2013.

On a Swiss Roll

Friends lured me to the Alpine slopes
Where their chalet hangs half in the air
As if about to take a leap
And tumble through the stratosphere!

But not to worry, it stays put
Great wooden beams hold it in place
Giving it a rustic look
With cheerful curtains round its face.

Well designed, compact and neat
Its generous cellar stashed with wine
You reach it from a winding street
From the bus stop it is quite a climb!

It was summer when I made my trek
So flowers lay around not snow
Grasshoppers dive bombed, blooming ‘eck!
Even the crickets had a go!

In August this smart ski resort
Which nestles in a deep ravine
Seems empty, all its goods unbought
In December it’s a different scene.

For a week I lived in ‘Ferret four’
And gorged on Rösti, cheese and wine
With many mountains to explore
It must be fun in wintertime!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013


What a wonderful name is Willemine
It makes a natural link with queen

Of course it suits you like a dream
It’s not a milk name – it’s the cream

It sounds just like a burbling stream
Sparkling, bright, swift moving, clean

Full of life, fish swirl and teem
In the hidden depths of Willemine!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Living in the Moment

That Time is infinite - we know
But the speed at which we feel it go
Varies from very fast to slow
God’s hand is deft
If in a queue we have to wait
For tickets, does the train come late?
Of course not - Murphy’s laws dictate
That it’s just left.

However, when you’re having fun
Say on holiday in the sun
Two weeks will soon roll into one
At speed of light
Those in love know what I mean
The fast pace spins them though a dream
While others plod through dull routine
This can’t be right.

The intensity of a first meeting
Fired up like central heating
Is a joy so sharp and yet so fleeting
Though memories last
Living in the moment is so rare
Time speeds up every time we’re there
How is then that we don’t dare
To live this fast?

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Habemus Papem (Jorge Mario Bergoglio)

7 p.m. - peak viewing time
Observers saw the white smoke climb
And curl around the chimney stack
St. Peters, floodlit, was on track.

The conclave in the Sistine chapel
Had very quickly come to grapple
With the situation brought about
By Benedict who’d wanted out.

The Cardinals soon made their choice
Five ballots later a new voice
Was chosen, but we had to wait
More than an hour and contemplate

St. Peter’s Square where people came
And stood together in the rain
Curious, bemused, aware
That history would be made right there.

The commentators, brought up short
Waited - with no news to report
They speculated, filmed the crowd
And voiced all their opinions loud.

Who would he be – this brand new Pope?
And would he have the skills to cope
With a Catholic Church ripe for reform
And guide the Faithful through the storm?

The curtains part, the Pope walks out
Dressed all in white, he looks devout
“Buona sera!” floats above the din
He asks the crowd to pray for him.

Who is he? This is unexpected
Whom have the cardinals elected?
Italian background, that is fine
But he is in fact an Argentine!

At 76, no longer young
His Rome career has now begun
And with it comes a name brand new
Francis - evocative and true!

Elected Pope 13th March, 2013

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

A Word on Clutter

Why do our homes burst at the seams
With clutter, memorabilia, dreams
Cute ornaments received with love
Attracting dust from up above.

Book shelves crammed - most books read
Escapism enjoyed in bed
Thrillers whizzed through, not put down
Till the cast iron alibi’s brought down.

Dinner service, brandy glasses
Tablecloths and flower vases
Towels and bathmats past their best
Sheets and pillowcases stressed.

The medicine chest – Aladdin’s cave
What items still will soothe and save?
And the jumbled pile of boots and shoes
There’s much there surely I could lose.

Our possessions block our way ahead
Knee deep in items widely spread
Across our paths, we are not free
It’s time methinks for some Feng Shui!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

The Girl Guide

Dare I hope my luck will turn?
Will I soon begin to earn
The sort of income that inspires
The brighter burning of home fires?

Last year I put my cards about
My friends at least are in no doubt
That my career as tourist guide
Will be a rollercoaster ride.

Myself, I cannot see it yet
It’s true the odd request I get
To take small groups, all warmly clad,
‘Round Brussels, but is this a fad?

My net is spreading far and wide
The phone is still, my time I bide
Encouraged by my many friends,
I study and research new trends.

Around this city oft I gaze
It never ceases to amaze,
The wealth of stories, anecdote
Its famous visitors of note.

Its crumbling buildings, modern shops
Its restaurants, and there are lots,
Which beckon to the passers-by,
Its many specialties to try.

Before one dines, why not a walk
Because this town can really talk
Its stones imbued with history,
Which I’ll explain, if you are free.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Note: Qualified Tourist Guide since 2004!

Death in Dallas

A newsflash brought it back again
I could see the images quite plain
In Dallas that autumnal day
The sleek sedan that led the way
Through a densely lined expectant crowd
Whose shouts for Kennedy rang loud
While Jackie in her pink pill hat
And matching coat beside him sat
With car roof down so all could see
For whom their vote would surely be.

Across the way, the library block
The car slows down but does not stop
All seems calm then shots ring out
Jack’s brains are spattered all about.
A moment in time which shook the West
Our certainties put to the test
A Nation’s hopes dashed at a stroke
Lee Harvey Oswald was the bloke
Found guilty; and in one week shot
Despite rumours of a well-planned plot.

When the shaky footage is replayed
We see again the cavalcade
Hear mention of the grassy knoll
Observe the panic, see the loll
Of that handsome head on Jackie’s lap
As the car speeds off in flash of black.
Those who were there do not forget
That the Ace of Spades was in the deck
The memories linger, ebb and flow
Though this happened fifty years ago.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

On 22nd November, 1963

End of Summer

Somehow the heat has been turned down
The trees are tipped with copper crown
Scurries of leaves come tumbling down
On tarmac street
There was mist this morning I could swear
Keats' mellow fruitfulness is near
Next week begins the new school year
Small joyful feet.

The traffic, which has lulled, will grow
The early trams will overflow
As back to work the masses go
With sun-kissed hair
The lucky ones recount their stay
In some exotic hideaway
But soon they’ll be engulfed in grey
Too stressed to care.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Meditations on an Autumn Afternoon

Autumn is:
Copper clothes pegs hanging from natural washing lines,
Threadbare gossamered canopies yielding to relentless winds
Hordes of furred squirrels scattering through billowing eddies.

Autumn is:
Debased bronze coinage of summer discarded from verdant coffers
Blue skies hazed over with a careless streak of powdered milk
The gradual appearance of hidden country cottages with leafy shutters drawn aside.

Autumn is:
Gift-wrapped sets of glossy bowling balls in knife-sharp globules
The roasting hairdryer of summer turned down to medium cool
A farmer's hayfield having a crew cut.

Autumn is:
The shallow veneer of carpeting swept away to reveal a barren underlay
The gardener's truce with ordered symmetry until the following spring
The dried up river bed filled with remnants of carefree picnickers.

Autumn is:
Allotment tenderers out in force amongst the early marshalled cabbage leaves
An old man and his dog fighting a losing battle against the swirling mists on a dank Sunday afternoon
The swallows on the old church roof awaiting a secret signal to depart.

Autumn is:
The hurdy-gurdy and garish light of the strolling fairground fading with the twilight
Nature's rich increase glowing like lanterns along the garden paths
And this endless walk through myriad byways
Encountering the marvels of the year's middle age.

(written in 1970)

(c) Poet in the woods 2013