Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Ethereal Greetings

The sun was blazing overhead
Her brain was feeling addled
There were things she’d rather do instead
But with postcards she was saddled.

I wonder, thought she, as she gazed
At the lengthy Christmas list
Whether many friends would be dismayed
If their names were dropped or missed?

It’s far too hot to walk outside
To the Post Office and queue
But cool indoors - so I decide
This year emails will do!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 30 December 2013

Early morning stroll in Blackwood

Despite cloud cover it is warm
There’s not a drop of rain in sight
Under leaves bright insects swarm
Two snails inch forward in the light.

It’s early – cars are scarce today
The weekend shoppers still at home
“Sorry – we’re closed” the signs all say
In this local complex I’m alone.

Second hand books, a Laundromat,
Pets’ grooming parlour, garden tools,
A charity shop – clothes stuffed on racks
Real Estate agent, swimming pools.

It’s not yet nine; I cross the road
Up three hours now, jet lag’s a curse
Images and thoughts in overload
My stroll enshrined in this short verse.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Excursion to Mount Lofty

Mount Lofty beckons in the sun
The focal point for miles around
Three transmitters, not just one
Stand guard on Adelaide's huge mound.

The road meanders; steep ravines
Huge jagged rocks - encased by nets
Offer such dramatic scenes
Worthy of an outback set.

A weathered lighthouse, painted white
Provides a backcloth unexpected
To Business District just in sight;
Beyond - the deep blue sea detected.

While tourists all admire the view
On huge panels are displayed
Salt flats and housing, airport new
Glenelg high rise and beach parade.

I see two men in helmets climb
A flight of steps behind the shop
To man the fire look-out full time
And guard this precious beauty spot.

We treat ourselves to lunch inside
The shade's essential in this heat
Time for some gifts - the choice is wide
"Proudly Australian" can't be beat!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Facing the Heat

The heat means dry leaves everywhere
Coupled with parched garden plants
Which wither in the burning glare
Of the unrelenting summer dance.

Inside the houses fridges fill
With jams and relishes and fruit
Only fake flowers on windowsill
Can stand the heat and still look cute.

A total fire ban is in force
Tasmania’s lost a hundred homes
No charcoal BBQs of course
But life is tough for garden gnomes!

The Lucky Country here for some
Who travel on an empty road
But as I from crowded Europe come
Life means a certain change of mode!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Friday, 27 December 2013

It's a Shell-Out!

Jumbo prawns on bed of ice
Served up at Christmas are so nice
A seafood platter starts the meal
Happiness on a fisher’s reel!

Glossy pink with coal black eyes
Each chilled out body proudly lies
In haphazard fashion to our view;
In no time there are very few …

As eager guests pile up their plates
At once - here no one waits;
Large pots of mayo tinged with red,
And lemon juice, are quickly spread

On festive plates; all glasses raised
The Barossa Valley tipple praised
Australia is well known for wine;
Cheers, everyone – it is sublime!

The Ozzie style for festive fare
Eaten in the sun’s bright glare
Means a cold buffet is more the norm
With star of the show – the prawn!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Serendipity - Beachmere, Queensland

Sweet air – a vast expanse of calm
Man’s presence here is most discreet
As plants and shrubs form their display
Of verdant tendrils in the heat.

Poinciana - flowers red - shake free
Bright butterflies take flight unseen
A constant chatter – birds swoop low
And vanish in the uncut green.

Harsh raucous laughter heard nearby
As kookaburras greet the dawn
Fair weather clouds – bare wisps above
Belie talk of Impending storm.

Midweek but traffic flows are slight
More ants than cars from where I sit
In cushioned splendour on the deck
Puzzling what makes Queensland tick.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Coffee at Rundle Mall

Pedestrian precinct in bright light
Adelaide shopping at its height
Such razzmatazz, street buskers sing
A merry-go-round is in full swing.

Special offers, prices slashed
Bargains to be had for cash
City Cross: jam-packed for lunch
Assorted stalls where people munch

A host of different take-away
The business world on holiday!
Time for coffee and a break
I think I will forego the cake

So enticingly put on display
The portions take my breath away.
My cappuccino - with a dash
Of powdered chocolate - has panache.

