Friday, 27 May 2016

If We Only Connect ...

The metro hums mid-afternoon
No crowds – there's even some spare room
But not one human voice is heard
All gaze at Smart phone screens; absurd!

A guy beside me plays a game
Lost in his racetrack world again
Others text or Facebook scroll
Smiling – they are on a roll.

Each in his little universe
Lost to the real world which is worse
Doors open, clunk, and close again
A few get off but most remain.

More stations zoom by – here's my stop
No noise - you'd hear that small pin drop!
How different from ten years ago
With conversations in full flow...

That life's a paradox is true
More connected, but more lonely too;
So I ring some friends, and write a letter
With communication we feel better!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

A Talent to Amuse?

In French they say they “throw you flowers”;
Of compliments one never tires!
So may I share a bloom or two?
My blog has found admirers new!

Thanks to search engines on the Net
Surprising “hits” worldwide I get
Countries far across the seas
Where I know no one, hit the keys

And find this ”Poet in the Woods”
I'd like to thank them – they're the goods!
My inspirations come and go
To places I shall never know!

I'm called the Brussels Laureate;
An exaggerated epithet
Yet many poems that I write
Put Brussels in a glowing light!

It's quirky, crazy, weird, surreal
With human touches that appeal
Carnivals one day, strikes the next
Variety is what connects.

Bistros, bars and street cafés
Where conversations so amaze
Here poignant, beer-fuelled views are aired
And robust anecdotes are shared.

The whole world comes and speaks its mind;
I saunter past and often find
A chance remark ignites my Muse
How can I therefore not enthuse?

(c) Poet in the woods

Place St. Géry - Brussels

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Zinneke - Explained!

This word owes its existence to
A shallow river which flowed through
A hamlet in the Brabant plain
Just scattered farms and lots of rain...

Through a deep valley northward bound
It formed small islands in the town
Which on a language barrier lay
It had two names – both used today:

Dutch says de Zenne and French la Senne;
So with affection way back then
Those born along the waterway
Acquired this nickname; still today

A 'Zinneke' is widely known
Speaking two languages at home
French-speaking Mother, father Dutch
Or switched roles (doesn't matter much)!

Dogs used to toil in the old port
Often mongrels of the poorer sort
They too as 'Zinneke' would roam
Their true parentage unknown.

Tom Frantzen's dog in Rue Chartreux
Reminds us of this dockside cur;
Now a broader canvas is displayed:
May means: the Zinneke Parade!

All colours, cultures and persuasions
Microcosm of all nations
Surreal Brussels is so proud
To strut its stuff to down town crowd!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Friday, 20 May 2016

Canine Theatre Buffs?

A distinguished man*, white beard, black hat
Entered the room; we all stood back
Apparently he's widely known
The SABAM world must be his home.

Many turned their heads his way
He smiled at them as if to say
“I have arrived – we can begin”
Was I alone to not know him?

An eccentric - mini dogs in tow
Who romped around and stole the show
His “Yorkshire” trademark, that was clear;
Man's best friend is welcome here...

A buzz of conversation flowed
Soon ears and eyes in overload
Fast-spoken French, smart repartee
Hand-picked guests – such fun for me!

His voice rose and I heard him speak:
“My dogs so love a theatre treat”...
I pondered this surreal touch
How could they, without French or Dutch?

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

SABAM: Belgian Authors and Composers Association

* A certain Michel C.

Voyage en Tram

Le bruit du tram qui passe
Agace, et moi, fort lasse
Observe en surface
Le manque d’espace
Quoi qu’on fasse.

La masse qui court
Quel monde autour
Et ces files qui s’entassent

Mais celui qui a l’audace
De passer outre
Se trouve une place.

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Soirée at the SABAM

Home of artists, the SABAM invites
Its members to new authors' nights
Interviews upon the stage
A chance with writers to engage.

Questions posed, fine points debated
Literary bonds created
A well-stocked bar, time to discuss
The artistic streak that lies in us.

What motivation drives our muse
Cartoonists, songsters, camera crews
Graphic artists, illustrators
Art photographers and painters?

This modest poet feels her way
With whom will she chat today?
Though everyone has different goals
It's great to meet like-minded souls!

With email, links can soon be made
Serendipity on parade
A business card – shot in the dark
Perhaps one day will light a spark...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

SABAM: Belgian Authors and Composers Association

Monday, 16 May 2016

A World Poet?

The Internet keeps a full log
So every time I'm on my blog
I see people are on line;
This is happiness – big time!

