Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Rising Flood - of Protest!

July was really weird this year
Sultry days made it quite clear
That thunder was not far away
And dramatic storms soon came our way.

For a country «blessed» with so much rain
The drainage systems take the strain
Storm basins built at great expense
Should absorb these sudden flows intense.

Sometimes we get predictions wrong
And a whopper cloudburst comes along
The boggy ground just cannot cope
And water hurtles down the slope.

Debris-ridden, muddy loads
Sweep parked cars right off the roads
Ground floor shops lose all their stock
And clean-ups take place round the clock.

Frustration - anger – mental strain
We put in an insurance claim
Only to be told point blank
There'll be no money in our bank!

What purpose do these premiums serve?
I wonder how they have the nerve
To charge when they will not pay out?
That «act of God» clause lets them out!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Feeling Oppressed ...

St. Swithin's Day is now long gone
There are crickets dancing on the lawn
The weeds, all scorched in recent heat,
Now sprout anew round park bench seat.

The thunderstorms should clear the air
But this oppressive atmosphere
Remains; we all feel quite washed out
It's an effort just to walk about.

Dry heat is fine but here it seems
We're in for outdoor sauna scenes.
The dampness saps our energy
Lead me to a shady tree!

The Brussels trams all stink of sweat
In no time we are wringing wet
This kind of summer is absurd
To define it, lethargy's the word!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Note: Swithin was an Anglo-Saxon bishop of Winchester and subsequently patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. His historical importance as bishop is overshadowed by his reputation for posthumous miracle-working. According to tradition, the weather on his feast day (15 July) will continue for forty days.

Monday, 28 July 2014


It was the biggest liner ever seen
Harland & Wolff and Ismay's dream
Four-funnelled, opulent and broad;
Two thousand passengers came aboard.

Millionnaires and rank and file
Could dine each day in White Star style.
Its launch upon that April day
Under skies of iron grey

Presaged an experience new;
On this floating palace, a large crew,
Worked diligently around the clock
Responding to the rich man's knock.

This 5-day voyage to New York
People's imagination caught
Crowds flocked but not all made the grade
Though later they were glad they'd stayed!

On the 12th the starry sky was calm;
When the night watch cried out in alarm
«Iceberg ahead!» - it was too late
The Unsinkable had met its Fate!

Picture if you can the scene
As the bow begins to lean
Too few lifeboats on the waves;
Over a thousand ocean graves.

Titanic Edwardian splendour dies
This disaster opens people's eyes
The flower of hubris had to burst
From now on safety will come first.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

The Titanic sunk in the Atlantic on 12th April 1912

Sunday, 27 July 2014

A Defining Moment

There are those who feel they must define
All friends as yours or ours or mine
A sort of verbal post-it note
Tied like a ribbon round your throat.

«Librarians» index motivations
Classifying their relations
As «one-off», «casual», «intimate»
«Business colleague», «brand new date».

All situations must be clear
So «hanging out» does not appear
The term is grey-edged, rather vague
And makes such people quite afraid.

For others «labels» are taboo
As each day life begins anew
They drift like bees from flower to flower
Defining nothing; that is power!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Stress - Less

Late July – dog days of summer
Friends are all away – a bummer!
My tomatoes ripen on the vine
Needing water all the time!

The dust piles up, small flies buzz round
Their carcasses crash to the ground
Like many, housework's not my thing
An hour of cleaning does me in!

Emails are few and far between
My fixed line never flashes green
Am I the one the world forgot?
In sultry heat I lose the plot!

The masses go in search of sun
The traffic cones make travelling fun
Frantic, nervous preparations
Excited children – action stations!

I ponder on our modern lives
Observing how our race survives
Fired up by stress at work and play;
Is the poet's life a better way?

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Boitsfort's Sleepy Millpond

The quiet buzz of drowsy bees
Blue shimmering amid the trees
Bold kingfisher awaits his time
While insects flicker in the slime.

The pond, a stone's throw from my home
Murmurs – it is not alone
Bullrushes curtsey, hogweed bows
To crested grebes, proud necks like prows.

Waterboatmen idle by
A tasty morsel on the fly
In this ancient millpond deep
Whose aquatic city does not sleep.

A passer-by, lost deep in thought
Might find his gaze a moment caught
By ripples or by swooping bird
His primeval love of nature stirred.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Note: Boitsfort - S.E. commune of Brussels

Belgian Heatwave

Scenes of the tropics flood my mind
How to cope in heat unkind?
Why - everybody needs a fan
Or airconditioning if they can.

