Wednesday, 30 December 2015

At the Adelaide Art Gallery

Past scaffolding, down bright red steps
A warm welcome this “temp Aussie” gets
The café, well frequented, zings
A smiling waitress Shiraz brings.

Ladies who lunch, chat everywhere
The “twang” of S.A. bends my ear
Lawn-fringed patio strewn with leaves
Broad, canvas awning – lightbulb frieze...

Salads are tastefully displayed
Artistic flair in Adelaide
Art Gallery Food is "AGF";
Pigeons hover – eat what’s left!

“Down Under” has a special feel
It’s hot (and I don’t mean the meal!)
My friends arrive – bang on at One
End of December – in the sun!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

AGF = Available gluten-free

Monday, 28 December 2015

Bass Strait Drama!

Sydney-Hobart Yacht race – Boxing Day
71st start in Sydney Bay
Majestic, proud, fired up to win,
With graceful sails and tidy trim…

Those in the know observe the scene
Two yachts are household names, they’ve been
Mentioned often in the Press
Proud to show off their prowess:

“Comanche” (U.S.) and “Wild Oats”,
The proudest of Australia’s boats,
Are caught up in a sudden squall;
With mainsail ripped, pride takes a fall

“Wild Oats” retires, limps back to port
While Comanche’s rudder is re-wrought.
The Bass Strait sees the wind die down
The world waits; who will wear the crown?

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Note for the curious: "Comanche" crowned line honours champion!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Ants and Spiders & Co!

The heat, though welcome, has its snags
It reduces summer clothes to rags,
It dries out timber, makes homes frail
And ages those whose skins are pale.

Crows’ feet are common, sun spots too
Green lawns in summer are taboo
The water bill is far too steep
Unless you have a borehole – deep!

But not just humans love the sun
In nooks and crannies spiders run
And weave their lethal webs with pride
'Fast food' flies soon caught inside.

The linen press - a spider’s lair
So shake out all your sheets – beware!
Though small, these creatures pack a punch
A poisonous bite may spoil your lunch!

Cute geckos, harmless, enter homes
Deadly snakes hide under stones
Though houses all have fly screen doors
Teams of ants crawl over floors...

Invading armies flee great heat
Seen everywhere; we face defeat
Insects reign! Man thinks he’s boss
But “Down Under” he has lost the toss!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Blazing Christmas Eve?

Christmas Eve dawns bright and clear
Sense of excitement - yuletide cheer
In blazing sun, large tinsel trees
Waft silver needles in the breeze.

I’m back-to-front and upside-down
No log fires, but turning brown!
Pre-Christmas sales in Rundle Mall
“Made in China” says it all!

The heat means bush fires are a threat
Whipped up embers can collect
In gutters, roofs or wooded slope
Strong winds, though cool, bring fear not hope.

Each household: a survival plan;
As the speed at which fire travels can
Make leaving early a good bet;
Though some stay put - homes to protect.

The firemen brace themselves and pray
No chance of a “cool change” today
As Aussies picnic on the beach
On golden sands - fires out of reach!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A Stolen Hour

Moist, delicious Christmas cake
In sun-filled garden – leaves all raked
A vast tree shelters patio;
Nearby, quiet waters flow.

Hot coffee brought out on a tray
Like England on a sunny day
Except that here the heat's intense
And butterflies cluster round the fence.

Huge ferns sprout upwards - a green fan
Their febrile fronds mocking our tan
The sun is fierce – hats de rigueur
A warm breeze makes the flowers stir.

The native eucalypts give shade
A myriad greens that never fade
My retina records the scene
I pinch myself – it is no dream!

(c) Poet in the woods

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Winter Solstice

A chance remark brings thoughts to mind:
The shortest day is left behind
The winter solstice cloak is torn;
Bit by bit a brighter dawn.

St. Lucy’s feast of light is past
The Pagan festival a mask
Bonfire embers, crackling logs
Voices of departed Gods…

For the Ancients the world slept
Visions in cave fires leapt
Nature held in deepest awe
Inner feelings to explore …

Electricity has banished dark
Our busy lives have lost that spark
So this precious time to meditate
Lies, like ashes, in the grate…

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Under the Coathanger!

Wow! What a dreamlike, haunting scene,
A magic place – where I’ve now been
I speak of Sydney’s fabled bay
With views to take one’s breath away!

