Friday, 30 May 2014

The Card Trick

How practiced is the web we weave
When we have something up our sleeve
For a pack with extra hearts replete
Will hide from view a gross deceit.

No qualms to show all open-handed
One moment and the suit's disbanded
A happy sum of Clubs and Spades
And Diamonds, and the Hearts seem staid.

But he, who erstwhile had the aces,
Will find the cards have altered places.
While one, who's barely joined the game,
Stacks all the trumps against his name.

A lot depends upon the draw
And fifty-two's a year-long score;
Diamonds may be a girl's best friend
But Hearts will triumph in the end!

Written in 1983

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Nothing beats the Real Thing!

It’s little things that strike a chord;
In friendship you know that you’ve scored
When a kindly word brings on a smile
To a face that has been sad awhile.

Or a postcard from a distant shore
Suddenly lands upon your floor.
The knowledge that another cares
Enough to buy a stamp – three cheers!

Loaning a book, a helping hand
A sympathetic ear; all stand
As examples of the little things
That make our day - and our heart sings.

Computers, I-pod, email, ‘phone
Conspire to make us more alone
We delude ourselves we stay in touch
Yet personal contact means so much!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Ascension Day

This Catholic country* clings on still
To a host of special days
Welcomed by serfs who used to till
The fields or watch beasts graze.

Their lives were brutish, harsh and short
Famine and disease were rife;
Such holy days were dearly bought
Brief respite in their life.

The Reformation swept the board;
The Church has lost its sway
And those with funds can now afford
To travel on Ascension Day.

Who thinks of Christ’s ascent to God -
His holy mission done?
Or even gives a cursory nod?
Religion’s on the run.

I can’t help feeling that we’ve lost
Somewhere down the line
Our simple spirit; and the cost
Will cause our soul’s decline.

* Belgium

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

"Arsenic and Old Lace"

Behind lace curtains, danger lurks
Two sisters look benign
But there's no doubt the poison works
In elderberry wine.

A stream of homeless gentlemen
Seeking rooms to rent
Cross the portals of their den
Oblivious of intent.

In guise of hospitality
A fragile, thin façade
They're dispatched to Eternity
Because they drop their guard.

The secret's "buried" far too well
No neighbours get alarmed
Although the cellar starts to smell
And more than one man's "harmed".

This "justice" meted out by dames
Who've said goodbye to sixty
Is known by far less savoury names
Unsuited to my ditty.

The whole thing's quite a work of art
When in drops brother Jon;
What happens next, I won't impart ..
You'll have to go along ...

written in 1985 - for an amateur production in Brussels

Monday, 26 May 2014

What's It All About?

We do not know what life will bring
Wild weather, storms or lasting spring
There are times when rain-filled skies hold sway
And long warm days when we make hay.

The trouble is we can’t predict
Where a lightening bolt will hit
The forecast may seem set at fair
Then we are caught up unaware

In a hailstorm, cloudburst or a gale
We flounder helpless – our arms flail
Life, like the weather, has no plan
Events in all directions can

Buffet and push us on our way
Force us to take stock, and may
If we can sense which way it’s blowing,
Lead us onwards - gently flowing.

Why are we here? Where should we go?
Who decides which dice to throw?
Perhaps our life is but a test
And listening to our heart is best…

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 25 May 2014

On Election Day

The queues outside the baker’s grow
The neighbours meet and say “Hello!”
Why early keenness for fresh bread?
On Sundays many stay abed.

But not today – it’s time to vote
On computer screen remote
May 25 dawns warm and clear
More locals holding cards draw near.

So many lists – a wealth of names
In my head confusion reigns
Submerged with leaflets red and blue;
Brussels has many points of view.

We’re not repressed – each has a voice
You could say we are spoilt for choice!
I clutch my croissants, wait my turn
Then slip my card into the urn …

Has Europe really lost its way?
What role do such elections play?
Within the next 5 years we’ll know
If our choice has changed the status quo!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Friday, 23 May 2014

Opus Interruptus

Poised at my desk, I’ve work to do
Deep concentration is required
History papers to look through
At spotting errors I’m inspired.

I plunge into long reams of text,
Become involved in author’s prose
Some turns of phrase leave me perplexed;
I juggle words until all flows.

While thus “bonded” with my screen,
The phone rings several times today
Its interruption on my scene
Compelling - it won’t go away.

Four times I rise and take a call
My finger’s in so many pies
That my diary entries never stall
And each day brings a new surprise!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Dream Sequence

Tread softly, for you'll break his dream.
Don't penetrate his inner being
With such stark consciousness;
Let him kaleidoscope the scenes
And Joy throughout will be the theme
In every sequence, bliss.