Each sip is a pure delight
They’ve got the frothy blend just right.
I drain the cup – what a surprise
A big smile greets my startled eyes!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Heatwave

The heatwave keeps us all inside,
Curtains drawn, away from light
A whirring fan serves as our guide
Cooling us as best it might.

I think of Europe far away
Where rain and snow are commonplace
As we draw near to Christmas Day
Strong Aussie sunshine warms my face.

Time to reflect on Bible Tale
Where Babe in manger once was laid
In Bethlehem’s bright sunny vale
Near desert lands devoid of shade

Yet still the cards show frosty scenes
Typical of Northern climes
Although the Big Isle Christmas means
Weather akin to Bible times.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Monday, 23 December 2013

An Ozzie Christmas

There’s a frontier feel to Adelaide
That nestles in the Hills
Sun-baked grasslands, lack of shade
And gas-fired outdoor grills.

Empty roads and deep blue skies
Where are the million strong -
Who celebrate with warm mince pies
And with their families throng?

The last and desperate spending splurge
Is promoted on T.V.
As “Carols at Christmas” quietly urge
More caring charity.

A tinsel, spangle, bauble tree
Reflects the feast of light
That primeval winter solstice
Reborn as Christmas Night.

(c) Poet in the Woods 2013

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Morning Tea - Down Under

Morning Tea is a real feast
An ‘Elevenses’ where at the least
Lamingtons* and buns appear
Lavishly home baked with care.

Recipes both old and new
Reflect what each skilled cook can do;
Shortbread and banana cake
And “Melting Moments” all await

Enthusiastic guests who come
To chat with friends out in the sun;
Coffee more than tea - the thing
Mugs more than cups - to drink it in.

No saucers, forks or serviettes
But what variety one gets
Hospitality in the Antipodes
Means plates soon shed their tasty loads!

* sponge cake squares dipped in jam and covered with desiccated coconut

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Saturday, 21 December 2013

On the Trans-Adelaide

There were ants on the platform
By the sign that said “Belair”
A few dried eucalyptus leaves
Lay scattered here and there.

Three ladies all in summer chic
Sheltered from the blazing sun
Shunning rays whose deadly aim
Is harmful now to everyone.

But I, for whom blue skies are rare,
Enjoy the warmth - and hat on head
Admire Australia’s pure clean air
And count my blessings here instead.

The little train weaves through the Hills
The sunlight makes the rocks seem stark
The houses, all low-rise, no frills
Matchboxes in a barren park.

What of the passengers? None wore suits
Each reads a book or scans the news
While I betray my Northern roots
And sit, spellbound by Nature’s views.

The talk is all of summer drought
My brother has not filled his pool
Politicians have their work cut out
Saving water is the rule.

We pass through stations small and neat
A casual few board or alight
And punch their tickets, take their seat
There’s room for all – no need to fight!

Sedate, genteel, some wear thongs
Normal dress for these warm climes
My summer wardrobe now belongs
To Adelaide – in winter times!

My watch ticks so I steal a peek
And calculate the hour back home*
The friends I know are fast asleep
While I’m awake and write this poem.

They’re playing cricket as we pass –
The marshalling yard; we’re nearly there
While all around is yellowed grass
A desert in a city sphere.

(written in 2007)

* 9.5 hours earlier

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Friday, 20 December 2013

Bush Fire Alert!

Innocuous-looking deep blue skies
Greet us daily as we rise
But behind that baby blue – beware
Intensive sun can cause a scare.

Heat cannot be seen, just felt
In no time we begin to melt
The odd cloud like a bit of fluff
Gives the sky’s blue shirt a cuff.

The wind gets up and ruffles trees
It’s what you might call a stiff breeze
It suggests to me a cooling down
But danger threatens all around.

There are those whose chief delight
Is wilfully setting scrub alight
A scorched policy in all but name
We fear being engulfed by flame!