A friend of many long years standing
Took me to a dingy landing
Under skies of perfect blue
To board his yacht - with hand-picked crew.

Moored peaceably in Tarban Bay
I climbed aboard and felt it sway
All equipment neatly stowed inside
A first – I’m just here for the ride.

Imagine my immense delight
As the Opera house hove into sight
With the former wharves along the Bay
Choppy waters, lots of spray

As we reached that engineering wonder
The Harbour bridge and sailed right under!
Site known as the “washing machine”
I admit I felt a little green…

As we rounded every buoy
We tacked and I heard “Lee, ahoy!”
The boom swung fast across the deck
I dodged - glad that it missed my neck!

All this in glorious Southern sun
Unforgettable memories with my chum
At last – dry land; in Club house din
With drinks - although we did not win!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Thomas - at 23 Months Old

Outside the wind gets up, trees sway
A Northern heatwave comes our way
Within, wee Thomas claims attention
His screaming level causes tension!

His parents, drowsy, want to sleep
But Thomas, steady on his feet,
Clambers on the broad settee
With measured gaze: “Come play with me!”

His toys lie scattered on the floor
Beside a basket with heaps more
A drum and blue ball well in reach
But Thomas has imperfect speech…

‘Up’ and ‘down’ and ‘toy’ and ‘cheese’
Are clearly understood, but these
Do not, on their own, suffice
But screaming gets attention – nice!

To date, so Auntie has been told,
Thomas at nearly two years old,
Has twenty-eight words he can say;
Still missing from his vocab, “Play!”

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Friday, 18 December 2015

Sydney to Worrigee

En masse in Sydney we de-plane
Tired and stiff: baggage reclaim
No tracker dogs, brief passport check
The easiest arrival yet!

Met by friends in glorious sun
Down empty highways – this is fun!
A stop for coffee – stark, bold views
A two-hour journey – gentle snooze…

Worrigee smacks of ancient past
Though modern houses are built fast
Single-storey, vast back yard
Under clear skies, life ain’t hard!

A barbecue and pool await
For jet-lag, swimming is just great!
Then Southern Highlands - brand new scene
With stunning Fitzroy Falls between.

Impressions now in overload
Some brief thoughts on the Antipode:
In minutes laundry is bone dry
December in a star-filled sky!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Heat is On!

The mercury climbs and does its stuff;
For senior citizens it’s tough
To cope with blasts of furnace-air
Unusual for this time of year.

For once the weathermen agree
Pre-Christmas temperatures should be
Way below the forty mark
Particularly – after dark!

We roast – like turkeys - and turn brown
Factor 50 sunscreen coats the town
It’s eerie walking in the dazzle
Without a hat our brains would frazzle.

Shoppers pass by, lightly clad
In air-conditioned malls they’re glad
To shelter from the waves of heat
And take the weight off swollen feet.

The Aussies go mad for ice cream
In two-litre tubs, I’ve seen
Avoiding picnics on the beach
Shade is sought – out of sun’s reach!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Martin Place, Sydney - One Year On

Top news today on the TV
Not current affairs or sport I see
But sharp recall of Martin Place
Where Sydneysiders had to face

In the bustling centre’s Lindt café
A lone gunman who destroyed their day
Taken hostage: twenty-two
With frightened faces in full view.

Police were soon upon the scene
Uncertain how to act between
As in the front line it was hard
To catch the gunman off his guard.

Two office workers did break free
A moment captured on TV
Australia held its breath and waited:
What should be done – hotly debated.

Action stations late at night
The gunman swiftly shot on sight
Alas - two others also died
Hence the flowers today piled just outside…

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Hostage situation: 14-15 December 2014

Monday, 14 December 2015

In Transit

Singapore – warm sultry night
Post 13 hours jammed up tight
With a host of unknowns in the air
Fed generously, served with flair

By graceful, gentle Singhalese;
It’s wonderful to unbend knees.
The tropics promise so much more
Nature tactile – in the raw.

With time to kill between two flights
It’s fun to put the world to rights
A chance encounter can astound:
A chat with Holly – Auckland-bound.

Corridor stroll to butterflies
Whose fragile wings delight our eyes
As they on pineapple alight
Or pause - like us two - in mid-flight!

