Sunday, 31 August 2014

A Painting on Grief

The wind ruffles my feathers
Which float in disparate fashion
Their fronds reflecting an uncertain and eerie light;

The deep swathe of the black plume
Reminds me what I have lost;
And yet not all are tipped in Indian ink.

Pink is not my colour but the reddish glow
Highlights the blood that still flows
Through my gentle veins;

The movements are swift and leisurely
By turns, and the wind, though invisible,
Keeps me afloat.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


There's an Autumn feel in August's air
We're on the change, the day is drear
A drop in just a few degrees
Coupled with some falling leaves

And stressed-out parents, kids in tow
With books and pens, all goes to show
That summer, if you call it that,
Now slides its key under the mat!

The back-end of the year begins
Once again the school bell rings
Traffic clogs the motorway
And hard-earned tans all fade away.

Winter woollies get an airing
Road rage leads to angry swearing
The parking spots you found in summer
Are occupied – life is a bummer!

The nights draw in and it gets chill
Will evening TV be a thrill?
We shall soon give up the fight
And turn the heating on at night!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Friday, 29 August 2014

Becoming Remote

Life's a struggle; each day's new
Challenges crop up – what's to do?
Odd things happen – unexpected
Plans that seemed fine – are rejected.

There's always something one forgets
Like a corner where the dust collects
You leave without your purse or keys
Or forget a date – or all of these!

Life isn't simple – it's complex
Computers suffer virus threats
Are sales on eBay to be trusted?
On-line banking – often busted!

Postcards don't sell - we use email
Creating an electronic trail;
I've had no letters for a while
I miss the postman's cheery smile.

Human values count for such a lot
But our sad world has lost the plot
Technology sweeps much away
Life's faster, yes - but tinged with grey...

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Vision against Damask Blue

The egg is not yet hatched, the bird stands guard,
Proud sentinels each side their leaves unfold
And admire the dragonflies whose wings are starred
As they touch the window frame of burnished gold.

In centre stage a branch with four dark leaves,
From which a purple flower burgeons forth
Yet should the bird who shelters under these
Fear the cage in wondrous silver wrought?

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Reigning Supreme

Consider if you will this theme
One reason Belgium is so green
Why rivers burble in full spate
Why unmade roads good puddles make.

I doubt you find this riddle hard
In this one realm Belgium has starred!
Many road drains cannot cope
With gushing water down the slope.

Those who live here know the score
Always a brolly near the door
A raincoat handy – maybe two
If the first one's got soaked through.

Granted - Wellingtons are not smart
But great for dog walks in the dark
You can have your car rain-splashed for free
Plant watering's rarely done by me!

Those cloudbursts, storms and walls of rain
Are - let's admit it – a real pain
But Belgium can't help where it lies
On a weather front of stormy skies.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

No End in Sight!

The pressure mounts as August dies
Streets clog with traffic – no surprise
Not all roadworks are completed
Delays, sadly the norm, deep-seated.

More chaos looms, as I've heard said
A viaduct crumbles overhead
No budget for repairs in sight
Perhaps remove it overnight?

Imagine girders on the ground
The dirt and dust, the crashing sound
As demolition teams move in
And rumbling lorries make more din.

New road signs make their presence felt
To keep cars on the moving belt
But nearby streets reach saturation
Causing road rage and frustration.

Too often pipes must be relaid;
Too many cables have decayed
Blocked drains cause floods; our way's impeded
How long will barriers be needed?

We've the joy of autumn leaves to come
Dark evenings when work can't be done
Frost will also cause delays
In Brussels - traffic chaos stays!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 25 August 2014

To a Scottish friend - on Retirement

Fair maiden of the Scottish Isles
With gentle voice and winning smiles
You’ve reached a watershed today
The grapevine says 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

Thursday, 21 August 2014

If Only

It's far too soon to say goodbye
There is so much more we could try
If only we had time «put by»
To draw upon
But life is finite, sands run out
Before we know what we're about
We grasp in vain – are left with nowt
Our friend's moved on.

Regrets - Sinatra had a few
We look back sadly; what's to do?
The life-thread of our friend's cut through
We feel bereft
If only we had spent more time
And shared life with our friend sublime
Instead of drinking this last wine
At his sad death.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A New Vision

We think we know the world around us
But inventions in High Tech astound us
This amazing planet where we live
Indeed has so much more to give.

