Monday, 30 June 2014

Striking it Unlucky!

If it’s not football, it’s a strike
The railwaymen have timed it right
As the frantic hordes in search of sun
Traipse round the station looking glum.

Instead of hurtling down the track
To southern sun, they munch a snack
Disconsolate, they scan the board
Few trains are scheduled for abroad.

It’s bad enough on normal days
To be held up – but holidays
With kids and suitcases in tow
That stop before they start – oh no!

Recession dogs us – money’s tight
A few days off will set us right
But the hands crawl slowly round the dial
In 12 hours they’ve not moved a mile!

No announcements for these weary souls
While TV screens show football goals
Many are keen to go away
But instead of striking out, they stay!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 29 June 2014

To Hail with it!

OK, who believes it when I write
That my summer terrace turned quite white
After another raging storm,
Which pelted hail on every lawn?

What intensity and deafening noise!
Those caught up in it, lost their poise
As they rushed in any which way fast
To avoid these weapons of iced glass!

Not once, but twice in June comes hail
The insurance companies grow pale
A torrent of claims will soon flood in
Wild weather patterns aren’t their thing!

A day goes by – I step outside
More damaged plants – leaves scattered wide;
More sweeping up; I hoped for sun
But a cloudburst kept us on the run!

We’re hurtling fast into July
Vacation month – will it stay dry?
I prefer to hedge my bets these days
Within my sight my brolly stays!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Net Result

The buzz word bandied round today
A “catch all” on the state of play
Explaining how we get in touch
Is Networking – it means so much;

Not what you know but whom you know
And whom they know and on we go
The friend of a friend knows just the thing
A vacant job and whom to ring.

A widespread net ensures a catch
From chance encounter, a good match
Socialising over drinks
Or maybe coffee - you make links.

When face-to-face – what are the vibes?
Social media makes huge strides
But intuition rarely lies
When you look into a person’s eyes.

Your photo with emailed C.V.
Though quickly sent will often be
Buried under a growing pile;
Your best bet is a friendly smile

An open mind, a firm handshake;
Good first impressions often make
Doors open when you least expect it
So take the stage and stay connected!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Moody Blues

There are moods and moods and some are bad
Some ecstatic - some plain sad
For reasons we cannot explain
Some see sun and others rain.

We’ve a weather forecast in our head
Which announces stormy times ahead
Or periods of peace and calm
When we sail on gently without harm.

What triggers changes? Who can tell?
Some people cope with stress quite well
While others on grey days are down
And in despair appear to drown.

Depression - or a state of mind?
The workings of the brain I find
Are complex; we don’t hold the key
Each has his own reality...

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Near the European Parliament

The European Quarter hums
Badge-wearing bureaucrats walk by
Ear phones on - yet gabbling tongues;
Not one observing summer sky.

Each buried in his smart, Smart phone
Oblivious of his fellow man
Each, in his own way, alone
But connecting up – for a short span.

Has the human race gone mad?
I suppose it’s progress – at a price
We’re gadget-plated, techno-clad
Wired like robots, mere blind mice!

With non-stop mails and SMS
Spelling half-learnt, all awry
No wonder our life is a mess
Deep down perhaps we wonder why...

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 23 June 2014

The Grapevine

The grapevine – such a fertile plant -
Provides news other methods can’t
Sometimes we're quite at a loss
To get our info quick as poss.

Then somewhere down the line it comes
Gossip, scandal, news that stuns.
No friend, or foe if it comes to that,
Will claim ownership of a fact

If it’s scandalous, perhaps not true
Or if it verges on the rather “blue”
So the grapevine, that mysterious stem,
Guards its origins, pro tem.

We can, of course all make a guess
Is someone trying to impress?
Or dishing the dirt to get ahead?
It’s startling how the rumours spread!

Like Chinese whispers, what was said
Perhaps was incorrectly read.
Is the message wrong? That could be it
We’ve got the wrong end of the stick.

So although the grapevine yields good wine
It’s not a vintage every time
The same is true of what we hear
Perhaps we ought to stick to beer!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Belgium United!

Please buy a flag – support your team!
Red, black and gold flap in the breeze
World Cup fever grips our scene
What to do at times like these?

Rear-view mirrors – patriotic
Red Devil T-shirts on display
Tripartite fright wigs are exotic
Mass hysteria every day!

And even those, like me, who find
This phenomenon beyond their ken
Observe this country’s of one mind
As our King is in Brazil – Amen!

United we stand; now there’s a thing
With royal seal how could we fail?
Before big screens supporters sing
While the vanquished Russian team turns tail!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

22nd June Score: Belgium: 1 Russia: 0

The High Point

June 21st – the longest day
Till Ten the shadows kept at bay
A music festival at play
Light conquers dark
We’ve reached the zenith; from now on
After the feast day of St. John
We know the brightest sun has shone
And made its mark.

The change is subtle, barely seen
Long evenings, tennis on the green,
Picnics and parties outdoors seem
The thing to do
At first we sit out in fresh air
At busy cafés everywhere
Defying dusk, we’re scarce aware
The summer’s through.

