Monday, 29 June 2015

The Pedestrianization of Brussels!

What would Brussels be without its quirks?
And yet, in its strange way, it works
Though road drills clog the city streets;
Who thinks the traffic jam retreats

In July and August in the sun?
That's when resurfacing is done!
Warm days bring out those traffic cones
And the harassed driver moans!

This year, however, a surprise
Down town is pedestrianized!
As the Stock Exchange to De Brouckère
Ceases to be a thoroughfare...

Unsuspecting drivers pulled up short
With a heatwave looming, they are fraught
How can they go from A to B?
A one-hour journey now takes three!

The plan, on paper, seemed a wheeze
Who dreams up ideas like these?
For tourists keen to take a stroll
It's a plus, they're on a roll.

But how can businesses now cope
With deliveries - pray and hope?
For eight months there'll be no reprieve;
No bus fumes either - we can breathe!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

In the European District

Square de Meeûs in the sun
By office workers overrun
Statesmen, carved in stone, stare blind
Who can call their names to mind?

Sprawled on the grass in ones and twos,
Lunch time chatter, sandwich queues
Colourful workforce on display
While buses pass by either way...

Commission buildings, glass and steel;
And a 1930s high rise feel,
Private mansions – bureaux all
Luxembourg station – entrance hall

To mammoth complexes which spread
Along the Maelbeek river bed
Once site of paper mills and beer
Local farms and fields lay here.

But the Parliament has changed all that
Now hive of work for Eurocrat
The elegance of yesteryear
Is a fading memory, I fear!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Square de Meeûs: Count Ferdinand de Meeûs (1798-1861) was a Belgian Banker and Jurist...

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Terror in Tunisia!

Shock! Horror! on Tunisian Beach
Lone marksman, lightly clad
His weapon hidden, within reach
Tourism now gone bad!

Innocents with pallid hue
Despite the summer rays
Lie out on sunbeds, as you do
Enjoying halcyon days.

Strong source of income here in Sousse
Hotels with pools await
Then comes a gunman - fast and loose
Many Britons meet their fate.

A mad rush from the strand ensues
Scattered tourists hide nearby
Horrific scenes for camera crews
The dead in scuffed-up sand now lie...

Once paradise, now real-life hell
Disruption, panic – exodus
What prompts this mindset? Who can tell ...
It's them today; tomorrow – us?

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Terrorist attack: 26th June, 2015

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Thomas - the Charm Offensive

A cheeky smile and sapphire eyes
Thomas looks up in surprise
He's learning fast, he stares ahead
But can his playful thoughts be read?

Mummy bakes a batch of cakes
It isn't long before he makes
A bee-line for this tea-time treat
Thomas gets there on two feet!

Being mobile means: watch out!
Small objects can't be left about
Hand and eye coordination
Not yet perfect – so, frustration.

But motivation works big time
When Thomas turns to his first crime
Stealing a cookie is the task
Must reach the kitchen table – fast!

The cooling rack in full display
Please Mummy, turn your head away
His mind is sharp – it's such a thrill
Can I grab one? Yes, I will!

Caught red-handed, a fair cop!
He nibbles slowly, it's still hot
But putting on a beaming smile
He goes on eating – that is style!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Curse of the White Van

It would appear to be a fact of life
Designed to cause the driver strife
That when a manoeuvre is at stake
A white van follows in your wake.

The van may threaten and loom large
But even small ones make the charge
In fact, their instinct to annoy
Surpasses that of naughty boy.

The driver glares ahead, white-lipped
As into reverse the gear is slipped
The rear view mirror tells him true
This is an unwise thing to do.

From nowhere speeds a bright white van
To hang on his tail, as no one can
Inbued with zeal beyond the norm
A vigilante force is born!

Vans work together, in a fleet
On mountain road or city street
There's no escape (I know, I've tried)
By looking carefully, as I drive -

For as I reach the ideal spot
To do a "U" turn, park, or stop
Some signal, which I cannot see
Goes off - and they are after me!

