Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Missing Car

This is how it was told to me
A dear friend going on the spree
Went down to the basement floor
And put her key in garage door.

Shock! Horror! Blood froze in her veins
Her belovèd car, its silver strains
Which she so loved to pat and stroke
Was gone - quite vanished - up in smoke!

A mystery - a theft or worse
What, she thought, should she do first?
The police of course must be informed
But to calm her nerves, she quickly stormed -

Into the busy street outside
A few deep breaths, a firm, brisk stride
She needed time to have a think
Fresh air away from kitchen sink.

Where had she seen it last outside?
Some days ago she'd had a ride
With friends - they'd all met in a bar
She remembered it had not been far.

She turned into the very street
Where they had all had chanced to meet
And there, parked neatly on the kerb
Was her very own, sleek silver bird.

Relief washed over troubled brow
The memory came back somehow.
She'd parked the car and then walked home
Leaving it outside, alone.

What luck, no policeman got involved
She mused, she'd got the mystery solved.
Which proves sometimes instead of talk
It's better still to take a walk!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

A Snapshot of Ghent

Bold city of majestic towers
Its belfry proof of civic might
A gigantic bell that tolled the hours
Lively student life at night.

Proud cloth hall in cobbled square,
Flamboyant theatre just close by
Its two-style city hall has flair
An historic pageant meets the eye.

Its ancient port, once source of wealth
Where cloth and grain were weighed and sold
Has much pride in its former self
Its staple hall is really old.

The Count of Flanders here held sway
And castle built, crusader-style
To quell tough rebels in his day
His power was absolute a while.

In long-gone palace, John of Gaunt
Took first breath and did proclaim
His noble origins and flaunt
In England his illustrious name.

Ghent – synonymous with workers' rights
And industrial espionage
Has a chequered history of fights
And power struggles still loom large!

The Scheldt and Lys flow gently past
Butchers' Hall and Rococo home
A whole day walking goes too fast
In the city Horta called his own.

(c) Poet in the woods 2015



The medieval port



John of Gaunt

Sunday, 26 April 2015

A Chagall Perspective

New slate, new year, new resolutions
New problems needing new solutions.
What it will bring we cannot know.
Will our inspiration flow?

I chose this card; it says it all
It's whimsical - so Marc Chagall.
While outlined figures dot the sky
The loving couple (you and I)

In fond embrace seem not amazed
To find themselves on centre stage.
If you look carefully you will see
The Eiffel tower holds a tree.

A flying man by clouds is borne
Does he not hear the donkey's horn?
Is it the moon or bird above the Seine?
Do the lovers dance to violin strain?

What the artist meant by this strange scene
We can but guess. Is it a dream?
"Joy" indeed takes many forms
And on this day my poem spawns!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Written in January 2004

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Vive le Bus!

In the name of progress, Brussels' STIB*
Invests in ever longer buses
And advertises bright and glib
Its solutions for the rush-hour masses.

The scene's familiar, streets jammed tight
By cars - all drivers on their own
While these long buses have to fight
To find a lane in which to roam.

Things get worse in pouring rain
When all commuters swear and cuss
Let the Metro take the strain
It's slick and smoother than the bus.

The stoic Brits with brollies wait
Until the big bus comes in sight
Queuing is their natural state
Soon aboard, they hold on tight.

These bendy buses curve and sway
Car drivers have to move aside
The bus indeed will gets its way
And we will have a lurching ride.

Though many read, play loud CDs
Or gossip on their mobile phone
There are some, like me, who are quite pleased
To be surrounded, not alone.

My mind in neutral, perched up high
I can close my eyes and dream
Safe in the knowledge that STIB's guy
Is coping with the constant stream -

Of traffic urging on ahead
Aiming straight for centre ville
Because he's driving in my stead
Which, in itself, is quite a thrill!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

*STIB - the Brussels Public Transport System

Thursday, 23 April 2015

ANZAC Day

Gallipoli – heart of ANZAC day
Two Empires clash and take away
In casualties and from disease
The lives of youths from overseas.

The Ottomans ally with the Hun
Access to shipping overrun
Constantinople needs must fall;
The new Dominions hear the call.

1915: April 25
A day our memories keep alive
When the allied expedition core
Lands, determined, on this shore.

Against the odds, in dust and heat
Australia and New Zealand keep
An intrepid hold on rough terrain
Their sacrifice was not in vain.

What they achieved will never die
A century on we all stand by
And remember in cold light of dawn
Two brand new nations proudly born.

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

For my Illustrator!

An encounter several years ago
At the SABAM* where artists go;
Where one reaps, another tills
It's fun to share creative skills.

Across a table, glass in hand
I met Heike - quite unplanned
In this multi-culti atmosphere
Whose vibrancy thrives everywhere.

We spoke in French – our common tongue
She's German – I'm the English plum!
In each of us a poignant streak
Bereavement helped our souls to meet.