But nature’s cycle is not still
Its gentle movement means it will
To barmy evenings bring a chill
As daylight fades
On fields of gold the sun now sets
The fisherman brings in his nets
All of a sudden one regrets
This summer haze.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Friday, 20 June 2014

Putting Thoughts into Words

It always seems a good idea
To accept whatever’s going
Sometimes this is unwise, I fear
There’s no sure way of knowing!

I undertook to write a book
On Europe’s capital city
From French, quite easy at first look
I would be sitting pretty.

But French is quite a tricky tongue
Its nouns and verbs change places
We use the passive, they use “one”
Its style - all airs and graces.

Pragmatic English, spades are spades
At least so I have thought
But words can have so many shades
Of meaning; I’m distraught.

The deadline looms, the pages flow
I re-read through the text
Sometimes a phrase will just not go
It’s really quite complex.

The aim of course is very clear
When you pick up this tome
It must read as to a native’s ear
The challenge is my own!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Thierry Demey: Brussels, Capital of Europe
History Heritage Badeaux Guide Book (2007)

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Spanish Flee

Much can happen in one day
Surprises lurk along the way
My thoughts this morning turn to Spain
Land of drama once again.

Forget the galleons filled with gold
The Inquisition’s fires grown cold
The Civil war and Garcia Lorca
Paella, Flamenco, Gaudi’s quarter.

The spotlight falls on distant Chile
Who’s made Spain’s national team look silly
And scandal rocks the royal throne
As Franco’s successor makes it known

That Abdication is the key
To re-creating harmony
Felipe VI is one cool dude
But will he brighten Spain’s black mood?

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

18th June: Chile 2 Spain O

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Six months pregnant ...

The months go by, news comes and goes
And Angela needs bigger clothes
The tiny spark becomes a brain,
The mini heart beats a refrain.

Eight fingers, two thumbs and ten toes
The scan reveals a cheeky nose
Cells split and form new molecules
Those tiny hands are perfect tools.

At six months junior packs a punch
And kicks out - ruining Mama’s lunch!
Protected in a warm cocoon,
It revels in its heated room.

All food provided at no charge
No wonder it is getting large.
Beyond its realm, the real world waits
And wonders which strange family traits

Have with the Indian pool combined
To form this gem of human kind.
Nature takes its time of course
Three months have still to run their course

Before this miracle arrives
Its gender so far – a surprise!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Written in October 2013. Thomas was born
on 8th January 2014 so I am now an Auntie!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Another Perspective

A much maligned day of the week
Spoken of with angst and fear
Few are those who Monday greet
With light heart or unbounded cheer.

While Friday strikes a brighter note;
The working week draws to a close
Time flies and soon we get our coat
And rush off to well-earned repose.

It’s artificial - this divide
Five days at work and two to play
Sometimes it’s good to step aside
Throw out routine – go your own way!

The way less travelled has its perks
The self-employed know what I mean
Like shopping when old Joe Soap works
Far from crowds in endless stream!

The trouble is, the habit’s strong
Why! God worked six days out of seven
So most conform their whole life long
And Monday stays their Armageddon!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Saturday, 14 June 2014

A Day along the Dykes

A sunny day – we cross the border
Holland’s like Norfolk only broader
Flat landscape, fertile polders, cows
Criss-crossed by roads, where space allows.

Vlissingen with its herring fleet;
Oud Dorp and Westkapelle greet
Occasional tourists such as us
With friendly smiles; good food – a plus!

Amazing engineering feats
Keep out the sea from village streets.
Huge dykes protect one sixth of land
From flooding, thanks to work of man!

Windmills by pumps are now replaced
As the threat of water must be faced
Around the clock, throughout the year
Global warming a real fear.

But the day was sunny as I said
Picture postcard scenes with bikes that thread
Through towns or down quaint canal track -
Sea-going Nation – I’ll be back!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Friday, 13 June 2014

In Memory of Olga (1931-2006)

It’s the very last day of July.
This morning’s funeral made me cry.
The lovely lady whom we mourn
Was lively and Italian born.

Her name was Olga; known by all
A personality 10 feet tall,
She ran the local "one-stop" store
Where noisy school kids used to call.

A kindly word, a friendly smile
Loved by both the rank and file
A hard life, of that there’s no doubt
But never would she rant and shout

And complain as many would have done
Running a business ain’t all fun.
The neighbours on both sides are sad
The house, now silent, always had

An owner blessed with joie de vivre
An anecdote hid up her sleeve.
Her customers kept her abreast
Of local matters; she knew best

What to say and what to keep
Hidden in her heart, asleep.
A helping hand she always gave.
Her kindness lives beyond the grave.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Getting a Kick!

The streets are strangely quiet tonight
No lawns are mown, no children fight
No dogs with owners come my way
Despite the warm and balmy day.

No neighbours stand by doors and chat
All I can see is one lone cat
Parading queen-like past the wall
Tail in air, surveying all.