Men drip with sweat, we ladies glow
Damp patches soon begin to show
The thought of tights or socks and shoes
Makes it worse - for we refuse

To don a raincoat - is that wise?
Despite the heat we have grey skies
The Nation's toes are on parade
People slope off - seeking shade.

Windows open late at night
Are a burglar's chief delight!
We swelter - inland there's no breeze
Daydreams visualise palm trees

With waving fronds to keep us cool
Along a bay - by swimming pool
This heat for many is a pain
Did I hear someone pray for rain?

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Moment of High Drama!

Drama can take many forms
In opera it is grandiose
In weather terms think violent storms
In domestic quarrels – highs and lows.

Now picture, if you will, the scene
It happened just one day ago
Nothing but blackness on my screen
My whole life vanished at a throw!

My computer is my faithful friend
It's never let me down before
But perhaps it's reaching its life's end
And now is rotten to the core.

Had a stealthy virus killed it dead?
Had the firewall been attacked?
I stared at the blank screen with dread
A moment of high drama – fact!

In dire straits! Which way to turn?
But tech wizards can be found
It takes just one phone call I learn
To make my laptop safe and sound!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Thomas and Granny Mary

What’s in a number? 91
Has a ring about it and for some
A meaning which is quite unique
Mum reaches this age as we speak!

Three score years and ten are past
Venerable 80 was a blast
90 was a milestone too
But vistas new hove into view.

Last year saw her life mate depart
And with him a piece of her heart
But joy of joys! This year began
With the birth of such a fine young man.

Named Thomas too, sweet-faced and fair
Of Nordic colouring like her
She revels in her status new
Granny Mary – we love you!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Tour de France

The talk is all of “Tour de France”
From Yorkshire it has crossed La Manche
Keen commentators shriek out loud
The Yellow Jersey wows the crowd.

Enthusiasts all line the route
To watch the cyclists past them shoot
What stamina, what tour de force!
But only one can win, of course.

This multi-leggèd cycle race
In rugged terrain picks up pace
In sprints and spurts and steep inclines
Stamina wins in sultry climes!

It began a hundred years ago
And still we watch; it goes to show
That cycling still has great appeal
Vive the magic of the Wheel!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

July 5th - 27th 2014

Pace - Disgrace - New Face

With communications coming fast
An eye blink and you’re in the past
I saw with shock upon my screens
A Malaysian plane* in smithereens.

A solar missile (so they say)
Has wiped a host of lives away
All unsuspecting, people board
A full flight – nothing untoward.

Kuala Lumpur – here we come!
But no – their life thread’s quite undone.
Press conference: now who’s to blame?
Rumours opt for the Ukraine…

Israel puts troops on the ground
Sending shock waves out - profound
Now that Brazil’s World Cup is done
Reality hits us on the run!

Has the world become a violent place?
All news spreads at rapid pace
So I was glad to learn this week
Two friends of brand new grandkids speak!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

* Malaysian airlines flight MH17 crashed on 17th July, 2014

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

At the Summer Sales

Bargain hunting isn’t fun
Crowds of people milling round
Queues so long you want to run;
Clothes off hangers – on the ground.

Special offers? I’m not sure
“Made in China” fast and cheap
Is “in our face” in every store
Beijing chic for all this week!

Real reductions, sense of style?
Haute Couture has lost its place
Much is shoddy, rank and file
The fashion victim has no taste!

I spent one afternoon in town
And traipsed with younger friend in tow
Around the shops both up and down
I bought just one T-shirt to go!

My friend enjoyed her spending spree
And with a wardrobe new returned
Her happiness was plain to see
And I a cup of tea had earned!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Follow your Dreams!

We all have dreams of varying kinds
Which take root in our complex minds
Things we’d so like to achieve
Trump cards hidden up our sleeve.

Some predictable and safe
Some which cause our reins to chafe
The more impossible the better
When we dip our toe in – it gets wetter!

The excitement as we reach our goal
Burns a mark upon our soul.
Cherished hopes must long be nursed
Before the sportsman romps home first.

Madcap designers give their names
To inventions dreamed up in their brains.
Long after they are dead and gone
Their unique brainchild will live on!

So what’s your dream? It’s time to think
Of your aim in life and let it drink
In the creative rivers of your mind
For therein will you treasures find!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 14 July 2014

World Cup Day - Plus One!

The news today on all the stations
Is crowned by German jubilations
This year’s Mannschaft takes the Cup
And the Berlin crowds all lap it up!