Rushing waterfall behind
Whose murmur brings us peace of mind;
Outside - a pond with chubby koi
Bright orange, silver splashed with soy!

Time passes – we’re soon on our way
Another crowded plane – hurray!
Squeezed in like cattle; blonde young Finn
And Indian grandma with her kin.

The wriggling youngster won’t keep still
Though shades are down, his voice is shrill.
All bound for Sydney, daily run
Long distant travel to the sun!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Internet - an Intimation

The Internet gives a world view
You make a search and quickly view
All sorts of esoteric facts
No need the poor old brain to tax.

Encyclopedias, reference books
Lie dust-covered – no one looks
In erudite and revered tomes
With Internet now in our homes...

This knowledge revolution brings
It is true - a host of things
Within our ambit – we explore
From our desk top more and more.

But the World Wide Web has shadows too
Gremlins and terrorists get through
We knew too little, now too much
A price is paid to stay in touch!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Keeping Afloat

We're flotsam and jetsam on life's way
Treasures which sink, or bob and sway
Depending on current, wave or storm
We encounter squalls or tropical warm.

We long to cling but driftwood breaks
Clambering aboard great courage takes
Too many hands grab on the boat
Yes, life is perilous afloat.

Horizons change, views are obscured
Trying to keep track – is absurd
We share sweet moments now and then
Frolic with dolphins and feel Zen

Then sharks or icebergs loom in sight
Tempests rage – we hold on tight
Or strike out blindly; who knows where?
Life's constant movement – so beware!

We long to rest along the shore
But the wind picks up – we're off once more
To get our bearings, we've no time
We hurtle forward, anchor primed!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Monday, 30 November 2015

COP21 Climate Change Conference

Huge conference on global warming
Heads of State on Paris swarming
More safety measures put in place
Time is on the wing – we chase

Chimeras – can the world agree
And speak as one? It seems to me
The stakes are high, the damage done
Floods and droughts are Number One.

Our planet suffers – who's to blame?
Man's the destroyer – that is plain
Will Paris pull trumps from its sleeve?
The world awaits – we dare not breathe!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

In Paris 7-8 December 2015
In Marrakech 7-11 November 2016

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Brussels - Back on Track?

The Metro girds its loins and and runs!
In many places guards with guns
Protect and check those who commute
Will distant stations follow suit?

All the trams are back on track
And STIB's* big buses take up slack
The word “mobility” is moot
Not all can take their normal route!

The sleet and icy winds deter
Leisure travellers who don't stir
From heated homes to shopping streets
Despite the lure of Christmas treats.

Hoteliers look on in dismay
As would-be tourists stay away
This situation is quite new;
The Burgomaster and his crew

Step up precautions – they are fraught
How long before those men are caught?
Meanwhile for kids it's back to school
In Brussels Fear will never rule!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

* STIB = Brussels public transport network

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Brussels Lock-Down - Day 4

We live in such amazing times
Too serious for my flippant rhymes
So I ask myself, as you must too
Against such people – what's to do?

Security in all our schools
And metro stations - means new rules
Where's the workforce and the guns?
Have we an endless tap on funds?

It's culture that defines our lives
With all these closures – what survives?
Who are we when all's said and done
When plays and concerts are struck dumb?

Our joie de vivre takes a hard knock
We ponder history - take stock;
As Peace of Mind looks on – and mourns
Fanaticism takes new forms ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris on 22nd November, 2015.

Monday, 23 November 2015

A Pregnant Pause?

Provincial Brussels, quiet and quaint
With St. Michael as its patron saint
Presents a different face today
Praline-seekers kept at bay.

Lofty Christmas tree in place
But of festive cheer no trace
With security at Level Four
No metro, school or shopping store.

The police swoop down in Molenbeek
Arrests, crossfire and buildings wrecked
Lombard street is barricaded
Hide-outs in Charleroi are raided.

The Federal Police are keeping mum
But social media have fun
With rumours flying and no facts
Facebook posts show cheeky cats!

A quiet weekend spent indoors
With concerts cancelled, time to pause
Like the New York black-out long ago*
In nine months' time results will show!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

* on 9th November, 1965 ...

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Whither Forecast?

There's talk of sleet and flakes of snow
A purity that brings a glow
To this soiled world of evil ways
Eye-to-eye contact fear displays.