Nay, do not laugh; this warming glow
That wraps him tight does peace bestow.
He's caught in a cocoon;
It doesn't matter how he tries
The world seems now to be disguised
And all words rhyme with June!

Oh Cynics! With your hearts of lead
Watch where the arrow's pointed head
Hath hit and made him lie;
No sweeter state exists, it's said,
It kills old solitude quite dead -
Adds magic to the eye.

Tread softly; rouse him not from sleep
The world outside is but a leap
He'll have to make 'ere long;
Let Hope good counsel with him keep
And chase Despair out in the street
So when he wakes - he's strong!

(written in 1983)

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Too Fast Food!

A moment of distraction:
It could happen to us all
I passed a pair of workmen
Who were resting by a wall.

Their van stood right beside them;
One reached into the back
And drew out a banana -
No doubt his morning snack.

He peeled it very deftly
Just as I went by
The yellow skin stayed in his hand
The banana shot right by -

And landed rather sadly
On the damp and dusty street
You should have seen that workman’s face
His expression was a treat!

How easily our mind’s engaged
Our hands can’t follow through
Our brain stays on another page;
Don’t laugh – it could be YOU!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Feeling

No doubt about it - stands to reason
May's the month and spring's the season
No intervention from Above
Is needed when it comes to love.

And yet old Cupid's wily darts
Have pierced the strangest pair of hearts
It can't be true - yet in defence
The feeling balks at all pretence.

Four days will cure this new malaise;
But no - it's here and here it stays.
It can't be helped, nor stopped nor cured
It's real, and vibrant - and absurd.

Why - looking through a Looking Glass
Like Alice, shows a pretty pass.
There's not a hope of its succeeding
And yet somehow it sends them reeling.

Life's like that - when you least expect it
The Powers That Be become electric.
And whichever way you cut life's cake
You know there's more than sex at stake.

Written in 1983

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Vintage Fashion at Le Berger Hôtel!

Down a narrow street near busy shops
I made my way; a lorry stops
And offloads racks of vintage clothes
And high-heeled shoes that pinch your toes.

Kitsch jewellery, hats and floating scarves;
They don’t do fashion shows by halves!
Clothes racks and hat stands make their way
To this rabbit warren for display.

The venue has a shady past
In the thirties this hotel was classed
As a place to spend an hour or three
Behind closed doors – with bedroom key.

Fun couples wanting time alone
Could be discreet – there was no phone
Or reception clerk at check-in desk
To observe the movements of each guest!

5 floors: small rooms with double bed
Art deco features; carpets – red
No chairs or hanging space required
You didn’t come if you were tired!

A smart re-fit - mod cons in place
But still a shocking lack of space
The models strut their stuff with flair
Their catwalk the long winding stair.

Their audience lounges on white sheets
All doors are open – no one speaks
The atmosphere exudes mystique
As past and present turn and meet!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Exciting New Feelings!

You know what I am thinking
There's no need to explain
And even if you're drinking
The words flow clear and plain.

Our thoughts link and merge in,
The feeling's very strange
A kind of timeless fervour
Impossible to feign.

It does not seem to matter
That we are kept apart
There's always stolen chatter
To soothe each aching heart.

Each minute spent: a tiny gem
Enough would make a crown
We've not collected many yet
Time seems to let us down.

Promise me no idle dream
Give me no single gift
More precious is what can't be seen
There's plenty of that left.

So I will make a tryst with you
And this much will I give
This lonely heart cries out for love
Would you but let it live...

Written in 1983

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Thursday, 15 May 2014


What? Sun all day? No, get away
We had hail this week
An anticyclone here to stay?
I observe a pale blue streak.

I look again – is that the sun?
That rounded golden sphere
A dry day, now that would be fun
Such experiences are rare!

I dash outside, eyes open wide
Am caressed by a warm breeze
I can take the bright sun in my stride
Better sunburn than a freeze!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Power of Music

Silence is golden - so they say
But music brings thoughts into play
Wakes memories of long ago
And captures feelings in free flow.

People long dead come alive
Childhood friendships newly thrive
Sixties pop charts make one dance
And a dreary day enhance.

A whirlwind of emotion stirs
We re-live carefree teenage years
And light that spark we had forgot
The beat goes on until we drop!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 12 May 2014

An Ordinary Monday

Just an ordinary Monday
At least that’s how it seemed;
As I filled the car with petrol
The skies opened and it teemed.

Next stop - the supermarket
Flashing lights on motorway
I couldn’t take my turning
A crashed car blocked my way.