The Gaza Strip takes second place
The victims mount – it’s a disgrace
The blue star in the Middle East
Fights shy of a lasting peace.

What a world we live in – it’s gone mad
That football reigns is very sad
The things that matter are neglected
Belgium’s Government – not selected!

It should be warm as it’s July
But the sun has teardrops in its eye
Could our frivolity be the cause?
Who knows – but maybe we should pause …

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

13th July: Germany beats Argentina 1 - 0 in extra time

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Time is Now!

Time passes and our thoughts grow old
Life’s patterns are not edged in gold
Cycles begin and others break
Not everything’s a piece of cake.

But should one harp back to the past?
Life’s happening now – it speeds so fast
Some days my feet don’t touch the ground
Choices to be made abound!

Experience is a two-edged sword
It means our playing field is broad
But beyond the pitch the unknown beckons
Our life can really change – in seconds!

Perhaps it’s best to stare ahead
And by our instincts to be led
Into the future steer our prow
And live life fully in the now!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Wednesday, 9 July 2014


Damp, wet July – the puddles flow
Lakes upon the pavements grow
Umbrellas soon can’t take the strain
Of coping with incessant rain.

Gurgling gutters wash the street
Background noise to rushing feet
World Cup flags once proudly flying
Look washed out and need drip drying.

Above us - never ending grey
Which strong winds fail to blow away
Despite the sales, the lure to buy
Shrivels under leaden sky.

The forecast’s grim – more of the same
Dratted, overpowering rain ...
The exodus has now begun
Belgians rush south – to the sun!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 7 July 2014

Thomas - at 6 Months Old

My little nephew’s latest phase
180 or so days -
Six months have flown since he arrived
A tiny scrap, eyes open wide.

From “slug stage” fed on mother’s milk
This mini creature, soft as silk
Now beams and smiles and nods his head
Looking seraphic when he’s fed.

Rolling over on his tum
Has been a source of constant fun
He now can sit up and survey
With growing interest each day.

His brain expands; he’s learning fast
He watches people as they pass
He recognizes Mum and Dad
To Granny he’s a special lad.

There’s a twinkle in his deep blue eyes
But what he thinks is a surprise
Never fear – he knows what’s what
And uses all the sounds he’s got!

Rug-bound, sitting on the floor
The world is out there to explore
Staying put won’t do at all
Methinks Thomas soon will crawl!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Tears in the Beer

High drama on the football field
The quarter-finals place is sealed
Not by our Devilish National team
It is the ending of the dream.

The Argentinians hold their ground
8 minutes in - their goal is sound
And though on both sides there’s good play
The pale blue flag wins out today.

All hopes are dashed, the big screen shows
The Argies nimble on their toes
Belgium’s bolt has now been shot
The Belgian flags begin to drop.

No celebrations in the street
Honking horns or happy feet
Instead a quiet stillness reigns
Tears in the beer as all hope wanes.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

July 5th, 2014 - Argentina 1 Belgium O.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Owl and the Pussycat - after hours!

The Owl and the Pussycat's tale is well known
They ventured abroad in a boat in Lear's poem.
But I shall indulge in a whim of my own
And tell you what happened when they were alone.

"You see, it's like this", said the crafty old owl.
"The honey and money were just to beguile.
And now that I have you on board, pussycat,
We'll see if my feathers can ruffle you flat."

"My deep-throated song may have played a small part
But the rhythm that matters is that of my heart.
When I see you before me, my fluffy princess
The urge comes upon me to feather your nest."

"Nay, do not deny me. I promise you this.
It's all quite in order to start with a kiss.
And then if you're willing to gaze at the stars
I'll do all I can to assuage your desires."

"This talk of a ring with a pig in the middle
Is as false as the tune that I played on my fiddle.
But night is fast ending and what I abhor
Are the sun's eager rays on our secret Amour."

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

- with apologies to Edward Lear.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

National Daze

July brings much to celebrate
First the warm weather which is great
But have you ever wondered why
So many National Days come by?

In date order, let us see
The red-white Maple leaf floats free
Canada’s people are diverse
But they come together on the first.

Their neighbour, the vast USA
Puts the stars and stripes upon display
On the 4th great BBQs burn bright
And all fifty States unite!

Memories next of the Bastille
On the 14th prisoners were set free
In 18th century this occurred
Still today French hearts are stirred!

Last but not least on the list
The 21st must not be missed
It’s Belgium’s national day of course
Its motto? “l’Union fait la force”!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014