With darkening skies clouds quickly loom
A sense of foreboding spreads at noon
Deserted streets – no normal state
Winter's tyranny can't wait.

But against such weather - what's to do?
The flakes will fall on me and you
We wrap up warmly every day
And taking care, we face the fray!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Friday, 20 November 2015

The Brussels Sewer Museum

There's talk of sleet and slushy streets
As gentle Autumn now retreats
Sure sign of winter - heavy rains
Swathes of mulched leaves, flooded drains...

This week a new event occurred
It kicked up quite a stink, I heard!
By the Porte of Anderlecht
Is a quaint museum; quite a trek

Down passages below the street
Entrance by a toll booth neat
Amazingly you can explore
The River Senne and hear its roar.

Once Brussels had a “Venice” face
Now boulevards disguise its trace
A river, shallow, wound its way
Behind the Grand'Place every day.

Detritus of all kinds flowed past
To scour it - an unpleasant task
So over a hundred years ago
The city council made it go

Down a sewer network deep and vast
Cholera – Evil of the past!
It's fun, it's different, worth the trip
Lifeline of Brussels – but don't slip!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Le Musée des Égouts - Porte d'Anderlecht

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Addicted to Facebook?

Facebook can't help but amaze
Strange happenings on every page
Politics play the lion's role
With cartoons which are harsh or droll.

What of the posts that make you think?
Intriguing stories - via a link
How many of you have been “tagged”?
And don't reminders drive you mad?

Are “Facebook” friends the real McCoy?
Personal comments can annoy
They mushroom in an on-line screed
Is gritty gossip what we need?

It's hard these days to marshal thought
As our attention span is short
Adverts break our concentration
With promises of (fake) sensation!

While we upload photos for our friends
And promote and share the latest trends
Real life, my friends, goes on elsewhere;
Does the Facebook forum care?

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Thomas - We'll Meet Again!

At 23 months Thomas strides
Into the big wide world and rides
Albeit closely held by Pa
Propped up against the handlebar

Upon a streamlined racing bike
Impressive for a tiny mite!
He cannot reach the pedals yet
But otherwise his gaze is set

Firmly on the road ahead
Perched up high on tyred tread
Inside his head the wheels are turning
As Thomas masters cycle learning!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Dans quel monde on vit?

Dites - dans quel monde on vit?
Le drame, la malbouffe et l'Ennui
Le terrorisme est partout
La peur nous poursuit dans la rue ...

Les finances - plus en équilibre
Une demi-vie – tout en hybride
Le temps nous manque; en surmenage
Au bout du compte - paix en naufrage.

Incertain – l'Avenir en doute
Notre planning en déroute
Bannies – les vieilles certitudes
Le chemin tout droit sera rude!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Friday, 13 November 2015

Friday the 13th!

Let's consider, if you will
How a certain date and weekday will
If put together - create fear
This can happen several times a year...

This combination, who knows why
Is a portent of the evil eye
Strong characters on this day were born
With personalities “hors normes”:

Fidel Castro - fiery and intense
Alfred Hitchcock - Master of suspense
Samuel Beckett - playwright en français
Why, Rossini died upon this day!

At the Last Supper thirteen guests;
Bible tradition still attests
It was on Friday that Christ died
Reason for bad luck world wide?

Airports have no Gate Thirteen
A 13th floor is rarely seen
In tower block - it can't be sold
Say 13 and your blood runs cold...

So when thirteen on a Friday falls
Many look in crystal balls
They're afraid to venture out, it's true
But I don't fall for this – do you?

(c) Poet in the Woods 2015

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Under Attack!

Proud ivory castles fit and strong
Loyal companions our life long:
Yet sometimes, they give up the battle
Nerves get raw and white walls rattle.

Sugar armies find a breach
In a tiny corner out of reach
An alarm is sounded far away
The hunt is on to fight Decay!

Best form of defence – attack
Vigilance – no holding back
The torture chamber deep inside
Reminds us – there's no room to hide!

With guards asleep and drawbridge down
Wandering sappers out of town
Undermine our bastions with skill
So it's Red Alert - we know the drill!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Monday, 9 November 2015

Our Daily Horoscope

It's Monday and a brand new slate
I scan the papers – what's my fate?
Should we believe the printed word
Or on-line horoscope? – Absurd!