It’s eerie, weird and quite bizarre
I can hear no passing car
I stare bemused at cloudless sky
Then I realise I know why!

The World Cup kicks off in Brazil
For millions this is such a thrill
Red-black-yellow flags unrolled
Red Devil T-shirts quickly sold.

I imagine crates of Belgian beer
Piled up in cafés far and near
And families grouped round TV screen
Rooting for their favourite team.

This fervour spreads around the globe
Such excitement, nerves in overload
Mass hysteria in all but name
And all for what? A football game!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Day 1 - 12th June

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Opening a Locked Door

The man wore sunglasses and sat
In leafy bower without a hat
In sun; the storm was yet to come
The plants by spiders overrun.

A bumble bee came buzzing past
Intent upon his pollen task
Tomatoes on the vine now swell
A goodly harvest, I can tell.

I read out loud a poem or two
Grieving is so hard to do
A loss so final, so unfair
Can cause the strongest to despair.

The power of words, a fatal thrust
His hardened shell turned into dust
Emotion caught him by surprise
He was glad I could not see his eyes …

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Beware the Storm!

The Mother and Father of a storm
Crashed and flashed right on till dawn.
Floods and mudslides? Can it be
Belgium’s being washed out to sea?

Thunderous rain, roofs washed clean
This morning all was bright and green
Down in the south – on red alert
Uprooted trees – some people hurt.

A band of rain? A wave more like
Soaking everything in sight
Outside are deep pools in the road
And pebbles scattered like Morse code.

When Nature stirs, her voice is loud
Lightening thrusts through every cloud
Man thinks he rules – but that is daft
How the Elements have laughed!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 9 June 2014

A Snapshot of Maastricht

An ancient crossing of the Meuse
Which a reading of its name infers
Dutch tongue of land – coach drive away
Where Saint Servais still holds sway.

Coveted by France and Spain
A city many sought to claim
Where D’Artagnan, Dumas’ musketeer
Lies buried; he died fighting here.

Old Vrijhof; bustling market square
There’s a touch of Belgium here
With its onion-towered, proud town hall
Surrounded by many a farmer’s stall.

Where Dominicans once used to pray
Books are sold in smart display.
Huge gateways, sturdy, metres thick
Once protected old Maastricht.

In modern times the perfect place
To sign a Treaty; change the face
Of Europe, making us all one
Its latest chapter has begun!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Saturday, 7 June 2014

A Snapshot of Damme

A moment’s drive from busy Bruges
About which tourists so enthuse
Lies, lost in a rural scene,
A white-washed village, calm, serene.

In times gone by it used to be
Bruges’ outpost to the sea
Linked by canal tree-lined and straight
Its busy port off-loaded freight

From ships which brought in casks of wine
Timber, pitch and spices fine
The village swelled - became a town
Bringing wealth to Bruges’ crown.

Caught up in wars, fights over trade
Fate took over, I’m afraid
Silt blocked access to the sea;
The population had to flee.

It became a place forte for the Spanish
With bastions which in turn would vanish
So what the tourist sees today
Are shops with artwork on display.

Reminders of its glorious past:
Its giant church lost in the grass
Half-ruined, open to the sky
And majestic town hall; time goes by!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Wednesday, 4 June 2014


The glorious first of June? No, it was not!
Summer here in Belgium’s rarely hot.
The forecast promised sun and maybe cloud
Well, I looked at the sky and laughed out loud.

There were tiny wisps of blue but most was grey
And I heard the sound of raindrops on the way.
The plants, of course, were thrilled to have a drink
My watering can for once stays by the sink.

Yes, I know the ducks and geese love this display
But we, without webbed feet, stare in dismay.
A man who repairs roofs lives down my road
If this goes on, he’ll be in overload -

Since these 19th century houses, past their peak
Tend to show their age and often leak!
I would rather wear a jacket in the sun
But admit this June my raincoat’s Number One!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 2 June 2014

Being Neighbourly

What did I hear the other day?
“It’s June - the year is now mid-way!”
Rocket-fuelled - my time has flown
Like the proverbial rolling stone

No moss to my feet is attached;
From all sides my free time is snatched.
It’s “Can you help? I need a hand”
Or “Something’s cropped up – quite unplanned”

Or “Might I ask you for a favour?
There’s a hassle with a neighbour”.
Each time I hear the doorbell ring
I pause and time again takes wing.

Intrigued I have to go and see
Who is there and who needs me.
The problem is that I enthuse;
Perhaps sometimes I should refuse

And carve out moments for myself
Take down a novel from the shelf
Ignore the constant ringing ‘phone
And let world fight on - alone!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Waterfall

Bubbling, splashing,
Sparkling, dashing,
Crashing on the rocks below
Gliding, foaming,
Ever roaming,
Always it will flow.

Shining, spraying,
Climbing, playing
On its endless way to go
Ever rushing,
Never hushing
Till all waters cease to flow.

Written in 1963

(c) Poet in the woods 2014