Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Excursion to Stirling and Hahndorf

Up winding roads in sun we cruise, at each twist and turn - rock views
On barren crags - man’s touch is slight, to early settlers - the same sight.

A stop at Stirling in the Hills, a gentle pause, each café fills
Day trippers stroll in sandalled feet; a park’s a breeze in this retreat.

Native crafts, bookstore and clothes, line the one main street in rows
Leafy pathways but beware, tenacious tree roots linger there!

Hahndorf is next, a German town, Hans Heysen’s scenes brought it renown
In cosy Old Mill – a surprise; the Pokies – fast buck paradise?

The thing to do, my friends advise, is buy fudge and eat warm meat pies
We forego the pretzels and the beer, but the pie was tasty, I declare!

A fairy garden on our right, with dragons, gnomes and elfin sprite
And huge white wings upon a wall, by toadstools, mini waterfall…

More fashions, knick-knacks, rows of shoes, down these shaded avenues
Fine vineyards are not far away … viewed on December’s final day!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015



Painting by Hans Heysen

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My Friend - the Immigrant

It’s amazing how vast distance shrinks
When you meet an endearing friend for drinks!
We knew each other long ago
Both studying, we got to know…

The Sixties with its trendy ways
Short skirts and pub crawls; memory plays
Intriguing tricks when you grow older
Curiosity makes you bolder.

My friend arrived in Antipode
From England – made it his abode
And joy of joys, still keeps the link
We meet in New Year for a drink!

We’re older now – our paths diverged
A Granddad and an Aunt emerged
But the bond we made when we were young
Continues in the Ozzie sun!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 28 December 2014

At Seacliff Beach - South Australia

Just picture it – an endless beach
Replanted grasses by the road
Car park spaces within reach
Peaceful setting, relaxed mode.

Barely one soul in the sea
We’re plumped on rugs with snacks and cake
Dog owners can’t let pets run free
Late afternoon – the rays abate.

Christmas here is not log fires
Their chilly wind is my warm breeze
December heat this theme inspires;
Ice creams alone allowed to freeze!

Australia – land of open spaces
Seaside crowds seem quite unknown
This beach could welcome many faces
But we almost have it on our own!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014



Thursday, 25 December 2014

Clear and Present Danger

The native garden here in Oz
Is a mass of crisp brown leaves because
The pernicious sun dries up their veins
And they can’t survive without the rains.

As summer often means a drought
With Northern winds that bring about
A murmur in the peel-bark trees
Suburban yards are full of leaves.

A daily chore - these leaves sun-kissed
Present a lethal fire risk
A chance spark on a windy day
And a wall of flame may come your way!

A total fire ban is in force
Until the summer’s run its course
The haunting beauty of the Hills
Has a darker side – as fire kills.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Noel Nosh Down Under

Clouds and cool, then scorching sun
Down Under Christmas has begun
The streets are empty, there’s no noise
Just the unwrapping of new toys!

The radio springs alive at six
I hear it vaguely, the clock ticks
We rise, my Mum and I; make tea
Hot toast for her, mango for me!

We draw the curtains, in comes day
Our midnight mass seems far away
Big family meal – each brings a dish
Ham, turkey, prawns – all fresh – delish!

Fabled mince pies made by Mum
With brandy butter, which is yum.
Salads (assorted) cheese plate, rolls
A veggie bake; cherries from Coles*!

Nibbles to start, perhaps with wine,
Tea and coffee all the time
My contribution? Can’t you guess?
Belgian chocolates – they’re the best!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

* local Adelaide supermarket


Monday, 22 December 2014

Not Fade Away!

The Ozzie sun’s a two-edged sword
Its rays are powerful and broad
No matter if you can’t afford
A tumble drier
A quick spin – laundry on the line
Monday’s chore done in no time
Bone dry sheets and towels are fine
But sun is dire!

Fabric fades at speed of light
Elastic undies don’t pull tight
So washing’s best done late at night
And left to billow
Drip dry under the Southern Cross
Is gentler and involves no loss
When night’s shades have won the toss
And your head’s on pillow!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Knitted Tree

“Down Under” is just that, I feel
My Northern roots knocked off their keel
I’m in a place where rain is rare
And palm trees sway in balmy air.

Outside is where it’s at - most days
Awnings save us from sun’s rays
Polished wooden benches shine
Inviting us to take our time…

Today’s short walk to local shop
I wonder what makes Blackwood rock…
The car parks all have empty spaces
Shoppers all have smiling faces.