The whole world grouped into 12 signs
Our lives mapped out in crisp short lines:
Where we'll travel, our career
Love encounters – it's all here!

Though astrology is intuition
Cynics regard it with suspicion;
Yet Man is still enthralled by space
Where each planet has its place...

Each day these astral charts are done
Intrigued, we read them just for fun
'Cos a phrase might actually be true
Coincidences happen too!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Friday, 6 November 2015

Bomb on Board?

These planes that drop out of the sky
Are a puzzle; why, oh why
When thorough checks have been performed
Are nasty rumours quickly spawned?

Pilot error soon discounted
Investigation quickly mounted
The hunt for the Black Box reveals
A nervous tension the Press feels.

This time at the Red Sea Resort
Stranded tourists are distraught
Over Egypt flight near Sharm al-Sheikh
Shattered with all hands on deck...

This silver bird - new Trojan horse
Bore a package from a doubtful source
Holidaymakers are betrayed;
The fierce explosion is man-made.

I name no names but my thoughts go
To frequent travellers – they must know
Safety checks will get much longer
And apprehension that much stronger!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Russian aircraft crashed on 31st October, 2015

Thursday, 5 November 2015

The 1605 Gunpowder Plot

Some facts and figures you may know;
In Parliament cellars deep below
The Seat of Power where Scotsman James
Would inaugurate the Stuart claims

To the throne of England post Queen Bess,
Some Catholic Plotters risked arrest,
By hiding under bales of hay
Explosives which in barrels lay:

Thirty-six vats warm and dry
To blow Parliament and King sky high
And place a Catholic on the throne ...
Saturday, November 5th is known

By school kids in their primary days
As the Guy Fawkes plot which did not blaze;
English justice never faltered
The traitors: most hanged, drawn and quartered...

1605 was long ago
But such events long shadows throw
Bonfires crackle, bright sparks fly
What's that? “ A Penny for the Guy?”

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Thomas - at Arkaroola!

Wee pioneer upon our hands!
Thomas not yet two – has plans:
Australia's outback, sun-bleached blocks
And rugged terrain fairly rocks!

A first excursion far from home
Down dusty, off-piste roads scarce known
Thomas, who has itchy feet
Observes this moonscape-like retreat.

Here Nature, bare-faced, greets the eye
Unforgiving landscape – endless sky
An eternal, awe-inspiring scene
Russet-ochre, flecked with green ...

Arkaroola with its rock-strewn scree
And ridge-top tour is a must-see
Rucksack and sunhat to the fore
Thomas rushes to explore!

On the verge of speech and yet
No voiced impression can we get
Of what he feels about this place
Though happiness shines on his face.

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Sunday, 1 November 2015

A Quiet Moment

Chrysanthemums in fits and starts
Their vibrant colours warm our hearts
The florists do a roaring trade
In graveyards everywhere displayed …

I see sad families make their way
United in their grief today
To remember those who've gone before
Sharing silence, feelings raw.

More poignant – those who come alone
To catch a glimpse of souls they've known
Re-kindling love within their heart
They capture briefly their lost spark.

Down the aisles I hesitate
To observe a name or read a date
Impressive stone, or new-turned earth
Many foreigners at birth.

I reach the lawn with ashes strewn
Eleven years gone by too soon ...
I let my heart a moment grieve
Then turn around and quietly leave.

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Thursday, 29 October 2015

The Grouse Season!

Have you ever thought how life is here?
Waves of Expats make it clear
That every day and every hour
We're building our own Babel tower!

Statistics tell us one in three
In Brussels foreign-born may be
All red tape's in French and Dutch
And German's spoken – but not much.

For such a tiny little Nation
We've prestige well above our station
Roman once, then part of Gaul
Now HQ of urban sprawl.

By tourists - sadly underrated
By frustrated drivers – hated
Weather iffy – excess rain
Tax rates far too high – a pain!

So why, I wonder, do they come?
Is Brussels really that much fun?
Rich culture and good food – that's true
Expats dine out … then toodle-loo!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Monday, 26 October 2015

What's in a Name? John Waterloo Wilson

If your name is Waterloo
Then a link with Belgium isn't new
That famous battle left a mark
A high point on our history chart!

The date? 1815 of course
Victory for the Allied force
Led by the Duke of Wellington:
Napoleon was on the run!

