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