Who's looking at my blog right now?
I've had Mozambique and Curaçao
Ghana, Germany, Japan,
China, Russia, Kazakhstan

Hong Kong, Jamaica, Singapore,
Denmark, Chile, Ecuador
Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan
Israel, Egypt, Switzerland

Morocco, Ukraine and Slovenia,
Latvia, Laos, Greece and Kenya
Barbados, Belgium, Venezuela,
El Salvador, Brazil, Australia

Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait
United Arab Emirates
Belize, Spain, Sweden, Myanmar
Finland, Fiji, Panama

Malta, Norway, Argentina
Paraguay and Costa Rica
Zimbabwe, Zambia, USA
Peru, Tunisia, the UK

Malawi, Ireland, Macedonia
Turkey, France, Macao, Mongolia,
S.A., Sri Lanka, Netherlands
India, Seychelles and Thailand

Mexico, Philippines, Albania
India, Italy, Romania
Canada, Jersey, Hungary,
Bangladesh and Burundi

Vietnam, Palestine, Hong Kong
Saudi Arabia, Lebanon
And many others I've left out
Bad rhyming patterns, I've no doubt...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Note: March 2018: 140 countries to date!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Public Holiday

Today's a public holiday!
Belgium gives us some in May
A general exodus occurs
At last time off! The thought soon spurs

The 9-to-5ers to down tools
And make a quick escape – no rules!
A romantic get-away for two?
Visit to family overdue?

Last minute booking to the sun?
Let's take the car out for a run
Or stay at home and do the chores:
Goodbye to dust on several floors!

Why not catch up on some reading?
Oh drat! What about the weeding?
Blitz your desk, put files away
Or invite a friend for lunch today?

We've 24 hours to call our own
With friends, with family or alone
The trick with having all this leisure
Is to spend it on what gives us pleasure!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

21st May, 2018: Whit Monday (Pentecost)

Saturday, 14 May 2016

The Gay Pride Parade

Brussels – city of surprises
Gay Pride comes in many guises:
Fright wigs, fishnet tights, high heels
Long dresses, short shorts, the mind reels!

Helicopters overhead
Crowds and barricades instead
Of open spaces – central station
I stepped out – in trepidation...

Soldiers, army trucks, police
On every side the crowds increase
In rainbow colours stalls are decked
No entrance fee but rucksacks checked.

A host of tents on Mont des Arts
Heaving crowds – there are no cars
For unwary visitors a trial
Extravaganza Brussels-style!

A Parade down town in Place Brouckère
More shoppers stop amazed, and stare
At the vibrant outfits on display
The music takes our breath away!

Belgium's freedoms are well known
Its constitution carved in stone*
Proclaims free press, free faith, free schools;
Freedom of Association rules!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

* 1831

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Heat Returns!

When the weather's good, I have observed
Computer-scrolling is absurd
Blue skies beckon; pavement bars
Are filled with people drinking jars!

Suited businessmen stroll by
Their jackets off, their heads held high
Young things parade in fetching shorts
Attired for all the world for sports.

There's a festive air, it's Friday Eve
The trams fill early, people leave
Their stuffy desks for week-end break
At last - with sunshine in their wake!

Horse chestnut blossoms, white and red
Give shade, which some now seek instead,
This heat has caught them all off guard
Their raincoat they can now discard!

Down my street like purple rain
Princely wisteria again
Tiny seeds burgeon anew
For gardeners there is lots to do.

My hanging terrace - bathed in light
As shadows lengthen – a delight
I take my tea-tray up the stairs
And forget the world and all its cares …

Thursday, 12 May 2016

For a Friend on the Mend

Damn that “blip” on your health chart!
Life challenges the stoutest heart
In friendship close, though far away
You're in my thoughts now every day.

What a tough hint to take life slow;
I wish you well (just feel the glow!)
Ageing saps our strength these days
So consider this a respite phase.

Soon you'll be home and on the mend;
But easy does it - you'll depend
On others to get back on track ...
So for the moment, cut some slack!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Strikes in Belgian Prisons!

There's grumbling in the prison cells
Overcrowding makes them living hells
Too many health and food concerns
No wonder a strike action burns!

It's been headline news for days
And no, this isn't just a phase
The prison warders are too few
The Army fills the gaps – it's true!

The Government is at a loss
Its propositions get the toss
The strike continues – it's Week Two
Prisoners' lawsuits can't go through...

In cramped cells with no exercise
Human dignity soon dies
Communications - pruned right back
“It's medieval!” says a local hack...

Mons, Ittre and Brussels band together
The strike is widespread; will they ever
Get all parties back on board?
Such drama they can ill afford...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

In May 2016 and again in January 2018!

Monday, 9 May 2016

The Dead Mouse!