On my way, what do I see?
A knitted ‘bark” round pavement tree!
A use for spare wool I’d not seen
I muse – who was the knitting queen?

It reaches high and furls the branches
I’m not sure it the tree enhances
But as an expression of wool art
Its fading splendour warms my heart!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Saturday, 20 December 2014

An Australian Whine

Some statistics shock and make you think
Take the case of those who drive and drink
According to the News* I read
South Australia’s face is red!

Proud of their “Free Settler” name,
This wine-growing State can claim
A heritage rich and diverse
Who now find that they come first

In terms of alcohol consumed
Pro capita; it is assumed
They belie their epithet to date
As Australia’s driest State!

*In The Advertiser - Adelaide’s daily newspaper

(c) Poet in the woods 2014



Friday, 19 December 2014

Journey into Adelaide

Amid the eucalypts, a path
Strewn with sunburned, crinkly leaves
Wild summer winds track aftermath
Today, however, a soft breeze.

Off-peak travel, bumbling train
No conductor; a machine
Coins jangle in the slot again
Parched landscape, scattered flecks of green.

Empty stations, lonely halts
Few passengers alight or board
Netting hides the rock face faults
Beside the gorges deeply scored.

No conversations in the air
The clicking keyboard’s day has come;
I switch my mind off and I stare
Bemused, half-blinded by the sun.

A hospital, brand new, in sight
As we reach the city’s heart
The “Cheese Grater”* glitters, silver bright
My day in Adelaide can start!

*South Australian Medical Research and Science Centre

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Mango Heaven

How to describe my favourite fruit?
Alluring, beautiful, curvaceous loot
Delicious, energising flesh
Gorgeous, (w)holesome - it’s the best!
Juicy, karma-inducing, lush
Who can resist a mango rush?

This tropical loveliness is mine
In Australia at Christmas time.
Flown in crates from Queensland sun
Its fragrance makes my tastebuds hum
I’m unable to resist the lure
Of a ripe mango – there’s no cure!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Changi Airport 2014

Vast complex – corridors and gates
Where South-East Asia warmly waits
Huge invasions dovetail-planned
As East and West extend a hand.

Changi Airport in the night
Blazes with electric light
Free movies, therapies and spa
Butterfly garden Shangri-La.

Singapore girl, dark-haired, is sweet
Cute, gentle face – in form petite
Contour-hugging uniform
She takes the Westerners by storm.

Many flights stop on their way
From Europe’s wintry climes each day
Back-packers cross with business suits
Teams of sportsmen, tourist groups.

All styles of clothing – rarely smart
Once glamorous travel – leaves no mark
Endless travellers, sleep-deprived
Read, shop or doze, kids by their side.

Throughout, the mobile phone in use
Without it – you are a recluse!
Check-in and transfer automated
The personal touch is overrated…

(c) Poet in the woods 2014




Monday, 15 December 2014

Exit the Lions?

West London under crisp blue skies
Unexpected sunshine – a surprise
An air of Christmas – glitzy shops
Year-end weariness - winter rocks!

Brash and harsh consumer hype
Windows doused in neon light
This frenzied buying leaves me cold
Everywhere lie gifts unsold.

A highlight on this wintry day
A lunch with friends; I make my way
To the lions in Trafalgar Square;
A film crew tells me they’re not there!

But I can see them proudly lazing
At the feet of Nelson, gazing
Into mists and tourist crowd
As if about to roar out loud!

Will, film maker, richly paid
Explains a trailer’s being made
With clever cutting, I’ve no doubt
As the lions will be airbrushed out!

The National Gallery looms ahead
The stone steps echo to my tread
I spend a pleasant hour or two
With all four lions in full view!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014



Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Bin Rat

Household scraps, organic waste
In Aussie kitchens have no place
Wrapped up tightly they reside
In vast wheelie bins outside.

Harsh sun causes fermentation
An unwanted health risk for the Nation.
As these deep bins come alive
And microorganisms thrive!

A heavy duty dark green lid
Keeps detritus carefully hid
Away from fauna’s prying eyes
Maggots, ants, aphids and flies.

These individual “slums” are cleared
Just once a fortnight - which is weird.
On Pick-up Days beware the smell
From these wheelie bins from hell!

