Saturday, 28 February 2015

To the Calendar-Challenged!

Many years ago, a friend of mine
Had a daughter on Feb twenty-nine;
This tiny creature, pure and sweet
Came with a challenge she can't beat.

While most have birthdays every year
And hordes of friends with whom to share
Their natal day with gifts and cakes,
This leap-year girl lacks annual dates.

Anticipation still grips those
Whose birthday on the diary shows
An avalanche of cards arrives!
For leap-year kids - no such surprise.

On only one year out of four
Can calendar-challenged people score
By quirk of fate, they're singled out
So Happy Birthday! Don't miss out!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Over the Border

Liège’s houses – redbrick lines
My empty carriage slowly climbs
Somewhere soon we reach the border
Efficient bridges, roads in order.

Imperceptible at first
A station sign; wind turbines burst
Upon a landscape flat and neat
Farms with solar panels greet -

Our eyes as sunshine strikes the panes
So much to see – I do love trains!
Aix-la-Chapelle (now known as Aachen):
The carriage fills – travellers darken

Armed with rucksacks – all aboard!
I’m encircled by a German horde.
My fellow traveller, young, fat knees
Must love his food – no Hercules!

Cologne cathedral – proud, iconic
Symbolises style Teutonic.
Past vast constructions Wirtschaftswunder
Flows the River Rhine in splendour.

Leafy glades, allotments, lakes
Tennis courts and factory gates.
While on a hillside, gleaming gold
Baroque church towers now unfold...

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Painted Room

Spring's in the air! Let's dab some paint
On dingy walls and bring new light
On Belgian beige – forego restraint!
Two eager workers prime with white.

The task looks easy but it's not;
Walls must be scrubbed; allowed to dry
Dust sheets were needed – quite a lot
Ladders manoeuvred, cloths kept by.

Re-hanging curtains took an age
When two top coats had been applied
Then the carpet cleaning stage
And replacing furniture inside.

At last, the bedroom lamps are back
Alarm plugged in by bedside chairs
We from our handiwork stand back
And hope it looks this way for years!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Outside a Brussels Metro

In hearty tones, two drivers chat
While we, who wait inside,
Are “entertained” without much tact
To facts that they should hide,

Such as road works on the boulevard
That cause such long delays
Time keeping thus is very hard
And happens on most days.

Our Belgian traveller is not loath
To voice his discontent
When forced to wait, his choice of oath
Ensures his rage is meant.

Those drivers sometimes bear the brunt
Of invective. It’s a shame
They’ve no defence out there in front
No wonder THEY complain!

So there we were, two buses stood
In a yellow, snake-like line
What had gone wrong? One of them should
Be leaving at this time.

We’d scarcely climbed aboard the first
When a third bus hove in view
And that’s when matters got much worse
Since it left without ado!

Our drivers went on talking
I admit it seems absurd
But I considered walking
Maybe my thoughts were heard?

STIB’s logic fools the common man
Progress must come soon
As gridlock means we all must plan
To dance to their strange tune!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

* STIB - the Brussels Public Transport Network

Monday, 23 February 2015

Stepping Out

Down our winding street, on paving stones
Often cracked, I skip the light fandango
Taking my life in my hands
On cold, dark days.

Tenacious weeds insinuate
Their wicked ways between the gaps
And unsuspecting little feet
Pay dearly for their insouciance.

Cars briefly parked cause havoc
Puddles fill impromptu ruts
Lilliputian ice rinks
For the unwary.

Maybe when the election’s called
Something will be done
To rectify this chaos
But who said the way is always smooth?

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Sunday, 22 February 2015

My Street in December

December, cold and dark and wet
With whirling winds which whip and fret
As they whistle in through letterbox
And beat tattoos on window box.

Far from the centre, just one bus
Almost empty as it reaches us,
Comes into view and people stare
Its timing is so laissez faire.

At first light twice a week they come
Blocking the commuter run
The refuse trucks that groan and halt
As bin men our sacks catapult.

As warm as toast I’m oft inside
As the world to work takes its first stride
In dressing gown I pad downstairs
At three times twenty now – who cares?

The scattered clouds soon blow away
The weak sun smiles upon my day
Of course he takes his time, ‘tis true
Who else behind the grey sees blue?

At four the school kids are let out
Like falling leaves they swirl about
Keys in ignition, parents wait
Their progeny runs through the gate...