Oz fire trucks wait on red alert
As a lightning flash could really hurt
A sudden blaze fuelled by the breeze
Could bring the city to its knees.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Afterthoughts on Dad

Suspended in the air – on hold
Dad’s warm hands have now grown cold
Angels in their arms enfold
His mortal frame;
His soul floats free - an inner glow
Is felt by all of those who know
And love and see him go -
Life’s not the same.

What a long life we celebrate
A friendly interest he would take
In everything; he liked debate
And was well read;
An only child, quite self-contained
An engineer who always claimed
There was something to be gained
From life’s rich thread.

Geography close to his heart
With maps, both an integral part
Of his personal astral-chart
From a young age;
His interests ranged far and wide
Sport and writing side by side
Until his mind went on the tide
Lost in a cage…

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Dad: 1918-2013

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

In Memory of Dad

Friday the thirteenth, late at night
The telephone gives us a fright
The nursing home where dear Dad lay
So peaceful when we went today

Has one last duty to perform
Harbinger of a sadder dawn.
Dad’s hold on life has ebbed away
His soul has taken flight today.

Safe and at peace; and we who mourn
Bless the star when he was born
Two months older than Mandela
Like him, a caring thoughtful fellow.

A navigator in World War II
Mum fell for this young man in blue
Because right from the very start
Tom wrote poems from the heart.

The war was ending, they were wed
So fast have sixty-eight years sped
Fully employed and never ill
Active in retirement still:

A sportsman on the tennis court
Lover of English which he taught
Helping the young to get ahead
Education stands them in good stead.

Her life bound up in Dad’s embrace
Mum’s now alone and has to face
The future – an uncharted map
Where we, her children, fill the gap.

We’re a loving family, very small
On whom she knows that she can call
As well as all her friends who care
As she enters bravely this new sphere.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Red Ribbons

Eucalyptus trees - perennial green
The seasons change but they are seen
Against a sky of sapphire blue
Their silver bark forever new.

Leaves fall aplenty - brittle, dry
And new growth burgeons on the sly
Their branches whisper in the wind
Clothed in green, tall and long-limbed.

I crunch leaf litter – crackling sound
A light breeze pushes it around
No paths are swept and insects find
In billowing swathes a haven kind.

It’s surreal what at year’s end occurs
These noble trees, like Christmas firs
Are with red ribbons neatly wound;
Australia’s sentinels astound!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Monday, 16 December 2013

Making Plans

When I reflect it seems to me
Life has a pattern one can’t see
Plans are made and hopes are high
We often think we’re home and dry
When some small factor we’ve neglected
Causes an outcome unexpected.

People forget, or turn up late
Or have too much upon their plate
There’s a pile up on the motorway
Or the country has a holiday
A bomb scare or a factory fire
A wildcat strike, a faulty wire.

No one can predict the way
Our careful plans will go astray;
Time and again we’re on the brink
Forced to stop, backtrack and think
So our hectic lives are never dull:
But there are blessings in a lull!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Sunday, 15 December 2013

At the Level Crossing

Dappled shadows fleck the street
Magpies chatter, railroads meet
I wander early in warm sun
A flash of bikies do the ton.

Proud Scots pine and eucalypt
Form a curtain neatly clipped
Hiding low-rise, brick-built homes
From casual passers-by, unknowns.

The traffic – not a steady stream
Erupts upon this peaceful scene
But everyone seems quite laid back
Windows down, loud CD track.

Suburbia: glades and yellowed grass
Fire warnings, road sign: “Possums pass”
The level crossing flashes red
The cars start to line up ahead.

The local train soon passes through
Two coaches - passengers are few
As most prefer to take their car
On empty roads you can go far!

The barriers stay down - for freight
An endless line goes Inter-State
Cyclists dismount, more cars queue
And still the wagons hurtle through.

December and the sun’s intense
A hat with wide brim my defence
Against its burning lethal rays
As I stand, bewildered, in its haze.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Changi Airport 2013

Singapore Airlines do us proud
Serving such a lively crowd
The Airbus bulges – each place taken
The captain’s voice full of elation.

The hostesses are pert and sweet
Their slim forms guide us to our seat
We leave cold London sans regret
Cut off for once from Internet.