It was just a day like all the others
Sunday – feast day of all Mothers -
When staring at computer screen
Which glowed with iridescent green,

It vanished! The cursor I need
To scroll down, click on and then read
My emails, Facebook page, world news
I could not function, felt confused...

I banged the Mouse and shook it hard
No reaction – I am caught off guard
Without my “arrow”, I am lost
I.T. remains my mystery boss!

Frustration to the nth degree;
A solution there must surely be...
I reboot the system – will this work?
But no, the Gremlins laugh and lurk

Out of sight, not out of mind
Then, Eureka! I have been so blind
The mouse, though not “killed” by the cat,
Is dead because its battery's flat!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Sunday, 8 May 2016

May 8th - V.E. Day

May 8th – a cause for meditation
War gives way to celebration
Guns fall silent, men come home
But for many women – life alone...

The old world order swept away
Rationing for a while will stay
Bridge rebuilding will ensure
New links in commerce and much more.

Post destruction on a massive scale
The urge to "make good" will prevail
Scars on the landscape start to fade
But Man's redemption is delayed.

The map of Europe Nazi-free
Has borders now where none should be
The Berlin Wall defines the change
The Cold War does nothing to arrange

Conflicting camps in West and East
For 50 years a troubled peace.
The E.U. gets its act together
The question is – is it forever?

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Fire in Alberta, Canada!

Fire rages in Alberta State
Engulfing homes at violent rate
88,000 evacuated
Mass destruction understated.

Canada's rarely in the news
It holds in general moderate views
Compared to neighbouring U.S.
Its world impact is rather less.

But Nature, climate change or worse
Have propelled it to a headline first
A wildfire fanned by deadly gusts
Reduces oil-sand town to dust!

Blocked roads as all are told to flee
Fire trucks and helicopters see
Plumes of smoke and reddish glow
Woe betide those left below.

Fort McMurray was unknown
Now towering inferno all alone
Dramatic upheaval – small town lives
Shattered in this May sunrise!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Beloved but Impossible Belgium!

To write a poem every day
Is not an easy game to play
But life in my adopted city
Often means I'm sitting pretty.

Three governments are a big deal
For 11 million? Let's get real!
Bi-lingual red tape is such fun
Impossible to get things done...

Traffic chaos, lack of parking
Spasmodic airport checks are starting!*
Hail, snow and sun on just one day
And often - fifty shades of grey!

Soldiers in the heart of town
Shops whose sales come tumbling down
Riots against high haulage tolls
Belgium – land of confused souls!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

* On 4th May 2016

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Thomas - Books and Tantrums!

Perhaps too soon to read alone
Thomas's mind is quite his own
Picture books are all the rage
With confidence he turns each page!

He recognises easy shapes
And rarely any error makes
Simple stories are child's play
Well-thumbed, he “reads” them every day!

He understands the link between
The actions in each simple scene
The books are kept on a low shelf
So Thomas chooses for himself.

When he cannot have his way
The “Terrible Twos” come into play.
His parents' boundaries he tests
Tantrums happen – all are stressed!

At 30 months the die is cast
Thomas, smart, is learning fast
He keeps his parents on their toes
But what he thinks – well, no one knows!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Monday, 2 May 2016

Loch Ness - an Unusual Sighting!

From the gloom and mist the creature rose
Photographed while in the throes
Of peering through deep sunken eyes
Under the sullen Scottish skies.

Had it risen from the dark abyss?
Legends often spoke of this
Survivor of our glacial past
Had it materialised at last?

A photo taken at Loch Ness
Soon hit the local pressman's desk
Enormous uproar – was it true?
The monster sighted in full view?

A 1934 world scoop
In no time a large watching group
Stood gazing in the freezing air
Willing the monster from its lair.

Despite cold feet in every sense
The expectation was intense
No more sightings on that day
Disappointment drove the crowds away.

On that May 2nd – not much news
Did a hoaxer do it – to amuse?
Tourists still drawn to the spot
Whether “Nessie” lives – or not!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Convallaria Majalis/Lily-of-the-Valley

Lily-of-the-Valley – graceful bells
With a haunting perfume that soon sells
On roadsides, tied in twee bouquets
A traditional gift on first of May.

Known as “Mary's Tears” when Jesus died
Grief for her Son, the Crucified;
Used by the French on Labour Day,
In Kate Middleton's bouquet.

Yugoslavia's emblem long ago
Essential in “Diorissimo”
Sign of humility for some
As underground its rhizomes run ...

The national flower of all the Finns
As the return of happiness it brings
“Garden Merit” award by RHS*;
This flower inspires by its finesse.

Though sweetly-scented, please beware
It's poisonous so have a care
If ingested, stomach pains ensue
Blurred vision and red rashes too!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

*RHS = Royal Horticultural Society