Almost as one, the engines start
And roar off quickly in the dark
The street abandoned, cloaked at dusk
Then resumes its vigil as it must.

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Thursday, 19 February 2015

More Penetrating Cold!

The 21st of March has gone
Overhead the sun is wan
More snow is forecast; I declare
It’s enough to drive us poets spare!

I’m tired of wind and frost and snow
Can’t winter take the hint and go?
My clothes and boots are old and tired
Leaving this poet uninspired.

Three days into spring but no
Last night we suffered yet more snow
These whirling blizzards are unkind
The term “snowed under” comes to mind.

How those polar winds do blow
Giving our cheeks a healthy glow
Or is it that we rage inside
And our burning anger we can’t hide?

(c) Poet in the woods

(written in 2013)

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


The windows frost up in the dark,
The car has all but lost its spark
But with the heating on full blast
We slowly make it home at last.

With minus temperatures most days
We desire a hibernation phase.
While animals sleep both deep and long
Have we humans got it wrong?

We belong to a “superior race”
Where weather conditions have no place
In our regimented “work hard” lives
Snow blizzards notwithstanding, guys!

We leave for work when it's pitch black
With ice, not leaves, on railway track
In fog and sleet, progress is slow
But travelling hopefully, we go.

While squirrel, fox and woodland owl
Stay snug and safe when sharp winds howl
They observe behind their whiskered faces
Mad humans going through their paces!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Monday, 16 February 2015

On Mardi Gras

This Tuesday has a special name
Heat up your frying pans again!
Eggs and flour and fat are needed
All diets should be superseded!

Before Ash Wednesday, start of Lent,
Many are those who are Hell-bent
To indulge in pancakes freshly made
So cafés do a roaring trade.

The fillings can be what you will
Chocolate seems to top the bill
But lemon and sugar are so good;
And yes - we eat more than we should!

Bon Appétit!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Defining Happiness

Happiness is fleeting – you must grasp it when it comes
Like Macbeth's three witches – there's a pricking in the thumbs
Some people have the shivers or a fast beat of the heart
The shock can be emotional or strike you like a dart.

But metaphors are just one way of expressing what is real
It's like you've lived on hors d'oeuvres and now you're served a meal!
It's a universal feeling yet it's very private too
You find someone appealing and you're drawn to them like glue.

It comes in many shapes and forms; is often unexpected
But realisation dawns - then bingo – you're connected!
Ephemeral or permanent - that we cannot know
But on one thing I am adamant – it imparts an inner glow!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Saturday, 14 February 2015

A Novel Valentine

On Saturday this year it falls;
The martyred Roman soldier calls
To those who wish to celebrate
And mark, in some warm way, this date!

The commercial funfair turns again
Too many red hearts are a pain
Dinner for two is twice the price
Is this honest? Is this nice?

No, I'm not a cynic – love is fine
But it develops over time
When two souls realise what they're feeling
A glow surrounds them, sends them reeling.

But why proclaim this to Joe Soap
When many others have lost hope?
Love should be savoured, a gem rare
In private, often, when two care.

This outward show of “Valentine”
Returns each year at just this time
Perhaps to remind us we should share
More of ourselves; this was his prayer ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Speed is of the Essence - or is it?

“Girl Friday” has much on her plate
The workload piles up and can't wait;
“Urgent” must be done at speed
There's obviously a pressing need.

“Action!” underlined in red
Those vital papers must be read.
Airline tickets booked on line
Checked and printed in quick time.

No coffee break allowed, God knows
Her bosses keep her on her toes
Preparing minutes for a meeting
A sandwich by her desk - uneaten ...

The stress is endless, deadlines loom
Mobiles buzz all round the room
And the treadmill doesn't stop at five
The world is one big angry hive!

A while back, let's say twenty years,
Home and work were different spheres
But social media's changed all that
And reference books are just old hat!

Yet the need to know is paramount
Without an email, you don't count!
I gaze into the sky some days
And wonder – is this just a craze?

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Heart-less February!

It's chill and crisp so people groan
They mutter to themselves alone
“The bus is late, I must get home!”
Why does cold weather make them moan?

There's a certain beauty in this freeze
A majesty in frozen trees
A sharpness keeps us on our toes
We grit our teeth and blow our nose.

Life continues - more or less
We shiver under layers of dress
I learn new ways my scarf to tie
Slithers of brightness pass me by.