A shared experience through art
Our loss of loved ones was the spark
That lit our muse and caused us Angst
She sketched her grief - our hearts closed ranks.

My poems - written day by day
Put my raw feelings on display
So on this channel we were wired
And her illustrations were inspired!

Donc, ma présence aujourd'hui s'explique
Dans ce cadre de rêve unique**
Où Heike fête ses cinquante ans
Parmi des Allemands, des Wallons.

I'd write in German if I could
Aber leider ist mein Deutsch nicht gut
Ik zal mijn best doen: here's a hint
«Alles Gute, Geburtstag Kind!»

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

* Belgian Songwriters' and Authors' Association
** Floreffe Abbey, near Namur
Heike Tilde comes from East Germany

A Snapshot of Gouda

Quaint city of a famous cheese
With elegant, pinnacled town hall
Cobbled streets with shady trees
Canals and remnants of town wall.

A host of shops, all brightly lit
With enticing items on display
Watch out for bikes! You might be hit
As they zigzag past and block your way.

Amid the streets that twist and turn
A memorial to Jewish dead
On a quiet corner I discern
The mosque of Gouda straight ahead.

An ancient toll house, now café
Overlooks time-honoured ships
Heavy barges once held sway
Now used these days for tourist trips.

St. Jan's Kerk is the city's pride
The stained glass windows filter light
Across the flagstones deep inside
A dazzling, 500 year old sight.

Repairs are underway within
Workmen toil to renovate
This jewel of Gothic art; the din
Disturbs the silence at its heart.

The springtime sun on old facades
Focuses on vistas new
Behind old gateways neat courtyards
A living postcard to walk through!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Monday, 20 April 2015

Sleeping Beauty

The white horse, always in my sight
Still sports a winter blanket, tight-
Wrapped around his noble frame
Were I outside, I'd do the same.

The moving hand has changed the hour
The calendar says April shower
But all the buds stay tightly closed.
Are we really in the throes -

Of Spring? I doubt it; global warming
Melts the ice cap, Gulf Stream turning.
Cornwall's palm trees feel the pinch
The Artic winds don't budge an inch.

And when the timid sun appears
The clouds soon bring the skies to tears.
The change is swift, we have to run
To car or shop door, coat undone.

O, seedlings, nestling in the dark
When will you rise to meet the lark
And burgeon on the Lenten sward
Tulips, daffodils in accord?

Snowdrops lift their pallid heads
And winter aconite still spreads
Its golden globes along the bank
In sodden clumps, all else is dank.

The knotweed, import from Japan,
Which grows apace, tall as a man,
By April should be shoulder high
And yet is dormant. Why, oh, why?

As for the nettles, first to grow
In woodland, they have yet to show.
It is as if a spell were cast.
Prince! Kiss this sleeping beauty - fast!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Thursday, 16 April 2015

A Loving Link

Mums are special, life's sweet treasure
Shared memories more than you can measure
Warm words and thoughts, a caring hand
A link just you can understand.

Then the image breaks and falls apart
And a hole burns slowly in your heart
No words can hope to bridge love's flow
Life is movement, on we go.

It's as if she's just gone through a door
Her footsteps echo on the floor
Your mind can clearly see her face
As she holds you in a warm embrace…

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

(Written for a dear friend)

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

At Stonemanor!

In a rural setting can be found
Nestling in the fields around
A lure for Brits who flock this way
A 'Tesco-Waitrose' hideaway!

Stonemanor opened long ago
In no time, many in the know
Could stock up with their favourite brands
Bought out weekly in huge vans.

Imagine therefore the delight
in Everberg on Thursday night
When crowds descend, bent on a spree
In search of goodies for their tea!

Neighbours chat as they go past
And caddies fill up very fast
Indulgence and nostalgia play
A big role in this take away.

Digestive biscuits, pork pies, tea
Even an English pharmacy
Baked beans, scones and custard creams
And all your favourite magazines.

Caution to the winds is thrown
Upstairs more items 'home from home'
Browsing – the source of many thrills
Hark, the ringing of the tills!

Poet in the woods 2015



Address: Stonemanor: Steenhofstraat 28, 3078 Everberg.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Thomas - Caught in the Act!

No news of Thomas for a while
I miss my nephew's cheeky smile
He crawls with ease on kitchen floor
And opens cupboards to explore.

I recall my brother at that age
At 15 months the “touch all” stage
We all looked out and kept eyes peeled
As plugs and sockets were revealed.

He's curious, this mini man
To foray any way he can
His latest exploit is a thrill
Let's make the sink bin contents spill.

But Mummy sees what he's about
A camera click and he's found out!
No sense of guilt upon his face
That cheeky smile remains in place!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015


Sunday, 12 April 2015

Cook and Book

Rural Woluwe's long gone
Though the mill and river linger on
In the Seventies a shopping mall
Sprung up as sign of urban sprawl.