The police directed traffic
I made a huge detour
Another sudden cloudburst
As I rushed towards Carrefour.

If you’ve ever had to stand outside
With shopping in the rain
You’ll understand I can’t abide
Wet weather – it’s a pain!

At last - I made it to the car
My bags all sopping wet
When hailstones hit the windscreen;
Do you wonder that I fret!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 11 May 2014

For Mothers Everywhere!

Think flowers, fragrances, pink hearts
Gifts with ribbons all a-dance
The shops scream out in bright display
Sunday’s here - it’s Mother’s Day!

Time to take stock and reflect;
How hectic is the pace we set
Consumerism has gone wild
Why, each of us is mother’s child.

We’ve all received the gift of life
Most of us become a wife
The tiny creatures that we bear
A tug of war, although we care.

It’s an honour and a life-time task
As Mum’s the one we always ask
When we need help or consolation
We’re creators of the Nation!

So I think of all of you out there
Members of the sex called “fair”;
To celebrate this date – my mission:
You so deserve this recognition!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Near the Midi Station

Down a quiet unpretentious street
A hefty stone’s throw from the trains
The assorted house façades are neat
Though battered by this evening’s rains.

Uneven cobbles, rubbish bags
Some doorways have seen better days
An odd wall brightened up with tags
Parking meters – but who pays?

Moments later - my friend’s bell
She shares with others this conversion
I step inside - a vast stairwell
Shows an architect’s incursion.

There are traces of its former soul
With wrought iron columns centre stage
Its whitewashed walls have tales to tell
The printing shop has turned the page.

Now a hidden gem with patio
And views of trees across the way
How lucky are the friends I know
To have chanced upon this hideaway!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Thomas - at 4 Months Old

At four months, Thomas smiles at Granny
There’s recognition – it’s uncanny
He’s growing rounder, fleshing out
A chubby fellow – there’s no doubt.

He’s now outgrown his “newborn” clothes
And wriggles all his tiny toes
There’s more hair on his little head;
He takes an interest in what’s said.

His brain absorbs new smells and sights
And he settles better now at nights
His mother, proud of her creation,
Watches every innovation.

His learning curve is steep but sure
He lifts his head up to explore
My brother baths him every day
Splashing teaches him to play.

While Auntie, far across the Seas
Makes do with photos such as these
Time marches on; this little lad
Keeps on their toes his Mum and Dad!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

On Being a Dad

Someone's whispered down the line
Another celebration's due
An excuse for yet another rhyme
Man of the Moment, this means YOU!

How should I say it? Day of Dads?
A "Festival of Fathers" has
A ring about it that the lads
Might find too posh and all that jazz.

How about Paternal Day
Perhaps for some when postman called?
The Male order that went astray
As the housewife was so bored?

But I cast aspersions, since all men
Can procreate; it's nature's way
The deciding factor will be when
The man decides he wants to stay

And form a family with his mate
Then is the miracle performed
He goes into a "Daddy" state
And a lifelong bond is formed.

"Enough of eulogies!" you cry
"It was such a little thing to do."
But I protest and tell you why
I am so proud my Dad is You!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Saturday, 3 May 2014

A Meaningless Date

Some dates have meaning, others not
What a pity we can’t stop the clock
Today the 3rd of May is one;
Today my granddad had a son.

Away from the burning Indian plains
In an English hill station, blessed with rains.
The First World War was at its height
Still to come - Armistice Night.

When the tiny babe, my future Dad
Became my Granny’s precious lad.
Much loved, he was an only child
Loving nature, running wild.

A long life and a happy one
Who survived the Second War, then some!
And attained the age of ninety-five
But sadly is no more alive.

Last Christmas his bright light grew dim
Old age his spirit took from him
So now as May the 3rd comes round
This birthday has a hollow sound...

(c) Poet in the Woods 2014

3.5.1918 - 13.12.2013

View of Missourie, India

Thursday, 1 May 2014

At the Garden Centre

May begins with flourished stroke
Nature speeds up – goes for broke
The window boxes in my street
A riot of rainbow flowers neat.

Hanging baskets overflow
With a multi-coloured show
And as for gardens - as I pass
Budding daisies poke through grass.

At the local nursery sales are brisk
Frost no longer seems a risk
Keen gardeners down the aisles one sees
Contemplating flowering trees,

Busy Lizzies, gipsophila
Begonias, roses and lobelia
Marigolds are a good bet
They survive the summer, even wet!

Robust geraniums vanish fast
Their scarlet flowers last and last
I too succumb and bring plants home;
A Garden of Eden of my own!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014