Monday, 30 March 2015

Getting the Wind Up!

Wind cannot be seen – just heard
When springtime fury is released
In deepest night its wrath is stirred
Its pent-up rage disturbs the peace.

The crack of branches, whipped up gale
Scurries of detritus strewn
Present each household's sorry trail
The bin men cannot come too soon!

Uprooted trees – par for the course
Power lines are down again
Spellbound by Mother Nature's force
We're helpless in torrential rain.

Although much progress has been made
And computers like to think they're boss
Swirling winds make us afraid
Man's hubris takes another toss!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Striking Out!

Don't you believe it – March is cold
Spring this year is oversold!
The sky is blue above the grey
But the clouds keep all the heat away.

Life must improve, for this weekend
The clocks edged forward – dark nights blend
One hour of sleep has now gone west
We're tired on Monday – we need rest!

It doesn't help that there's a strike;
For enthusiasts it's “On your Bike!”
But the chill persists despite sun gain
And Monday dawns in pouring rain.

For the lucky ones some bus routes run
While others, dripping wet, look glum
Some trams and buses pass - jam-packed
Strike-friendly? Brussels has the knack!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Saturday, 28 March 2015


Imagine – on a rainy day
With winds that gust and blow away
In a wild landscape – La Dordogne
A young man and dog come upon

An uprooted tree which now reveals
A rock-strewn passage which appeals
To the dog who disappears below
Deep in the earth where rivers flow.

His owner hears his piteous cries
The rescue leads to a surprise
A torch beam highlights a strange show
Wall paintings crafted long ago.

Bison and black bulls running free
An ancient artist's gallery
It's 1940 – there's a War
But people queue up to explore...

The scientists are all agreed
The paintings chalked up on this screed
Are exceptional since they show
Man's talent 20,000 years ago.

Soon overwhelmed by tourists' breath
The paintings suffer a slow death
But re-creations can be seen
And our minds can live again the dream.

Found by a dog on one dark night
World heritage UNESCO site
Proof of Man's creative fire
The caves at Lascaux still inspire.

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Exhibition at the 50aire History Museum, Brussels

Friday, 27 March 2015

Mind - How You Go!

The human being is complex;
The brain computes what happens next
Logic and emotions fight
For supremacy – but which is right?

Rules and regulations play
A leading role - but every day
There are those whose minds are not attuned
And whose actions can confound and wound.

We do not always bear in mind
How depressive states can make us blind
To the common good in daily tasks;
How 'normal' behaviour often masks

A host of anguished thoughts within;
'Stress' with 'Burn out' its close twin
In our 24/7 world erode
Our minds and lead to overload.

I'm no expert, yet I think
There are many people 'on the brink'
The signs are subtle but they're there
Then the pressure gets too much to bear...

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Thursday, 26 March 2015

At Seynes-les-Alpes

At 3000 metres the snow melts
When an Airbus plummets in the Alps
Eight minutes alter many lives
A sudden crash – no one survives...

Seen from a helicopter – gloom
Debris lies scattered in a coombe
Recovered black box: analysed
Inconclusive findings are surmised.

Low oxygen, no Mayday call
An inexplicable free fall
How we take for granted airline travel
But a glitch can still our plans unravel.

For the waiting families plunged in shock
A desire to turn back Tuesday's clock...
What happened? Many countries grieve
Was the Ace of Spades up someone's sleeve?

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

GERMAN WINGS Flight 9525 crashes on 24th March - 150 dead...

Stopover in Bahrain

From Singapore to Middle East
This weary traveller gets more creased
The jumbo plane lands in Bahrain
Its wings are empty - "oil's" the game.

And we are herded like lost sheep
To Duty Free - devoid of sleep.
Swatch watches, perfumes, Arab smiles
But few are ensnared by their wiles.

Instead we leave at half past two
And sandy kingdoms fade from view.
A cockpit tour helps pass the time
Between in-flight meals served with wine!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Monday, 23 March 2015

Warming Up!

I cannot quite be sure of course
But something in the air,
A slightly warmer wind perhaps
Makes Hope conquer Despair.

Could it be that this cold freeze
That’s put our lives on hold
Has got the message it must go
Warm days chase out the cold?