The Wilsons had a son that year
Born in Belgium* it was clear
They had to mark this great event;
Baptised John Waterloo, this meant

A destiny which matched the name
This Patron of the Arts became
With business acumen and flair
A cotton mill entrepreneur.

With Belgian and French expertise
His art collection grew with ease
150 oeuvres put on display -
King Leopold came Vaux-Hall way!

27 works from different schools
He offered Brussels – but with rules
To be arranged for public view:
French, Dutch, German, English too.

In gratitude for such largesse
And at his death Gold Franc bequest
His proud family can claim
A Brussels street now bears his name!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

John Waterloo Wilson 1815-1883
* Born May 16th

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Enough is Enough!

Too many choices – where to turn?
My diary's full; sometimes I yearn
For a little time to call my own
Should I disconnect my 'phone?

I contemplate our generation
Unable to resist temptation
Wired for sound on Internet
And only happy when they get

A “ping” or “buzz” straight in their ear;
Oblivious of others near
They chatter in a hundred tongues
Brussels' Tower of Babel hums!

Business eats up our free time
Fellow workers stay on line
And fire off emails late at night
Relentless pressure – is this right?

What's happened? Why this frantic pace
Where peace of mind has lost its place?
No turning back - we've reached the edge
The treacherous thin end of the wedge ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Sunday, 18 October 2015

After the Migration Summit

European Summit, demonstration
City gridlock, deep frustration
A chilly, spotting-rain type day
Blaring police cars on their way.

Such an impasse is not news;
Blocked metro, people form bus queues
We hear there's been a suicide
Someone's taken their last ride...

An ambulance screams to the scene
Road blocks, the traffic stops at green.
Rare are the buses that arrive -
With crushed humanity inside.

Angry cacophony of phones
Late arrivals in commuter homes
Appointments which cannot be kept
I missed one too, I could have wept!

But chaos has a lighter side
Chance meetings, waiting for a ride
A lady all in purple clad
And I - got talking; she was glad

To make new links – the time sped fast
We delved into each other's past
Brief sharing of two women's lives
A sense of warmth in our goodbyes...

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Brussels Summit: 15th October

Friday, 16 October 2015

October: Cancer Awareness Month

It's Cancer Month, so I've been told;
On Facebook, messages unfold:
“Think of those who've lost the fight”
And “Pray survivors hold on tight”.

So I stop awhile and let my mind
Dwell on my husband's fate – unkind
The day we heard the fateful news
A slight malaise, he had no clues

That late October rendezvous
Would make our worst fears all come true.
A diagnosis reached too late -
Such harsh words to assimilate.

Now modern medicine is fine
And getting better all the time
But Destiny's roll of the dice
Thwarts all plans – it isn't nice.

Many years have flown since then
Grief recedes – I feel more Zen
Most days I'm fine; but Facebook's post
Recalls I've lost what I loved most...

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Pirate

He scanned the soft waves while aloft
The rigging creaked in pigeon croft
Beyond the ship a peerless blue
Becalmed, the Pirate and his crew.

Telescope to his eye, he spied
A tiny speck on ocean wide
An island beckoned, out of reach
A haze of palm trees, sandy beach.

The thought of water fresh and sweet
Of ripened fruits to pick and eat
Filled his mind; his hands gripped taut
As the winds picked up and caught

The flapping sails which swelled with pride
The lull gave way to choppy ride.
Land ahoy through splashing waves
Around them – many shallow graves...

Rough necked, sun-burnt, sharp yet gaunt
Girded with cutlasses to taunt
Any natives who might come their way,
They stepped ashore - bejewelled with spray!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Monday, 12 October 2015

A Tribute to Edith Cavell (1865-1915)

On 4th December born, this nurse
A vicar's daughter, childhood tough
Ice skating was her love at first
Of his sermons she'd soon had enough.

She loved animals and the open air
And imbued with zeal to help mankind
In the Belgian Red Cross she gave care
Leaving England and Mama behind.

She helped to found a Nurses school
With Antoine Depage - a pioneer
Soon matron with an iron rule
She toiled in wartime – without fear.

Soon prevailed upon to aid
In those dark days the underground
200 allied aircrew made
Their escape - to neutral country bound.

