Friday, 29 April 2016

A Word on Roaming Fees!

Soon roaming fees will be no more
An end to mobile bills that soar
With conversations cut off short
By nervous speakers who are caught

Between the need to chat and share
And payments - leaving cupboard bare!
With internet it's hard to know
The exact route of our money flow.

Hard earned, we fight to keep afloat
While out there “somewhere”, Fat Cats gloat.
A sleight of hand – a rapid gain
Too many on the gravy train.

It's old Joe Soap – that's you and me -
Who foot the bill, regretfully
Hidden costs and services to blame
White collar fraud in all but name …

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Charlotte Brontë in Brussels

Charlotte Brontë came to Brussels
A long, long time ago,
“Villette” tells us all about it;
Alter ego – Lucy Snowe?

She caught a glimpse of Leopold
Belgium's brand new king
She struggled hard to master French
But found her studies grim.

With sister Emily by her side
In 1842
Forced to leave (their Aunt had died);
Just Charlotte came anew.

This time to teach, as funds were low
With Héger her strict guide
Intact her dream to start a school;
How very hard she tried.

But Haworth claimed her once again
She immortalised Jane Eyre
This golden classic brought her fame
But - Héger didn't care!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Born 21st April 1816 died 1855

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Chernobyl to Fukushima

30 years ago upon this day
In the Soviet Union, far away
An explosion struck a nuclear site
Where security wasn't tight.

Dust - radio-active - hit the skies
Instant death toll – 31 lives
The worst-ever conflagration
Headline news in every nation.

Polluted soils in Chernobyl
Plants and crops are poisoned still
Shattered are school kids, family homes
Now many have cancer in their bones...

Then a violent earthquake in Japan;
Unpredictable – as Nature can
At any time bring us up short
Fukushima – a new lesson taught:

The reactor damaged by huge waves
All three cores melted in three days!
The aftermath is grim indeed
But who will Nature's warnings heed?

In Belgium there's Tihange and Doel
But are they safe? Should we use coal?
A powerful but destructive force
Has nuclear energy run its course?

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Chernobyl: 26.4.1986
Fukushima: 11.3.2011

Monday, 25 April 2016

The Red Raincoat

I could sit at home and type in gloves
Cold is the weather no one loves
Hail sprinkles diamonds on the lawn
Fragile bluebells look forlorn.

Water gushes down the hill
The drains are blocked, the waters spill
A gurgling stream flows past the kerb
This April's weather is absurd!

Flashes of sun make people bold
But café terraces are cold
Spring fashions taunt us – we don't care
Umbrellas blossom everywhere!

Fickle weather is a curse
I look outside – the rainstorm's worse
Doughty clouds obscure my view
It's depressing – what's to do?

OK - we must out-ride the storm
As this “iffy” weather is the norm
I glare with anger at the sky
But my bright red raincoat keeps me dry!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Friday, 22 April 2016

Shakespeare Still Lives!

A glover's son in Midlands town
An inauspicious start
To a playwright of world-wide renown;
Great speeches learned by heart!

Brief mention on the BBC
Amid migration drama
400th anniversary
Shakespeare headlines Obama*!

The Globe theatre (now reborn)
Sees Hamlet strut the stage
The Bard still London takes by storm
His words will never age!

(c) Poet in the woods


*President Obama was in London

What is I.T. all About?

Now standard mail is mostly bills
Mass-produced and without frills
What do kids of letter-writing know?
The PC is the way to go!

By computers we all stand or fall
Subtle machinations can appal
Their inner workings a closed book
Labyrinthine gobbledygook!

New features come on line by stealth
Do updates bring us knowledge wealth?
Fast programmes get us up to speed
But how many “gismos” do we need?

Compressed files huge, cannot be read
'File Transfer' takes their place instead
Our email 'in tray' overflows
We click on 'junk' and out it goes.

What remains must be collated
Round robin jokes are poorly rated
Info avalanche – our mind reels
We're bombarded by 'good' deals!