Unbeknown to neighbours all
A tenacious rat had had a ball
Gnawing through the solid lid
He’d found a way inside and hid.

Chased out twice from rotting lair
The third time, they just left him there
The container emptied, rat embarked
His prospects at the least were stark!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Saturday, 13 December 2014

On a Wedding Card

There is nothing like the special glow
That a man and woman come to know
When both deep in their hearts decide
Togetherness is groom and bride.

The date they choose to celebrate
With friends their brand new married state
Is an outward show of their new bond
As they step into a warm beyond.

So for you both, my dear sweet friends
Who see life through a lover's lens
May peace and joy, good health and fun
Keep your journey in the sun!

A wedding - be it filled with splendour
Is a magic moment to remember
But behind that dress and golden ring
Is a life that's shared – a precious thing.

Treat each other well, be kind
To the other's faults, be blind
Life's a challenge - as you know
But may you never lose love's glow!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014



Thursday, 11 December 2014

Thomas - at 11 Months Old

I think ahead as time flies by
Soon I'll be winging through the sky
While Thomas, now an active tot,
Goes on safari – he can't stop.

His brain expands; new links are made
So much to see – he's not afraid
Each day he tests parental rule
This «joyful bundle» is no fool!

Gran, Mum and Dad watch him advance
Soon he'll stand up, walk and dance
He's not quite there but I am sure
I'll hear his footsteps on the floor!

When I held him first, in Jan
I became an unconditional fan
At eleven months – how he has grown!
Thomas – welcome Auntie home!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014




Friday, 5 December 2014

The Flip Side

Amazingly, the heat’s still on
So drowsily we all plod on
In a unfamiliar frame of mind
High temperatures can be a bind!

The Great God Lethargy now reigns
And our enthusiasm wanes
Too hot to walk, we take the tram
And sweat against our fellow man!

Not keen to trudge down to the shop
We make do with what we’ve got.
Why cook, when sandwiches suffice
We keep the fridge chock full of ice.

No rainfall means the plants soon droop
Though watering makes them cock a hoop!
While flies and bugs have multiplied
Jellyfish swim on North Sea tide!

We prayed for sun which did not come
Then in July we’re overcome
We’re wondering now if this was wise;
Bring on the showers and grey skies!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

O.A.P. = Officially Acknowledged Poet

What's in a date? A month? A day?
We're ageing slowly anyway!
At 65 what's the big deal?
Surely it's a case of how you feel?

Time to put us out to clover?
Surely not? Let's live – move over!
Now there's time to take up sport
And benefit from a long walk.

By now the mortgage has been paid
And all our options carefully weighed.
No money needed for school fees
Let's plan some travelling overseas.

Meanwhile at home some welcome plus-es:
Cheaper tickets on the buses!
Concession rates for exhibitions
Daytime shows with free admissions.

Staying active keeps us sane
Crosswords entertain our brain
The rat race is for others now
My future is my own – and how!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


A Time of Reflection

I ring my friends abroad, at home
Some are Belgians, some are "Sloane"
And learn that each and every one
Has illness, death or worse, to come.

The age old tenets then are true
Past fifty life may go askew.
The sun shines in the sky, thank God
Be grateful for the paths we've trod.

The friends we've made, the sights we've seen
The past will always happy seem.
I wonder, as I catch your eye
What you will do; I must not pry.

But health must henceforth be a goal
That we must share; age takes its toll.
I would not like our loving nest
To become a source of future stress...

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

(written in 2002)



Monday, 1 December 2014

The Dead Glove

Amid the wastes of crumpled snow
The kerb is laced with dirty slush
With the lights at red the cars now slow
Commuters cross in silent hush.

It’s then I see it, lying there
Like the day - cold and forlorn
Its woollen fingers stretched out bare
Its greyish ribbing slightly torn.

Last resting place this frosty morn
Cold tarmac, unforgiving, stark
It slipped from sight though lately worn
And vanished in the velvet dark.

I contemplate its tyre-marked scar
Its death unmourned, alone at last
Has its owner travelled far?
What of its twin – is it held fast?

Blue-faced and grim, I wend my way
And discover much to my surprise
A host of lost gloves on display
A second hand shop would be wise!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Friday, 28 November 2014

Tools of the Trade

Words flow out through my finger tips
In little eddies or big slicks
My mental crane casts round and picks
A new selection
It's a bit like going on the spree
The choice of goods bewilders me
Ideas arrive and wander free
In loose connection.