Still no leaves but something stirs
The birds, perched high, now sing
There are ripples on the nearby lake
On the 21st – it’s spring!

It’s all linked to the Equinox
As the days get longer
Winter darkness yields to light
The sun’s rays now are stronger.

I dare to leave my gloves at home
My winter coat’s undone
No hat or scarf as I go out
To greet the springtime sun!

The rising sap, ah yes, young love
There were people in the park
As I passed by mid afternoon
I sensed a kindled spark.

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Sunday, 22 March 2015


The humble spud is Belgium's joy
“Les frites” entice the hoi polloi
To the fritkot - hallmark of delight
Where hungry queues line up each night.

No recession for this staple food
Guaranteed to cheer the dullest mood
Soldiers in the First World War
Were cheered by “fries” and asked for more!

This modest dish by all accounts
With mayonnaise in large amounts,
Proclaims its pedigree with pride;
To resist is hopeless - we've all tried!

Nearly 3,000 people are employed
And 18 firms are overjoyed
At the potato's rising rate of sales;
The good ship “Spud” will brave all gales!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Three's a Crowd?

There are days when news can be surprising
Impossible to guess on rising
And yesterday was one of those
Which proves in life one never knows.

A dear friend rang me, thrilled to say
Her new grandson was born today
But before I could congratulate
She dropped a bombshell on my plate.

The day before, another son
With news of baby girl had rung;
This was not all, as far away
Her third son telephoned to say

He too had more good news to share
Another girl – which makes the pair!
Already grand-mama of two
Three wee arrivals all brand new

Have caused my friend's warm heart to leap
And robbed her of her beauty sleep!
I love great moments such as these
And don't all good things come in threes?

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Friday, 20 March 2015

An Eclipse through History's Lens

Imagine back in Ancient Times
Our ancestors had simpler minds
Observing the planets passing by
In the immense Egyptian sky.

The Sun God Ra on chariot raced
From dawn to dusk on Heaven's face
Infallible, vibrant and revered
So an eclipse was greatly feared.

Darkness at noon, all birdsong dies
An eerie cloak blots out the skies
Beast and human uncomprehending
Thought perhaps the world was ending.

Then gradually the light returned
The sun's rays hit the sand and burned
The relief was palpable and real...
But today we know it's no big deal!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

March 20th, 2015

Eclipse 2017 - over the Atlantic Ocean

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Explaining Murphy's Law!

At this time of year an Irish theme
Springs to mind, deep emerald green;
The four-leaved clover is a token
Of St. Patrick we have spoken.

What of James Joyce and Seamus Heaney
Powerful authors and both “greeny”
And celebrated Oscar Wilde
A brilliant writer, but defiled?

Who tops this modest list of mine?
Your friends have met him, so have mine
He spans the centuries unscathed
His Law survives beyond the grave!

Old Murphy realised long ago
How human plans are flawed and slow
No air-tight project can we spawn
But is foiled by Murphy's Leprechaun!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

For a Big Birthday!

Of course it’s fun to celebrate
And share with friends a luscious cake
But before the day, it doesn’t count
And anyway the real amount

Of years you have survived intact
Is just a number, a plain fact.
Good health is really that one thing
We hope the birthday fée will bring.

As long as you can beat that drum
And with your daughter and her Mum
Enjoy life, work a bit, stay real
Then growing old is no big deal!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Ides of March

“Beware the Ides of March!” Calpurnia said
As Caesar rolled out of their bed,
But alas - it was to no avail;
The assassins stabbed and left a trail
Of blood in 44 BC
That marks our collective memory.

And on this day five years ago
Civil unrest caused blood to flow
In Syria in the Middle East;
Again the vultures had a feast.
What a curious coincidence
Uprisings, violence intense.

Leaders in ancient times and now
Have a love of power that won't allow
An alternative or different view;
So Roman oligarchs took a stand
Fear in Syria grips the land...
No one likes oppressive rule;
Eruption makes way for renewal!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Burn Out!

Sitting in the Waiting Room today
Frittering some time away
I chanced upon a magazine
With psychology as its theme.

An article on “stress at work”:
The constant pressure which can hurt
And twist our nerves until they snap
As home and office overlap.