Distractions left, right, centre too
Facebook posts to be looked through
The hours pass at speed of light
On Youtube, blogspot and sound byte...

I.T. is fine – it has its place
But what future for the human race
When contacts take place via a screen
We've lost the plot – know what I mean?

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A Snapshot of Leuven

Belgium's “Oxford” - dreamy spires
Whose town hall everyone admires
Huge reliquary in pure white stone
With a myriad statues of its own.

City of students, jazz and beer
'Stella Artois' everywhere
Proud ancient colleges survive;
Founded in 1425.

200 buildings, some brand new
Down narrow streets come into view
Low Countries' learning at its height
Six centuries of Catholic might!

Renaissance and Rococo styles
Much rebuilt since wartime trials
The city has a joyful air
The Oud Markt rocks – long bars are there!

Once Latin was the favoured tongue
A trilingual college soon begun
Which also taught in Hebrew, Greek
Languages many then could speak.

Now Flemish Brabant reigns supreme
Leuven, the capital, has come clean
Dutch has chased French speakers out
But guess what, folks – English has clout!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Floodlit Leuven town hall 15th century

Saturday, 16 April 2016

To Have and to Hold

A special date, a haunting tune...
We remember someone gone too soon
Their image glows and for a while
We bathe again in their warm smile.

We recall the moments that we spent
Together; many letters sent
The summer postcards we'd select
Before impersonal Internet.

Souvenirs swim through my mind
Not all are good – some are unkind
A quarrel or an angry word ...
But looking back, it seems absurd.

We pass this way but once, they say
What will we make of our brief stay?
A treasured love makes life complete
I vow to keep my memories sweet...

(C) Poet in the woods 2016

Friday, 15 April 2016

1865 - 1963 - 1968

April 15th – Assassins' Day
Lincoln's life would ebb away
Ford theatre became the shocking scene
Of a real-life drama, which would mean

“Our American Cousin” soon became
The play with blood splashed on its name.
Down the barrel of a sure-held gun
John Wilkes Booth fired; a quick run

Amid the turmoil for the door
Blood splattered on the wooden floor;
The Civil War neared to its close
But this death shadowed all of those...

Abraham died before the peace
Not knowing violence would increase
New guns are licensed every day;
Who remembers James Earl Ray

Who silenced Martin Luther King?
These killings have a hollow ring
JFK by Oswald shot
Jack Ruby could not rumours stop …

“Assassin” has an Arab source
It's “hashish-eater”; but of course
These noble men might not have died
If the gunmen hadn't been supplied!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Maelbeek - Past and Present

Picture a millstream gently flowing
In former times through pleasant glade
Rich pasture land with cattle lowing
Country estates with orchards laid.

Down cobbled tracks right out of town
Nature showed its rich increase
Where nobles used to hunker down
In bucolic setting, full of peace.

An untrammelled, gentler way of life
Seen on engravings long ago
Beyond the reach of city strife
Where the fastest speed was – slow.

Fast forward now to present day
Encompassed by the Institutions
It has a brand new role to play
Modern life has no illusions.

The country manors are no more
On once green fields tall buildings rise
A road runs on the valley floor
Maelbeek - hidden from our eyes!

Like 'Molenbeek', it hits the news
Foreigners now hear its name
But not for its once leafy views
Lost rivers – now recalled with shame.

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Terrorist attack 22nd March, 2016 in the Maelbeek metro ...

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The Metro Station Saga

More metro stations come on line
Three weeks post-bombing – it is time
That Brussels put safeguards in place
Instead – the Army shows its face

At metro exits and main stations;
Airport queues cause huge frustrations.
The Public is the last to know
Updates to this traffic flow.

The website, run by dear old STIB,
Lists the closures in a bid
To make all clear in French and Dutch;
But loudspeakers do not help that much.

For those whose language skills are poor
Public transport is a bore
If they don't follow Belgian news
They can't work out which bus to use...

Hotels, restaurants and shops
Observe how quickly custom stops
When the metro closes before nine
No chance now for overtime!