The human eye, in all its glory
Only observes a partial story;
What lies within a drop of blood
A raindrop or a speck of mud?

Think spider's thread with gossamer feel
Minutely woven, tough as steel!
The nano technology microscope
Delves further than we dared to hope.

There's so much more than meets the eye
Keen scientists today can try
To make the invisible appear
So we can understand our Sphere.

A world unimagined - it's so small
Lies hidden, unbeknown to all
There's a logic in Earth's DNA;
Such precision takes Man's breath away.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 18 August 2014

R.I.P. Ann

It is late, pooled darkness on my desk
Electricity does its best
To play the role of day prolonged
But Night and all its shades are strong.

It's at such moments one is prey
To darker thoughts which find a way
To strut unbidden on our stage
And force us to turn back the page.

I think of Friday; sad surprise
An unpredictable demise
Of a lady writer, colleague, friend
Who for many years would spend

Time with other literary folk
On varied writings – all bespoke!
We saw her last two weeks ago
She smiled goodnight; we could not know

This fleeting glance would be our last
Life's like that – people just drift past
Our minds cling onto them a while
Recalling them with saddened smile ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Ann Somerhausen died in Switzerland on 17th August, 2014

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Dedication of Thomas

I shouldn't have been at home today
In Brussels, under skies of grey
With spotting rain and windy gust
When Australia beckons as it must

Our distant clan to celebrate
Thomas' special «Naming» date.
Auntie felt a mite forlorn
For 60 years no child was born

So our small family has not grown;
Dad's parting left Mum all alone.
But God is good - a new life came
In Jan and took on dear Dad's name.

Carefully kept - an heirloom gown
Through generations handed down
Ornate, with lace, kept in a box
For years and yet the clock still tocks...

The long train needed grandma's skills
Deft with the iron she starched the frills
So Thomas seemed more girl than boy
But he took it manfully, with joy!

Finishing touch – Belgian bootees
Have Aussies seen ones just like these?
He behaved, I'm told, with quiet grace
In the Baptist church where it took place.

His parents beamed, as well they might
When the little lad received the Light
In spirit I was with them too;
Now Thomas – it is up to you!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Friday, 15 August 2014

The Brussels Flower Carpet

Twelfth century cobbled square ablaze
With begonias in most vibrant phase
Here comes (one year in every two)
A living carpet in full view.

The design is mapped out months ahead
In some giant, near-Ghent flowerbed
The colours are chosen with great care
And assembled with professional flair.

Curious tourists happen by
Why expose a carpet to the sky?
We're known for tapestries, it's true
But a carpet this size is quite new.

Peering closer, they observe
The tight-knit plants that truly serve
To produce a trompe l'oeil that's first class
Sad that its shelf-life soon is past!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Appearances can be Deceptive!

Life is bizarre; today I read
On a Facebook page of a floor bright red
Spotted with blobs of sticky goo
What had my friend been going through?

The suggestions ranged from pools of blood
A deathly hush, a heavy thud?
Perhaps a knife had been misused?
So where to start to look for clues?

Down-to-earth and calm, my friend
This apparent violence – a new trend?
Certainly not a drama queen
But clearly a disaster scene...

I read on further – lend your ears
You won't guess in a million years!
From the kitchen freezer she had chosen
A box of raspberries all frozen.

Perhaps the box was not quite closed
When she dropped it – Heaven knows
But the ruby fruit began to thaw
The result: a gory-coloured floor!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

R.I.P. Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Half awake, I hear the news
Surprised and sad; so young to lose
His joie de vivre and zest for living
Battling depression, unforgiving.

What of his humour razor sharp
Which made him famous from the start
Or his Oscar in supporting role?
Poor Robin had a troubled soul.

Dead Poets Society - food for thought
A Mrs. Doubtfire skilfully wrought
Good Morning Vietnam - fast and slick
Good Will Hunting – his star hit.

Sixty-three when he passed away
A Hollywood legend starts to fray
Behind the glitz were drugs and booze
How sad these too were in the news.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Died 11th August, 2014

Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Burnt Bridge by Grimbergen

A winding journey on a bus
Amid the farmland lush and green
Near the Verbrande Brug deposits us
By Willebroek canal serene.