Such a mental process is arcane
It happens; one cannot explain
How just a few lines can contain
Such depth of thought
The poet's role appears to be
A perception of reality
Expressed in terms that all agree
Cannot be taught...

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Love is What, Exactly?

We humans are a funny lot
Ruled in turn by head and heart
Our minds are devious and plot
While emotions tear our lives apart.

Cold logic sometimes wins the day
Order and method have their place
But when our hearts are touched, we sway
Feelings cause the blood to race.

Irrational but endearing too
Who has not felt this vital force?
Old as the hills - but each time new!
We're set on a relentless course.

Our feelings we cannot contain
They rise within us and take hold
All rational thought from us they drain
Our humdrum lives turn into gold.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Darker Side

In the mist and chill and early dark
Brussels shimmers; shop fronts mark
The tinsel season – fragile, bright
This year: cascading walls of light.

The packaging of hopeful dreams
In red, black, gold and silver themes
This outward show is bravely done
For those with means, such gifts are fun.

It's a time for families to meet
For friends at work to drink and eat
For celebrations of all kinds
At parties – dressed up to the nines!

But December is a bumpy ride
For those with no one by their side
Bereaved or lonely or in pain
The festive season is a strain ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Word on Language

English idioms are fun:
Ever seen anyone «jump the gun»?
How do butterflies reach your tum?
It's quite absurd;
And can a person be «bad news»?
What's an offer «you can't refuse?»
What happens when you «pay your dues»?
What's in a word?

There's «feeling blue» and «seeing red»
«Green» fingers in the flowerbed
A «brown study»'s something else instead
It makes no sense;
Figures of speech – a wealthy store
The English love a metaphor,
A practice foreigners deplore
Things get intense!

So much is just implied - not said
«Up the garden path» we're led
«End of the day», does not mean bed;
Brits stand apart;
Universal language? I'm not sure
Vocab rich, weird grammar lore
Yet children have this knack at four
All learnt by heart!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Monday, 24 November 2014

Where's the 95 Bus?

The heavens opened, the torrents flowed
The commuters grumbled, traffic slowed
No bus in Boitsfort's farthest reaches
I'd scream but there's no time for speeches.

Of course If I had listened well
I might have registered this hell
But the radio offers background noise
And the news just buzzes and annoys.

However, now I do recall
The dreaded "grève" word in the hall
As I got my keys and tram card out
My mind elsewhere, I have no doubt.

Last night a driver was attacked
And sick of taking all the flak
From a passenger whose fuse was short
Because he too was tired and fraught,

Decided he would take a stand;
So a wild cat strike was planned
The bus depot at Delta closed
And today the chaos clearly shows.

I wouldn't mind, but all this rain
Makes walking to the tram a pain
The missing buses should be here
Their absence makes the point quite clear.

Of course I made my destination
Wet right through, without elation
It made me realise we depend
On keeping drivers as our friend!

(written in 2006 but now the bus route has been shortened!)

Poet in the woods 2014

Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Scene of Desolation

My terrace looks a sorry sight
All wilting leaves and broken stalks
Straggling flowers cling on tight
Heads bobbing in the wind like corks.

A last tomato on the vine ...
The herbs have somehow stood their ground
I still have rosemary and thyme
But the chives have wilted, they're no good!

What can I salvage from my bower?
Shock! Horror! in each window-box
Miracles are beyond my power
I'll just sweep up and scrub the pots.

Yet I'm encouraged by the thought
That plants don't die, they hibernate;
Deep out of sight new life is wrought
They'll burgeon in the Spring – just wait!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Friday, 21 November 2014

Unfinished Business

Things abandoned in the street
Can be weird and wonderful and sweet,
As well as mundane, odd or foul
That must be scraped up – with a trowel!

For example, just the other day
A red flash drew my eye away
To some tiny toddler's leather boot
Brand new, it seemed to me, and cute.

Nearby no doubt an angry Mum;
Such footwear costs a princely sum
It lies defiant in the light
Will it still be there tonight?

Another time, surprised to see
In a busy street, bold as could be
Frothy knickers, cream elastic
Draped round a lamppost – quite fantastic!

How did they get there? Who'd lay claim
To such an item? Oh, the shame!
It's been said often – no big deal -
But Brussels really is surreal!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Suitcase

I haul my suitcase up the stairs;
Lightweight when empty, it just stares
Knowing soon it will be time
To travel – faithful friend of mine.