I'm determined not to lose my cool
Today I drive the kids to school
I make my turn, but stay serene
The van behind says "Go!" - it's green!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Friday, 19 June 2015

Look Upwards - Chemtrails!

Have you observed the skies of late?
Against a peerless blue
Those thick white lines that planes create
And obliterate our view?

Be warned! These are not normal jet exhaust
From tourist-bearing charter
But some new plan is now in force
Using neither fuel or water.

Examine closely as they pass
These white bands spread their wings
They form wide billows very fast
Who's organising things?

Wikipedia spreads the word around
Rumours fly from coast to coast …
Do nano particles float down ...
Or is this just a hoax?

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Repeating History?

Since time began Man's gone to war
His desire to conquer and explore
New boundaries and rich foreign lands
Meant the drawing up of battle plans.

Through forced marches and harsh discipline
Well-led warriors would win
New tracts of land and take control;
Then once again the dice would roll...

Old enemies later might turn friends
For economic reasons, make amends
But hiding in the wings lay War
Peace often died upon the floor.

Too many battles through the ages
Flip through history's blood-stained pages
Charismatic leaders “with a mission”
Wreaked havoc with wars of attrition.

Peace advocates are pushed aside
We're left to mourn those who have died
There's always a new Waterloo;
Why do we do this? I ask you!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Waterloo - 1815!

Suburb of greater Brussels now,
Mecca of tourists keen to see
The battleground and learn just how
This farmland site made history.

A confrontation closely fought
To quell Napoleonic pride
So many bright young lives cut short;
Countless horses also died.

A late start in a boggy plain
Cavalry charges, thrust, riposte
Much cannon fire to kill and maim
I repeat - so many lives were lost.

Officers fell in the mire
Farms defended and retaken
For both sides the results were dire
Though Wellington remained unshaken.

Germans, Belgians, English, Dutch,
Fought bravely – then the Prussians came
For the Old Guard this proved just too much
A massacre – more troops were slain.

The map of Europe is redrawn
Blücher and Wellington depart
Victorious in a sadder dawn
But living still is Bonaparte!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Monday, 15 June 2015

Thomas - Taking Steps!

He totters, but he makes the grade
He takes two steps, quite unafraid
Yes, Thomas now is on the move!
Being mobile's fun - as time will prove.

His brain clicks in, he works it out
Instead of flinging bricks about
He concentrates; it takes a while
Eureka! They're stacked in a pile!

He's discovered his creative force
His ship sets out on a new course
It's amazing how his mind connects
Granny looks on – most impressed!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Thomas at 18 months

1815 - The Duchess of Richmond's Ball

On the eve of “Quatre-Bras”, mid June
In Rue de la Blanchisserie
Came the glitterati of the time
The Duke of Wellington to see.

Present at Duchess Charlotte's ball
Were Princes, Dukes and fighting men
Though as guest of honour, proud and tall,
Wellesley turned up after ten.

Picture, as it draws late, the scene
The Scots Guards dancing, unaware
What could this late arrival mean?
A rain-soaked soldier on the stair...

The officers freeze on the spot
The music fades away and dies
Napoleon's caught them on the hop
He's crossed the border – a surprise!

A map is quickly brought, perused
Quick consultation, battle plan
The assembly stunned by this stark news;
The game's afoot, thinks every man.

The ladies sense the change of mood
Farewells for many are Adieu!
But Bonaparte must be pursued
So thousands die at Waterloo...

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

15th June, 1815

Friday, 12 June 2015

Encapsulating June

It's said that good things come in threes
Like waves upon a shore
Yesterday was one of these
Three postcards through my door!

So the holiday season has begun
Though students are revising
Stress-ridden almost every one
It's crunch time – not surprising!

The weather as we reach mid year
For once is warm and dry
But it's muggy, from which I infer
A thunderstorm nearby.

This month three famous men have died:
Iraq's Tariq Aziz
Christopher Lee, who's mourned world wide
And James Last – who just is!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Christopher Lee as Count Dracula

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Jurassic World!