Now a bona fide new disease,
“Burn out” can bring us to our knees
Our concentration is shot through;
The work load piles up – what's to do?

Why is this? What is this new threat?
Should we blame the Internet?
Like doctors we're on constant call;
We push an ever greater ball

Of tasks and duties never-ending
There's always something that is trending
We live on coffee at our desk
Lunch is rushed – a snack at best.

We glance at Smart phones on the sly
And miss the sapphire blue spring sky...
Computers need no time off – true
But we are humans – and we DO!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Friday, 13 March 2015

A Guess-me Riddle!

My first's in Sonnet but not in Rhyme
My second's a drink the Brits opine
My third's the plural sound of "is"
My fourth's the bed where horses zizz!
My fifth is found in Golfer's game
My sixth sounds rude when written plain…
My seventh in French is wet indeed
My eighth appears in Write and Read.
My ninth's a River and a name

My tenth both tree and sheep explain.

My eleventh begins the alphabet
My twelfth can even be a neck!
My thirteenth's easy - just a vowel
My last, no turkey, is a fowl.

My whole - where a peaceful river flows
And source of England's greatest prose!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Thursday, 12 March 2015

A New Beginning

Sweet February bids farewell
With blue skies braving winter’s chill
The birds swoop gaily overhead
Their chatter wakes us from our bed.

The buds are out there, very small
But nature’s workings still enthrall
As spring sap will begin to rise
And set in motion for our eyes -

Life’s renewal on the sward
Tiny flowers are spring’s reward
A sign that life begins again
And blessings come from gentle rain.

Out of sight, yet not unseen
Armies of leaves in bright spring green
With emerald flags the trees invade
Like four-star generals on parade.

I marvel at this brand new start
Each year it brings hope to my heart
Man has created many things
But the Oscar must be Spring’s!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Greening of Brussels!

Observe what's happening today
The sun puts on a proud display
Do I detect a bud or two?
The sap is rising, thrusting through

Those barren branches; soon new leaves
Will wear what Henry* called “Green Sleeves”
Isn't Nature wonderful – we thrive
As the growing season comes alive.

Think new potatoes and spring greens
Baby carrots, runner beans
Which burgeon in the springtime rain
Let's see the bluebell wood** again!

These changes happen one by one
Lawns by crocus overrun
Potted bulbs on windowsills
Burst forth and greet us – nature thrills!

* King Henry VIII
** Hallerbos - Belgium

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Slip-sliding into Spring

There are subtle changes all around
In the woods the songs of birds resound
It's warmer as the sun gets stronger
And – happiness! – the days get longer.

I leave my gloves and scarf at home
But wear my hat – I hate “windblown”
Long hidden neighbours venture out
To gossip and spring clean no doubt!

I leave the house in daylight now
The sky's deep blue and cloudless – wow!
Some days it rains but should I fret?
I can feel a new Spring in my step!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Monday, 9 March 2015

Abbaye de la Cambre

It started back in 1201
When Brussels scarcely had begun
Its famous wool trade – no cloth hall
Just a scattered hamlet, farms withal.

Twelve noble ladies long ago
A convent formed where rivers flow
By a quiet settlement in a dell
Surrounded now by traffic hell.

That major road, Louise by name,
Gateway to the Wood, can claim
A 19th century pedigree;
Motorists pass and fail to see

Beyond the balustrades this site
With tall spired church and buildings white.
It remains to most a hidden gem
A pocket of history pro tem.

On Sundays, when the weather's fine,
What better place to pass the time
Than on this once most sacred spot
Down steep stone steps to garden plot!

The noble ladies are no more;
Instead small children can explore
The archways and the cobbled paths
While parents look on, wearing scarves...

In graceful grounds, landscaped and neat,
Where once resounded army feet
An art school called “La Cambre” resides
And Nat. Geo. Institute besides.

At every turn a vista new
This little marvel, hid from view
Has much about it to admire
Its tranquillity can still inspire!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Women's Day - 8th March

It's Women's Day! Should we rejoice?
Are the roles we play our choice?
Unequal salaries still irk
That damned glass ceiling sure can hurt!

But women in many ways enjoy
Better conditions in employ.
Maternity leave and good child care
Can make our lot a tad more fair.