Politicians don't know what to do
Safety measures are put through
“Protect the public at all cost!”
Means freedom for us all – is lost...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

22/3 - Brussels Bombing

As of 12/4: 51 out of 69 stations open

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Thomas - at 27 Months Old

Thomas, now sturdy on his feet,
Makes daily progress and can meet
Expectations, when he's asked
In simple words to do a task.

As long as Granny points the way
Where toys must be put away
He hears the word-string – meets her gaze
And links the action to the phrase.

Like Echo in the sylvan wood
In Greek mythology, he's good
At repeating sentences he hears
Parrot fashion; his wee ears

Become attuned to human speech;
Some meanings can be hard to teach.
His Mum and Dad, though proud, must pay
Attention now to what they say.

His brain's a sponge, he hears it all;
A careless swear word may appal
When Thomas tries it out for size
He's opinionated – when he tries!

Comprehension now is where he's at
He speaks short sentences off pat
But at under three can it be true
He understands each concept new?

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Where have we Gone Wrong?

While Man is busily engaged
In destroying much that he holds dear
Nature presents a coloured page
As flowers burgeon, bring Spring here.

Elections, summits, wildcat strikes,
Taxation fraud, abortion crime
Low banking interest, rental hikes
Leave Nature laughing every time!

To Friend and Foe she still bestows
Her wondrous beauty and largesse
Dressed always in her finest clothes
She does far more than just impress.

From Eden banished long ago
Eve and Adam made their way
To darker pastures and now sow
Seeds in a world quite gone astray.

The quest for power and domination
Unbridled lust, rapacious greed
Has overtaken every Nation ...
Modern Man has gone to seed.

Obsessed with reaching shallow goals
Too blind to see God's guiding hand
So it's for us the bell now tolls;
Are we too dumb to understand?

Nature, fragile, will survive
Famine, plague and outright war,
In the trenches poppies came alive
But Man's destructive forces soar …

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

"The Garden of Earthly Delights" 1503-1515 Heironymous Bosch

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Big Brother is Watching you!

“Big Brother”, Orwell's novel claims,
Keeps constant watch and even deigns
To rule our lives and impose thought
Silent, ubiquitous, unsought...

A “fanciful” 1984*?
With CCTV – not so sure
We're spied upon, in camera shot
Our emails traced – as like as not.

Smart phones relay where we are
Like the GPS in every car
Modern technology has its perks
But in laptops embedded spyware lurks.

Personal freedom ebbs away
Our movements registered each day
Even distant islands are on line
Orwell's dream perhaps – not mine!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

*First published: June 8th, 1949

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Climbing Out of a Rut!

Why do so many live alone
Their lifeline just their mobile phone?
Work fills their week, they feel “in touch”
But weekends don't amount to much...

To socialise, you must go out;
There are clubs and sports events about
But it takes guts to push the door
And website searches offer more!

Old-fashioned it may be, to think
But people need to make that link
We feel much better when we share;
Isn't that why we're all here?

Death, divorce or work abroad...
Take courage! Much to be explored
If old doors seem too hard to shut
Admit it - you're stuck in a rut!

But there's a whole new world outside
Exciting challenges to be tried
So grit your teeth and make a move
Odds on - you'll find a brighter groove!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Friday, 1 April 2016

Passing by the Brussels Bourse

Flickering candles, teddy bears
A police car parked in front, blank stares
Passers-by look on, subdued
Tourists stop, fear to intrude...

Cellophaned, but past their best
Beribboned bouquets still attest
To spontaneous sorrow; many care;
A Nation grieves for those – not there...

Trams and buses run again
But hotels and eateries complain
That Easter pickings now are slight
At 7 the metro stops each night...

The damaged airport is still closed;
Much irritation felt by those
Whose lives depend on frequent travel;
Two bombs - and many lives unravel...

We're inconvenienced, it is true;
Suddenly it's April – skies are blue
But many funerals take place
So Brussels has a sadder face …

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Tributes deposited following the 22nd March, 2016 terrorist attacks (Zaventem/Maelbeek) ...