It's the darkness that we hate the most
I stay home as warm as toast
But many go out as they must
Commute to work and earn their crust!

One bright spot looms – for those who share
Warm special feelings and who care
In the midst of all this bitter cold
Valentine brings thoughts of gold!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

All Write in the End!

An invitation out to dine
By a friend who lives on my bus line
On Mondays many stay at home
But an email means I'm not alone!

Three flights of stairs are quite a hike
I stand there, breathless, on top flight
From whence the view across the square
Is bathed in moonlight crisp and clear.

Our travel schedules are a trial
So we've not met in quite a while
All the more reason for this meal
A chance to meet up and be “real”.

She does me proud on this cold night
Serving hot soup – a delight!
A healthy main dish of baked fish;
The raspberry parfait was delish!

Though different in many ways
Our common thread of writing stays
With her life story on the go
“This year's the year!”, she lets me know!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Thomas - at 13 Months Old

One year and one month already!
Your progress, Thomas, sure and steady
I'm told, however, by your Mum
That though you clamber and have fun

Making your way up the stairs
The downward journey still holds fears.
I wait to learn that you can walk
And better still that you can talk

Though audible, your sounds aren't clear
But music seems to please your ear
What hidden talents lie within?
You listen, taking it all in.

Until your thoughts you learn to voice
We, your family, have no choice
We interpret every want and need;
Soon you will be up to speed!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Our Spring Fair!

This winter has been long and tough
Those biting winds more than enough
To keep us safely behind doors
Unless we have a pressing cause

To go to work and earn our keep;
God’s animals are fast asleep
Nature closes down the show
So only man will boldly go

And face a world that’s cold and bleak
On five full days in every week.
But now a change in the air
I feel it round me everywhere.

I check the date, first day of spring*
Those clear blue skies are just the thing
To herald better times ahead
Prompting me to leave my bed.

The sun shines warmly on our street
A horde of neighbours come to greet
Each other at the springtime fair
All smiles and joy - and I am there!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Friday, 6 February 2015

Also in the News

News bulletins teach us many things
Oddities and economic swings
It's “turn off mobile phones” they say
And “Stop female mutilation!” day!

No, I'm not joking – check it out
This poet knows what she's about
These items “also in the news”
Give rise to many different views.

The Smart phone's anchored in our lives
In touch 24/7 guys!
But is this trend a healthy one?
At times I wish phones were struck dumb!

And why should young girls far away
Suffer this indignity today?
The Greek bank crisis leaves me cold
We humans have been oversold!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Day 6th February

November 2015 - Nigeria has now banned FGM.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

An Interrupted Bus Ride

“F” for Feb and “F” for frost
On the city outskirts I am lost
The cobbled street is hid from view
Another wave of snow's blown through.

I'd stay at home, as warm as toast
Because I'm luckier than most
The morning rush hour's not for me
But today in town I have to be.

On the bus an angry woman cries
“Do hurry, I'll be late!” and tries
To egg the driver on, but he
Caught in the traffic, cannot see

What he can do; the sirens blare
An ambulance, from who knows where,
Speeds past; the woman looks resigned
The delay is justified – this time!

The bus moves on; it's warm inside
In all it's quite a pleasant ride
We reach the metro – all alight
Snugly wrapped up, gloves on tight.

But the chilly wind is quite a shock
We run to keep warm, like as not
No wonder animals have fur
We humans shiver and say “Brrrr!”

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A Different Set of Values

Office hours are not for all
Weekly rush hours can appall;
The stress, the tedium of routine
Make being self-employed a dream.

Freelance is great when motivated
But financial gain is overstated!
When working - all is hunky dory
But a silent 'phone's another story.

Those who hack it, have selected
To meet new people, stay connected.
Each day presents a brand new slate
You never know what's on your plate!

This “appetite” for pastures new
Is sharply whetted and stays true.
Curiosity and an eagle eye
Mean life has riches cash can't buy!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Sunday, 1 February 2015

A Surprise at Dawn

It is early morning start of Feb
I scramble out of my warm bed
Keen the calendar to turn
A new month – lots more things to learn.

It's rather quiet – I peek outside
The road is decked out like a bride
In pristine white as heavy snow
Imparts to my small street a glow.

The eerie street lamps overhead
Light up one person's silent tread
One set of footprints mar the scene
What an early bird that must have been!

Snug inside, I make some tea
And marvel at the scene I see
Winter brings us many woes
All forgotten when it snows!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015