There is so much stuff I could pack;
My summer wardrobe must lie flat
Over books and calendars and shoes
Swimwear, nightwear; I must choose

What to take for this year's stay ...
Easy-care clothes win the day.
A host of gifts piled up around
All of them - Australia-bound.

Then my passport, currency and keys
Visa and tickets – must have these!
Keeping in touch is what we do
My mobile phone must travel too ...

I check my case is now complete;
I can just close it – both sides meet
Like a solid heavyweight it feels
Thank goodness it has sturdy wheels!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Implacable November Weather

“Implacable November weather”
Thackeray’s text remembered ever
From far off days at convent school
Applies today – it seems the rule.

Blustery winds that chase the clouds
Well-wrapped commuters lost in crowds
Against a dark, uncertain light
With occasional umbrella bright.

Puddles reflecting branches bare
A decided nip runs though the air
Scant scraps of paper hurtle by
Losing the battle to keep dry.

Bent against the wind each face
As scattered raindrops fall apace
The click of footsteps, whose? Who knows?
Eyes cast downwards, stare at toes.

Opportunities are missed
Another neighbour we’ve not kissed
Unrecognised, out of our sight
Hurrying homewards in dim light.

Victims of this troubled squall
Wounded brollies in the hall
Dripping forlornly on the mat
Once held high, now crushed and flat.

Their spokes awry, their rib cage cracked
Thousands now have broken back
And jettisoned by passers-by
In bins in awkward postures lie.


(c) Poet in the woods 2014



Note: The title is a quotation from William Makepeace Thackeray.

Monday, 17 November 2014

A Snapshot of Copenhagen

Wreathed in mists, grey skies and rain
Copenhagen's face is plain
A constant hum of crawling cars
Flickering traffic lights and bars.

The Danes, I'm told, enjoy their booze;
The Central Station, tiled, is huge
With wooden panelling and beams
Commuters saunter by in streams.

Out in the suburbs: Lego blocks
Few seem to think «outside the box»
My mental snapshot of the scene:
Safe, conservative and clean.

This far north, the days are short
A cold wind blows across the Port
The Mermaid gazes out to sea
Pertly posed, hair flowing free.

Nearby are statues – poppy-clad
A Churchill bust, a Fallen Lad
Grim reminders of the War;
A crumbling castle on the shore...

Fair-haired, good looking Viking stock
Part of Europe's melting pot
A friendly, family-loving race;
Of warring forebears – not a trace...

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


At Zaventem Airport

«The heart of Europe» - Zaventem
Airport with building works pro. tem.
Garish shops on every floor
To find the right gate is a chore.

Automatic check-in - fine!
But then we had to stand in line
Like flocks of sheep penned in by rails;
Passport clearance now entails

Boots, belts and coats put into trays
Their removal causes more delays.
Gels are allowed – in small amounts
But if you overstock – they pounce!

Of course security is key
Today my trip is hassle-free!
I make my way to distant gate
Too early - so I have to wait.

With time to kill, I watch the flow
Of passengers who come and go.
Copenhagen may be cold and wet
But warm as well – as I'll be met!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Friday, 14 November 2014

In Between Times

The radio burbles on downstairs
It's cold – today I've dressed in layers
The terrace is a sorry sight
Spindly plants that cling on tight
Although their tiny leaves are gone
Depress me – all looks so forlorn.

We reach the «back end» of the year,
Days shorten; winter's nearly here
St. Nicolas is on his way
Chocolate replicas on display
Trading lately has been dull
For ages we've been in a lull.

Now the chilly wind brings shoppers out
In search of woollen clothes no doubt.
We're at a crossroads – what to wear
Now that a “nip” is in the air?
I poke my nose out the front door...
Right! Winter jacket to the fore!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Our Canine Companions

Living near the beech wood, there are always dogs around
They're a melting pot like people, from pedigree to hound.

There are those that tug upon the leash, impatient to run fast
While others pad sedately, sniffing people as they pass.

Their owners love them dearly; in all weathers they go by
Buffeted by wind and rain, or under sunny sky.

They are treated just like family and all of them have names
Some regal, some plain quirky or quite obvious like James.

All have personality; a unique style that's their own
They are loved by the whole family and sometimes guard the home.