But this was war – she was betrayed
A double-agent sealed her fate
A martyr, malgré elle, she made;
The Germans soon rued their mistake.

Though shot for treason on this day*
Just one hundred years ago
Mass volunteers soon joined the fray;
Edith's star a rosy glow.

A 10-week wait then firing squad
A single death – eternal fame
Unswerving trust in her own God;
A hospital now bears her name.**

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

* Shot in Brussels on 12th October 1915
** Hôpital Edith Cavell - in Uccle

Friday, 9 October 2015

Striking - the Right Note?

Belgian rush hours – traffic spikes
But this week chaos – two main strikes
Austerity measures are a curse
On Wednesday bus and trams were scarce

On Friday the trains stayed at home
Pandemonium reigned – the masses groan
How can we our commitments meet
When cars clog every single street?

Brussels on foot may be a thrill
But it takes a canny cabby's skill
To find his way without delay
As demonstrators block his way.

The Government's caught on the hop
To its belt-tightening schemes, say “Stop!”
The people's voices will be heard
A standstill metropolis is absurd!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

At the Red Star Line Museum - Antwerp

Bus 17 will set you down
Quite a long way to the north of town
By Willem and Napoleon Dock
Near an old brick building with a shop.

A nostalgic look at The Red Star line
Where two million people over time
Left Antwerp for the U.S.A.
Hoping there was a better way

To live – but it would seem
Elusive - that American dream!
Health regulations were severe
And families separated were.

From pogroms and famine many fled
In overcrowded trains they sped
To the Port of Antwerp, poorly clad
Carrying such treasures as they had.

The displays and photos tell their tale
Emigration on a massive scale
1873 - 1934
A way of life that is no more...

And yet, observe the news today
More immigrants now come our way
Despair and hunger on their faces
One memory another chases …

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

It opened on 28th September, 2015

Monday, 5 October 2015

A Step Change

Floods in France – cars washed away
The Riviera mourns today
Freak weather strikes we know not when
Catching out our weathermen!

This Indian summer: quite amazing
Shorts on trams are eyebrow-raising
Lunch in the park upon the grass
Blue skies untrammelled – no clouds pass.

There's still heat in the cobblestones
It's been too warm so no one moans
The October Marathon was run
On Sunday in the brilliant sun!

Today, however, all is grey
A change of mood is on the way
A low pressure front rolls in at last
Summer, fleeting, now is past!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Still picnic weather in Schaerbeek!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Opening of "Train World"

In imposing red brick and white stone
Schaerbeek station looms in sight
Its option "car-on-train" well known;
Greet South of France in morning light!

With a “diving bell” atop its spire
And ticket office train display
Rail enthusiasts won't tire
Of whiling a few hours away.

“Train World” beckons through its doors
Track history it is hard to beat
Huge exhibition on three floors
King Philip opened it last week!

In 1835 they came
Steam engines billowed clouds of smoke
Travel would never be the same
In fifty years – no town remote!

Royal carriages decked out
With rare wood seats, electric light
Emblazoned features seen throughout
All mod cons - impressive sight.

Mobile hospital with bed
A parcel service next to none
Memorabilia – railway workmen's shed
Take the audio guide – it's fun!

From “Pays de Waes” Thirty-Nine
To TEE and Eurostar
Now wired for laptops, saving time ...
Farewell the Age of Steam, Papa!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Opened on 24th September, 2015 in Schaerbeek Station, Brussels.

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Book of Autumn

As the summer gently fades away
Glossy chestnuts join the fray
Winds blowing lightly swirl the leaves
And lofty branches shed their sleeves.

The sunshine lessens day by day
The cloak of night sweeps light away
A morning chill invades the air
Wrap up warmly – or beware!

The Book of Autumn has begun
Long walks with dogs and hunter's gun
Blackberries ripen on the briar
Fruit pies and crackling logs inspire.

The sun this year - benign and kind
A gift to artists – so well timed
Capturing Nature's rich increase
In this troubled world brings peace.

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Thomas - at 20 Months Old

Little boys, however cute, still grow
As their energy begins to flow
In new directions once uncharted;
Thomas on long walks has started!

He strides, determined to explore
Nearly pulling Granny to the floor!
His strength, like his blonde hair, just grows
A mini Samson – and it shows!