A midweek special – on the spree
The cinema it has to be
While others drink at street cafés
I put the world on hold today.

Who recalls Jurassic Park -
An action-packed primeval lark?
Special effects on a wide screen
A darkened room, a piercing scream

As a dinosaur, long thought extinct
Makes unsuspecting tourists blink
Pandemonium breaks out, people flee
Is it credible what we see?

Well, Spielberg's tried it once again
The re-jigged formula's a strain
Huge eggs crack, black claws escape
Meddling with DNA can make

A weird and scary new creation;
To train it is a huge temptation
Could it be harnessed, sent to fight?
We somehow almost feel it might...

The film's a romp, fear mixed with thrill
Hollywood goes for overkill;
With Charlie, Echo, Delta, Blue
Claire and the ranger see it through!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Monday, 8 June 2015

The Viking Spirit

On this day, June the 8th, they came
The date was 793
Every schoolchild knows their name
Blonde invaders from the sea.

In Lindisfarne they put ashore
On distant, windswept coast
They slaughtered all the monks they saw
Shattering Holy Host.

Soon raids were frequent; their long boats
With dragon-headed prow
Brought warriors keen on cutting throats;
Cries of rape and pillage now.

They destroyed but brought their culture too
Their “Jarvik” is now York
Towns with “by” and “ton” accrue
“Geordie” is Danish talk...

A threat for several hundred years
Far from their icy fjords,
Vikings conjured up deep fears
In the homes of Saxon lords.

Scandinavia's prosperous these days
Regulations rule, not raids
But to “go berserk” is still a phrase
That recalls those violent ways.

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Sunday, 7 June 2015

A Snapshot of Aachen

Charlemagne's city – in full sun
Ancient Dom with stained glass new
Cafés over cobbles run
Luscious pastries in full view.

Cyclists, soldiers, Zimmer frames,
Ice-cream toting tourist horde
On all sides solid, German dames
Sit in shade, o'er coffee poured.

Asparagus peeled while you wait
Strawberry punnets piled up high
Excited guttural debate
As local shoppers wander by.

Modern shops down winding street,
Fashion in the heat sells well
Plaque for Granus tower discreet
Bronze figurines round city well.

Majestic town hall, grey as slate
Near Holy Roman Emperor's seat
Impressive statue, gold, ornate
Backcloth to lively bridal suite...

It's been a spa since Roman times
In history books we know it well
As a famous treaty here was signed
When it called itself Aix-la-Chapelle.

(c) Poet in the Woods 2015

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Predictions for June!

We're promised warmth and lots of sun
I gaze up skywards, it looks rum
Those clouds are pregnant with much rain
Wisteria petals block the drain …

Hot summers are not Belgium's thing
Our weather patterns mostly bring
Cloud cover which homes in and stays
Broken by a muggy haze.

And should by chance a warm front come
Keep calm – don't set off at a run
For Ardennes campsite or North Sea
A storm is imminent – you'll see!

The shops in Rue Neuve do brisk sales
Sundresses vanish from the rails
The Belgians put on a brave face
But travel to a warmer place!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Only Connect!

It's always good to spread one's wings;
At “meet-ups” one learns many things
Chance encounters - no man's land
New names, new faces - all unplanned.

It can be awkward at the start
As lots of nations now take part
But many languages are spoken
So nervous ice is quickly broken.

Job seekers, émigrés brand new
And lonely singles form a queue
For coffee or a cup of tea
And wonder who else there will be ...

We've all got gifts which we can share
Experiences both rich and rare
It's like a stock exchange; we trade
Knowledge - not money I'm afraid!

But making links is where it's at
Here people come to have a chat
It's question time – no holds are barred
Would you like my business card?

Social networks such as these
Work in varying degrees
For just two hours once a week
It pays to come along and speak!

Brussels is so proud to be
A cultural mix - a pot pourri
Whether European or U.S.
All go away with more not less!

(c) Poet in the woods 2015