They must “go walkies” twice a day; they keep their owners fit
Brown sachets come in handy to package any ....

They remain enthusiastic until the very end
So is it any wonder that they are Man's Best Friend?

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


11 - 11 - 11

I am thinking on this chilly day
With my friends off work and far away
It is a most auspicious date
All six ones in an ordered state.

I’ve just heard on the radio
Only once a century comes this row
Of six ones lined up on parade
Six soldiers in a cavalcade?

On the eleventh month on the eleventh day
At the eleventh minute, the guns gave way
To a sudden silence, the sound of peace
The long awaited armistice.

The Great War ended long ago
How the soldiers fought we cannot know
But as this date comes round again
Our thoughts go out to these brave men.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Armistice

The Armistice with a capital A
Ended the First World War; today
The 11th of November
We pause a moment and remember

All those who volunteered to fight
For a cause that they believed was right
Only to die in a muddy trench:
US, British, German, French.

A war of attrition, lost ideals
Buried forever in Flanders fields.
Commemorations, flags half-mast
Still cast a shadow on the past.

But did it give “Peace in our time”?
The Versailles Treaty – out of line
Harsh reparation clauses signed
A fragile peace soon undermined...

(c) Poet in the woods


Monday, 10 November 2014

MauerFall!

They could talk of nothing else today
But the date the Wall was swept away
Harsh symbol of the long Cold War;
It was meant to stand for evermore.

Watchtowers around the clock were manned
Over this floodlit, no man's land
Government exodus to Bonn
Berlin, split in two, looked on.

The Prague Spring crushed by Soviet tanks
Fomented rebellion in the ranks
The Super Powers stood their ground
As no Entente could be found.

Cracks in The System were contained
The Soviet Bloc, though weak, remained.
Then Hungary took a giant stride
Giving exit on the Austrian side.

A gateway opened to the West
It turned into a litmus test
A cry for freedom had been heard
Europe waited, no one stirred...

With hindsight, looking back, we know
The winds of change began to blow
Beleaguered East Berlin awaits
With bated breath by guarded gates.

So what happened on November 9
Back in 1989
Seemed incredible, untrue;
Streams of people flooded through

To West Berlin in glare of lights
It was the most surreal of nights;
Through lack of orders? Intuition?
The Wall now seemed an intermission.

The guards allowed the people through
Many climbed to get a view
Of East and West, of grey and blue
Euphoria was born anew.

What happened back in Eighty-Nine
Belongs firmly to another time
But those who watched events unfold
Desire their story to be told.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Saturday, 8 November 2014

A Special Toast!

Citizens of the world – Unite!
If you are burdened with stage fright
When called upon to make a speech
Maybe the Toastmasters can teach

Over time - this vital skill;
Capturing an audience is a thrill
But before you step upon a stage
And hold with sweaty hands a page

Of carefully thought-out, cryptic notes
Make sure you have not burnt your boats.
Is your message logical and clear?
Will it convince? Now there's a fear

That besets the best of us at times
What actor has not muffed his lines?
Deep breathing helps to calm our stress;
For this event – how should I dress?

What am I trying to achieve?
Have anecdotes in times of need
A little movement is allowed
Especially when before a crowd -

To emphasize a point or two
And keep the public eye on you
But there's no train to catch, so please
Speak slowly, take things at your ease.

Good poise and diction are your friends
A smile will often make amends
Competence can be acquired
And all good speakers are admired!

Each journey starts with a first speech
It may not always be a peach
But as you step up to the mike
Take courage, smile – it will not bite!

Techniques are key, but so are you
Confidence blossoms - sees you through;
To raise the bar, you must compete
The reason why toastmasters meet.

It's exciting but nerve-racking too
Will said: “The world's a stage” - how true!
Each performance helps us to engage
Our audience and reactions gauge.

Oh, and public speaking can be fun
Causing the adrenalin to run
As I stand before you now;
But just before I take my bow

I hope I have fulfilled my mission
This poem was a firm commission
So Toastmasters here's three cheers
As you celebrate your 90 years!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Founded October 22nd, 1924


Friday, 7 November 2014

Thomas - at 10 Months Old

Thomas is on the move at last
At ten months - sitting still is past
Each day he's learning a new task
And it's such fun
He gives great joy to Granny Mary
Although his parents now are wary
As Thomas crawling can be scary
He's on the run!