The film and audio choice is vast
The Flight Path shows we travel fast.
Crossing continents one more time;
Above the clouds, the world seems fine -

As droughts, tsunamis, floods and wars
Seem unreal as the Airbus soars.
Twelve hours confined in cramped conditions
The price to pay for family missions.

We touch down briefly - Singapore
And bathe in humid heat once more
Europe now seems far behind
In seven hours Australia’s mine!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Friday, 13 December 2013

At Broken Wharf - London

A Monday spent in winter sun
The festive season has begun
Decorations, Christmas lights
Bring magic to December nights.

An annual lunch out with a friend
News exchanged – a frothy blend
The same face I have known for ages
As Time’s great book has many pages.

We’re growing older, lines appear
Family members disappear
Marry, have kids, get engaged
As Shakespeare said, “the world’s a stage”

We travel down life’s road unknown
And keep in touch by telephone
But nothing beats a face to face
A moment shared at slower pace …

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Lost Property

The stillness on this August Day
When so many people are away
Weighs heavily upon my soul
I do so wish I had a goal

But everything I’ve tried to do
Like organize a rendezvous
Or get more missions as a guide
Seems fraught with obstacles, denied.

Like some beached whale upon the strand
I wrestle with the job in hand
But somehow every shot misfires
And phone calls suffer from crossed wires!

I close my eyes, not keen to see
The cloud of doubt that’s following me
Somewhere I am sure there lies
Beyond this mist – a bright sunrise!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

... and a few months later, there was!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A Chinese Feast

Taste of the East on a winter’s day
Multi-flavoured the Chinese way
Chicken, pork or beef cut fine
Sweet-sour prawns with glossy shine.

It’s a “pick and choose” lunchtime buffet
With rows of dishes on display
The rice and noodle bowls are vast
Spring rolls and Dim Sum vanish fast.

Salads fresh in combination
A kaleidoscope temptation
And brought to our table - fragrant tea
Chopsticks for you, knife-fork for me.

We indulge and serve ourselves some more
What’s for dessert? Time to explore
At us those ice creams coolly stare
Pity a birthday’s once a year!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Long Haul Thoughts

Over thirteen hours we cross time zones
A constant engine hum - no 'phones.
I see our progress on the screen
Red flight path on a mottled green.

At various times throughout the flight
They bring us water and a bite;
These trolley dollies are quite sweet
But most of us would rather sleep!

I catch some shut-eye while aloft
But noises wake me, people cough.
The Asian lady by my side
Disturbs me during our long ride.

"A bladder problem, please excuse".
I flick the channels for some news.
Time goes on, the cabin's dimmed
I gaze around me, eyes red-rimmed.

In days gone by, it took three years
To get to southern hemispheres
So why complain about a day?
Australia is so far away.

We touch down in the early dawn
In London, near where I was born.
This is the last stop on my tour,
Now on to Belgium, home once more!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Monday, 2 December 2013


The perception of time is a personal thing
It is slow when you hope for your mobile to ring
It extends to an age when you wait to go in
A cinema, loo or home bound on the Ring.

The converse is true when you’re out for a meal
With someone you care for, fast spins the wheel
Does Old Father Time sense the love that you feel?
A whirlwind romance – so well said and so real!

For an athlete who’s running, a second is long
It can make all the difference to getting a gong
For a loved one who’s dying, the minutes wear on
One’s mood changes tempo, each has his own song.

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Sunday, 1 December 2013

A Dilemma

Time presses and the baby grows;
The scan has shown its ten pink toes
And tiny arms with hands outstretched
Though no one can work out its sex.

Whether a little girl or boy
This tiny baby will bring joy
And give our poet a new name
A brand new title to proclaim!

I don’t like “Aunt” - it sounds so prim
Elderly, strict and very thin
And Aunty just spelt with a “Y”
Means the spell-check passed it by.

So it seems to me the proper choice
When the time comes to rejoice
Is to drop the “Y” and add “IE”
Yes – AUNTIE I will choose to be!

(c) Poet in the woods 2013

Thomas was born on 8th January 2014.