The driver smiles; he's really keen
To recount the history he knows
Burnt back in 1914
When Belgium was in the throes

Of stopping those Teutonic boots
From marching over neutral land
Both language sides were in cahoots
Courageously they made a stand.

Outnumbered (it was not their fault),
They sabotaged the bridge and fled
Alas, their tactics failed to halt
The invasion which came in and spread.

A hundred years on from this date
We observe this peaceful panorama
A nearby plaque recounts its fate
Reminder of a wartime drama.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Burnt on 10th August 1914

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Thomas - at 7 Months Old

At seven months what can I do?
Sit up alone and stare at you.
I can roly-poly on my back
And «advise» you when I want a snack!

I start to learn to think things through
Why, every day there's something new
Not crawling yet, but on the way
After my nap, I love to play.

My latest game does not please Mum
Who tries to put food in my tum
I can close my mouth and make her mad
Though I look a most seraphic lad.

Seven months suit me quite well
Not talking yet, but I can yell
Things are buzzing in my mind
It's just that words aren't yet defined.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

August Angst?

In August – silence all around
My phone sits there - not a sound
I sent out emails through the day
Has every last one gone astray?

Finding parking at Carrefour
Was easy right outside the door!
No queues: few cashiers at tills
Maybe later this place fills?

Many local shops are shut
Fruit is cheap – there is a glut
Special offers, prices slashed
To lure in punters with spare cash.

But those who do not go away
To a sunny spot on holiday
Cannot afford a brand new car
New carpet or an in-built spa!

I sit here staring at the rain
Splashing down the window pane
And wonder where I'd rather be?
But Brussels seems to grow on me!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 4 August 2014

What "Great" War?

On August 4th, the world would change
The Powers-that-Were sought to arrange
Alliances on separate sides
Then late in June an archduke dies.

Gavrilo Princip - an unknown name
Fired one shot - and shot to fame
The powder keg of war exploded
And several monarchies imploded.

Neutral Belgium was invaded
German soldiers soon paraded
Wreaking havoc on the way
To Brussels where they soon held sway.

They aimed to pass on through to France;
Dykes flooded, stopping their advance
What followed was four years of hell
Of trench life Sassoon wrote too well.

A hundred years right to the day
Old Europe started to decay
Death came to young men unprepared
For industrial killing – were they scared!

The flower of youth in mud expired
Because that single shot was fired...
Conscription meant no man was spared
Death came to many – so few cared.

A full four years before it ended
Some hearts and bodies never mended
The armistice bought scant relief
All Nations buried deep their grief.

Today huge cemeteries remain
Reminders stark of so much pain
The «Great» War? Consider if you can
Man's inhumanity to Man.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Changing Places

French is a language that intrigues;
It creates no end of words it needs
Based on its special culture-base
For example: holidays which take place

In the hottest months of every year;
French factory workers disappear
To the Côte d'Azur or Saint Tropez
But the exodus happens on one day.

The «Juilletistes» are those who take
The whole month of July - to bake
In long and never-ending sun
Resentful when the month has run.

Tired and fraught and in the heat
But bronzed like gods, they're bound to meet
Another breed as quaintly named
(The French so like this all explained!)

On the outward journey; keen and white
The «Aoûtiens» now hove in sight
These August travellers cause a clash
Both hit the motorways en masse!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Homage to Edith Piaf

It's trite but true enough to say
We are enriched by life each day
No tutoring at great expense
Replaces good old common sense.

Like Piaf, we should not regret
Our lost youth or our life mis-spent
But look forever right ahead
And feel things as they are - instead.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Friday, 1 August 2014

Make or Brake?

On public transport I delight
In watching passengers hold tight
As the «wattman», eyes on road
Tries to cope with swerving load.

The traffic's constant; every day
Canny motorists find a way
To cross oncoming lanes at speed;
The Belgians are a special breed!

While those of us inside the bus
Are not inclined to make a fuss
Just keen to get from A to B
In calm and equanimity.

So often, though, the journey's fraught
Brakes are jammed on, nerves are taut
Standing commuters lose their grip
And onto laps of others slip!

Why get annoyed? It's force majeure
But dramatic meetings can occur
These encounters of a close kind mean
A chance to talk – a brand new scene!

They take it mostly in good part
They're not driving – that's a start
But as I watch events unfold
I muse; what stories could be told!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014