He abandons toys placed on the floor
Wasn't it Mummy whom he saw
Busy near the kitchen door?
Let's go and see!
In one month he has upped the pace;
To keep him safe there is a race
To put up barricades in case
He should roam free.

It's touch and tumble every day
As this shock of blonde hair likes to stray
His new skills take our breath away
He's turbo-charged;
His brain works overtime for sure
Life has come to mean much more
The world's his oyster – let's explore
Thomas – at large!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Kent University celebrates - in Brussels!

It's odd – life's difficult to plan
Though we do the best we can
Several invites come my way
But damn! They're all for the same day!

By different methods they arrive
All happening on November 5
A playreading, a dinner date
A friend who wants to call me late

And catch up on my latest news
But all of these I must refuse
The option chosen is unique
It would be churlish not to greet

Erstwhile graduates from Kent
As Canterbury's where I spent
Four years getting my degree
And now in Brussels there will be

For graduates and students new
An important, very special «do».
As half a century ago
The first intake of students go

To Rutherford, Eliot or Keynes;
Some today are household names!
International studies now are key
So Brussels is the place to be.

The venue for this fine event
Is not, as one might think, in Kent
But the Palais des Académies
So the Marble Room is where I'll be!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014




Amore - a clerihew ...

Love is:
- erotic
- exotic
- chaotic
- despotic
- philosophic
- don't knock it!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 3 November 2014

A Meeting of Minds

Amazing Brussels! Such a mix
Of Art and History, culture-rich
A rabbit warren of cafés
Where lone souls come and spend their days.

Meet-ups spring up in such places
You find yourself among new faces
Keen to reach out and make links
On Monday mornings – over drinks.

Croissants and muffins freshly baked
Vie for attention as does cake
On a cold day I need something hot
So a cup of coffee hits the spot.

I join the group, say nine or ten
Most are newcomers, I feel zen
Most seek work; the market's tough
Diplomas these days aren't enough.

Networking is the latest game
A lucky break, a contact name?
These pools of chatter are electric
In two hours many are connected.

I leave the café at midday
A sultry beauty comes my way
She asks me: have I time to chat?
She's from Amman, her hair is black.

She's new in Brussels, learning Dutch
But admits she doesn't like it much
She's fun – her English is quite clear
She tells me she's an engineer!

After a snack in nearby bar
I accompany her – it isn't far;
At her language school I say goodbye
But we've forged a link, both she and I.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Thoughts on Queensland

A while ago I spent some time
In Queensland, with a friend of mine
She lived just minutes from the coast
Her house, more elegant than most,

Was reached by a steep flight of stairs
As flooding frequently occurs,
With broad verandah round each side
And splendid views of countryside.

Mosquitoes, which thrive in the wet,
When every bed is draped with net
Can make living here a trial
But in times of drought they run a mile.

At Christmas time, the air is dry
Above us permanent blue sky
But roads are dusty in the heat
And humidity makes it hard to sleep.

My friend is now acclimatized
And so it comes as no surprise
To learn she rarely makes the trip
To England now; Australia's «it»!

In some ways I can understand
The lure of this attractive land
With open spaces and pure air;
She feels at peace – her home is here.

I sip a drink, admire the view
Birds, bright coloured, fly on through
The wooden rafters to the trees
Their calls get lost upon the breeze...

But stress is different here, I find
The elements can be unkind,
Monsoon storms can lash the coast
Australia is a wild host!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


The Cat in the Bidet

I could not quite believe my eyes
But the photo brooked no compromise
The feline fluffy of my friend
Has clearly started a new trend.

Compelled by curiosity
She scampers with velocity
Up the stairs with stealthy tread
And sometimes curls up on the bed.

But her place of predilection now
Compact but chilly, I'll allow
Is just the right size – cosy fit
A bidet bath for this small kit?

Now Lily's exploits are well known
Though the wicker basket is her home
She captures all hearts, Heaven knows
With her sense of style and perfect pose!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Still Drifting

Ever got the feeling life’s “on hold”
That everything you touch is cold
Or not available, or sold?

I’ve done my best to keep in touch
But the warm weather has been such
That my friends are straws I cannot clutch.

They’ve all got plans for their free time
I cannot blame them; I had mine
When we were two; alone I pine.

Time the Great Healer – Is this so?
Ten years down the track I go
A cork just bobbing on the flow.