You find it just across the street
With a massive terrace where friends meet
The building's modern – on a curve
It's busy lunchtimes when they serve

A vast array of drinks and eats
In the summer they run out of seats!
Inside we step to have a look
At the magic realm of “Cook and Book”.

On all sides shelves of books displayed
In reading terms – Aladdin's cave
From floor to ceiling neatly stacked
Time to browse after a snack!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Image: "Savoir" by Annie Jungers



Place du Temps Libre 1, 1200 Woluwe Saint Lambert, Brussels


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Money Matters

What does money really mean to you?
Does it colour everything you do?
Does it represent security
Power, fun or liberty?

Does money make the world go round?
To me it has a hollow sound
It cannot hug, or share a joke
It's not a bath in which we soak

Washing all our cares away;
It makes our good intentions stray
Investments cause us untold stress
The money markets give us less

So we gamble on a good return
And often watch our savings burn
On “Get rich quick” schemes on a hunch
There's no such thing as a free lunch!

Most human actions aren't defined
In financial terms, I find
But if we live within our means
Time cannot limit all our dreams!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015



Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A Flight of Fantasy

I was at the Book Fair yesterday
Where this card for March was on display
Showing Pegasus with outspread wings
Capable of so many things.

Life’s like that – one long magic ride
With stars and storms on every side
Through mist and clouds we sometimes go
And cannot see the earth below.

Even through the darkest night
We keep the faith and hold on tight
God’s wings keep us safe, protected
So none of us will be neglected.

Captured with an artist’s skill,
This magic stallion haunts me still
Buoyed up with hope, my spirit soars
Beyond the reach of Satan’s claws!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

(written at Brussels Book Fair - March 2013)

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The Spring Tide

Easter, for those whose means afford
Means a mini-break, a trip abroad
I'm impressed how my friends get around
To locations with a magic sound.

Like Honfleur, fabled Prague, Deauville
In search of sun or culture thrill
An escapade that's carefully planned
Three stolen days in foreign land.

Though days are chill, the sun now shines
Spring is late but showing signs
Of coming to the fore at last
As Brussels tourists hurry past

Down cobbled streets with chocolate wares
The Grand'place fills with foreign stares
Ah, people love a change of scene
As Europe wakes up, dons spring green!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015


Mystery Moisture

It's not just in Brussels I am sure
Where puddles form in the décor
In corners or splashed down stone steps
A liquid, undefined, collects.

At all times of the day and night
One must tread carefully or one might
Dip inadvertently one's toe
In a rivulet of doubtful flow.

The hordes of tourists may observe
These tiny pools along the kerb
Even when the sun is high
And the forecast remains dry.

An acridity that makes you cough
As sometimes tell-tale odours waft ...
I wonder if you get my meaning
Its presence can be most revealing!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Easter - 2005

Easter greets us bearing flowers
And those long-awaited showers
The joyful ring of children's bikes
The absence of a voice - dear Mike's.

The pilgrims all amass in Rome
Where Pope Jean-Paul cannot intone
His Easter blessing - he's too ill
But hangs on with an iron will.

Chocolate, boiled eggs, daffodils
Road works start - I hear the drills;
School is out, the roads clog fast
This year, so different from the past -

Since all our plans have gone awry -
Finds me often wont to cry
But I must put on a brave face
And lay the table out with lace.

Since at my invite come this day
Those who shared my wedding day.
Ten years ago in August heat
Their friendship keeps my memories sweet...

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

A sample poem from my book "A Turn in the Road"

Friday, 3 April 2015

Homage to Martin Luther King

On this day in 1968
Occurred a speech in Southern State
So poignant, touching and profound
That quotations of it can be found

On TV clips and in our hearts;
The speaker with inspired words starts
A train of thought that can't be stopped:
“I've been to the mountain top”.

It's a time of civil rights unrest,
Where one voice towers above the rest
I speak of Martin Luther King
Whose memory will never dim.

To the Blacks he gave a voice
With his encouragement a choice
The lamp of hope was lit and burned
This charismatic leader yearned

For a peaceful, fairer, new world order
America with no racial border
A moment in history for next day
He was shot by James Earl Ray.

But once set alight, the flame
Of freedom inspired by his name
Burned brightly amid all the drama
And 'I have a dream' leads to Obama!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Shot in Memphis on 3rd April, 1968


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Boxing Clever

He fends off all the body blows
A right hook hits him on the nose
It's not just stars he sees, but sky
The fight's no time to wonder why.

That last punch hit like granite stone
He's on the mat, out cold, alone
The Ring's a noisy, hostile place
Where no one has a friendly face.

And those who watch must be queer fish
With violence their only wish
Would he were many miles away
This boxing lark just does not pay!

For all his pains, a prize black eye
A punchline in his personal sky.

(c) Poet in the woods 2015