In the West (above all in the States)
Girls wear the trousers and it grates
On males - who feel their power usurped
Men feel belittled and inert!

The Battle of the Sexes rages on
Both sides lament, feel “put upon”
But Ladies, if we get full powers
Will men still want to give us flowers?

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Saturday, 7 March 2015

A Personal Bake-Off

The smell of baking is a joy!
An untidy kitchen can't destroy
The sensation of a fast heart rate
When you weigh ingredients for a cake.

Preparation is the key
Better keep close to the recipe
And weigh out butter, sugar, flour
Wrong proportions can prove dire!

I hope I have that magic touch
Though the gooey mix may not look much
I smooth it gently in the tin
And the oven's warm when it goes in.

The cleaning up may take a while
But as it cooks you have to smile
People so love cakes home made
I wonder – will mine make the grade?

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Friday, 6 March 2015

A Reminder

What a difference when the sun’s on call
There are dancing patterns on my wall
The bare twigs beckon, standing tall
I watch the show
The light enhances hairline cracks
The dust around the pots in stacks
Assorted tools, last year’s knick knacks
Which I should stow.

But my good intentions let me down
The disorder that the sun has found
Are enough to cause my brow to frown,
Where’s my esteem?
The internet and World Wide Web
The novels read when I’m abed
All must be put aside – instead
Time to spring clean!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

As March begins ...

Four minutes extra every day
Don't seem to take the chill away;
Admittedly the sky is blue
In patches, where the sun shines through.

But clouds are pregnant with much rain
Which bursts forth, flooding every drain
There are roadworks in the street below
Where rumbling lorries come and go.

It's been this way for many weeks
As ancient sewers have sprung leaks
The street is quaint when all goes well
But reflects right now a muddy Hell!

March starts with taxis all on strike
Is a monopoly their right?
Each day's a challenge, don't you know!
Dressed warmly, I go with the flow...

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

S.A.D. Times

When the weather's cold, my thoughts are too
A kind of lethargy flows through
My “get up and go” just ebbs away
It's a case of “cold rain stops all play”.

No matter what I ought to do,
A mental brake stops actions new
The dust piles up, the in-tray fills
With important documents and bills.

Those windows could do with a clean
I should polish my computer screen
Two Christmas novels by my bed
Glare at me sadly - both unread.

I tell myself to “get a grip”
Life's worth living – go for it!
But at the end of each cold day
My energy has seeped away.

Lack of sun and cold dark days
Affect us in so many ways
Have I S.A.D - a new disease
Which causes all our “umph” to freeze?

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

S.A.D. = Seasonal Affective Disorder

Monday, 2 March 2015

Getting Things Done!

There are days of fun and days of grind
Mustn't let the admin get behind
Documents must be completed
Bins emptied, floors cleaned, birthdays greeted.

So it seems to me – and I could be wrong -
That life's a struggle all along
With tiny highlights now and then
To cheer us up; we must stay Zen!

How green's the grass on t'other side?
Does my neighbour have a smoother ride?
So it's “Action Stations!” for today
As I file, respond or clear away.

A sense of achievement brings a glow
That a lazy person cannot know
All done! Off to the letter box
Feeling happy – my life rocks!

(c) Poet in the Woods 2015

A Comforting Thought

It's March and still those leaden skies
Hide the sunlight from our eyes
Brittle branches, spiky, stark
And winds to chill the stoutest heart.

I look for buds or tiny leaves
But winter’s hanging on and grieves
Much longer than in years gone past
Our coats, well worn, are buttoned fast.

This year perhaps for the first time
All my scarves show signs of grime
As buffeted by snow and sleet
Frayed edges flutter in the street.

Caps, berets, hoods or bobble hats
Capes, woollen coats or padded Macs
All hide pinched faces, tinged with blue
Reflecting what we’re going through.

Remember mittens? Well, they’re back
Some shopkeepers have the knack
Of working indoors woollen clad
As they pack your veggies in a bag.

Spring fashions? No one wants to buy
Easter bonnets – stacked up high
Find no takers - wind’s too strong
A gust and they’d be bowled along -

The dirty street and like as not
Tumble into muddy spot.
But to cheer us up in this cold spell
Hot Belgian chocolate does sell well!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015