Drifting onwards far from shore
Little currents promise more
My destination still obscure.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Thursday, 30 October 2014

North Sea Exodus

Well Blog, it's rather quiet today
It must be many are away
Late autumn – long weekend at last
Hordes depart to have a blast!

Mid-season sales for these few days
Special offers in Delhaize!
A good deal on a brand new car
Entice those who don't travel far.

For lemmings hurtling to the coast
Huge traffic jams are feared the most
As mini-trippers make their way
For a brief but bracing holiday.

Last minute packing, stressful ride
Buffeted by winds outside
Obliged to shelter from the rain
Then walk along the dykes - again!

Whole Belgian families rent a flat
In a Seventies' block near tourist tat
Along the seafront for a week
A «home from home» is what they seek.

I used to do this - years ago
And so it is I've come to know
Why Brussels residents are rare
Around All Saints Day every year!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Morning Traffic

Driving in the rush hour is no fun
In the misty mornings, the school run
Means endless queues each traffic light
Impatient drivers turning right

Into main roads choc-à-bloc
Up to crossroads in gridlock.
The whole world and his wife it seems
Are at the wheel in exhaust streams.

For once I had to join the fray
My car needs servicing today
Better to be safe than sorry;
I find myself behind a lorry

That starts and stops with screech of brakes
And high-sided, all my vision takes.
To entertain us as we pass
Warning signs – don't go too fast!

But flashing lights and traffic cones
And the massive use of mobile phones
Mean that commuters have to slow
It's a daily trial they've come to know.

While I who rarely make this trip
Watch fellow drivers as they sit
Locked in their world behind the wheel
And wonder what they really feel.

Public transport does its best
But it's full to bursting, I protest
The Metro works well into town
But rare are those who can sit down.

For outlying districts, there's the tram
Or buses which come when they can.
Either way you have to queue:
Waiting is what Belgians do!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 26 October 2014

On Absence

Does absence make the heart go fonder?
Now there's a thought that's worth a ponder
If one's friend is far away
It's true one's thoughts may tend to stray

To other, much more pressing, things
As each day some new challenge brings
Be it work commitment, bills to pay
Rooms to dust or plants to spray.

The diary fills; we've calls to make
There's always something on our plate
So it's often only late at night
That the heart strings are pulled tight.

But then a warming glow pervades
Bringing light to those dark shades
And happy feelings are engendered
As the loved one is remembered!

But let us think this concept through
Consider this phrase also true
Its brief wording is unkind:
Out of sight means out of mind!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Friday, 24 October 2014

An Unexpected Thrill!

I wonder what will make your day?
Each one dawns with blank display
For an optimist much may occur
It's the little things that make a stir.

An email came in – unexpected
The news that it conveyed - electric
A local friend had taken time
To purchase my book all in rhyme

But English is not her first tongue
And so I find it rather fun
That through my blog scarce one year old
New fans come into my fold.

Until the very recent past
Would my work be known this fast?
But now self-published, I reflect
On the power of the Internet.

More writers in the world domain
More creative talent now can claim
A wider readership, it seems
Recognition exceeds dreams!

What made my day was her sweet note
She'd bought my book and so I quote
Her comment, «Sold out!» I adore
Guess what? The bookshop's ordered more!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014






Wednesday, 22 October 2014

For an Irish friend - on Retirement

Fair maiden of the Emerald Isle
With gentle voice and winning smile
You’ve reached a watershed today
42 years on - you’re on your way

To another life without routine
You can switch off your computer screen!
Forget the rush hour, rat race hell
Spend time with family – friends as well.

Take mini-trips at off-peak rate
Dawdle over breakfast plate
Enjoy your garden, watch it grow
In other words just take life slow.

They say the best in life is free;
And it won’t take long before you’ll be
Taking retirement in your stride
The world’s a big place – step outside!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Dying Art?

The magic of a letter thrills
Or postcard from a distant shore
But email this pure pleasure kills
The art of writing is no more.

Invoices still make their way
Proof positive the postman's been
But adverts I just throw away
Such paperwork is lean and mean.

Who now writes with pen and ink?
Collecting stamps a bygone fad
We type as fast as we can think
Mistakes are legion – lax is bad.

I buck the trend and still send mail
And choose with care a birthday card
I like to leave a paper trail
Is the personal touch so hard?

Yesterday a postcard came;
Handwritten, it was such a treat
I live in hopes of more the same
Long live the postman's happy feet!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014