He's edging closer to age two
Already there's much he can do
His personality appears
Yet blonde hair flops about his ears...

Clearly, something must be done
He needs a trim – and Dad's the one
To wield the scissors; now let's see
Whether a coiffeur he can be!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Friday, 25 September 2015

Clouds in my Coffee!

The cup was small, not on a tray
No biscuit tagged along today
Instead a rather nice surprise
Warm, heart-shaped froth caught eager eyes!

With style and flair – it seemed unplanned
The barista's instant sleight of hand
Was a tiny gesture, yet unique;
Corner café off a Sablon street.

We'd dashed in to avoid the rain
But a coffee break can entertain!
On a mundane Monday at midday
Miracles still come my way!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Pope Francis and Fidel Castro

The world is in a parlous state
There's so much violence, so much hate
Natural disasters, corporate greed
And insecurity; do we need

To fill our minds with such distress?
When often our lives are a mess...
We discussed this, a dear friend and I
And both agreed that we would try

To look for goodness in our lives
Yes,“thinking positively” survives!
Amid this chaos there is hope
It takes the form of the new Pope

Whose gentleness and common sense
Break through Cuba's last defence
Castro and Francis have a chat
Now THAT is news – the world steps back!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Meeting: 20th September, 2015 Havana

Monday, 21 September 2015

Getting Things into Perspective

It's far too easy to complain
And whingeing people are a pain
Yet I wonder what prompts them to see
The glass half-empty – it could be

Half-full if they'd look around
Life's much to offer and astound
But we don't know how others live
So we expect what they can't give.

Our colleagues, pressured, do their best
But deadlines loom – no time to rest
Work is non–stop - we're time-poor
Warning health signs we ignore...

Cell phones now have pride of place
But high tech has an ugly face
Common courtesy is dying
Just the very old and young are trying

To make sense of this sterile art;
Computers rule – the future's dark
No wonder some poor souls complain;
Life's tough indeed in the fast lane!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Brussels Heritage

Brussels Heritage is vast
The influences of times gone past
And sovereigns from different lands
Have wound a pattern of rich strands.

Take architecture: there are traces
Of Gothic castle, convent places
Baroque is plentiful and proud
Art Nouveau always draws a crowd!

A touch of Rome in leafy park
Flood-lit law courts after dark
A Sacré Coeur – the Basilique
Little Manhattan – high rise street.

To observe these treasures, take the tram
Or yellow cycle if you can
Metro travel is OK
But sights on foot blow you away!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

E.G. The Logis-Floréal Housing Estates of the 1920s - in Boitsfort

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Friendship - a Definition

Our friends are fascinating, fun
Each is special; every one
Plays and hears notes from our tune
Life's melody with warmth is strewn.

At any time, in any place
We can sense that look from a new face
The impression we have met before
And a spark is kindled - our hearts soar.

On the surface, what is there to see?
We're strangers and our lives may be
Running on a different track ...
Age, race or class – the odds are stacked

Against us making such a bond
Yet it happens and our souls grow fond.
Blood ties we cannot choose or alter
But friends, once made, will never falter!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Snarled-Up Brussels!

The days draw in, congestion grows
Tractor and taxi strikes – it shows
Brussels really cannot cope
Free-flowing rush hours? Not a hope!

The traffic jam – a way of life
Those accidents cause daily strife
The Ring is clogged from dawn till ten
At 4pm it starts again!

However, did I hear good news?
New Metro line? Should I enthuse?
The suburban network will expand
Long forgotten stations freshly manned!

But we so love our private car;
To give it up – a step too far?
So few huge car parks out of town
And yes, the STIB could let us down.

Quaint capital with winding streets
Pedestrian zone – no taxi fleets
Postcard pretty – Baroque feel
But modern city? Let's get real!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Friday, 11 September 2015

Kerb Crawling

By the leafy woodland where I view
From my terrace window vistas new
I enjoy tranquillity and peace
Happiness on a long lease.

But not today, folks, not today!
The Commune's gardeners come our way
And trim with angry buzzing roar
And petrol-engine, weeds that crawl

Unchecked, luxuriant and wild
Rampant nature – Horta's child!
The road is long and climbs uphill
The workman's hands are never still.

The neighbours all come out to stare
The smell of cut grass in the air
The team of sweepers clean the street
Wow! It has never looked so neat!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015