Monday, 27 June 2016

The Brussels Ommegang

"Ommegang" means walkabout;
When religious pageants wielded clout
Under the yoke of Catholic Spain
When Charles V was old and lame.

The year was 1549
Young Philip, soon second of his line
Watched a spectacular display
As the city guilds in fine array

Filed past with banners flying high
With the 'bon peuple' standing by
The religious orders swelled the ranks
The wealth of Brussels then gave thanks

To a treasured relic in its shrine
And dove of peace – a precious sign;
All this the Emperor showed his son
A gentle transfer had begun...

Despite displays of jewels and gold
Brussels, Philip thought, was cold
He plumped for sun in torrid Spain
In fact, he rarely came again.

But the pageant lives on, never fear
Thousands watch it every year
Re-enactment on a July night
Of 16th century Brussels might!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

2018 dates: 4th and 6th July

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Brits did it Their Way

Through the glass darkly and behold
Not storm clouds tinged with rays of gold
But rather mist and fog and rain
The summer of discontent is plain.

Many BREXIT voters feel remorse;
But a free choice was theirs - of course
Their vote a wild stab in the dark?
They've struck the E.U. in the heart!

London wants to rule alone
Its clout in Europe is well known
Dignified, faced with defeat;
Successors for the P.M.* meet …

The Brits have lit a funeral pyre
The consequences will be dire
This referendum spins the dice
But number-crunching won't suffice.

The finance markets catch a chill
The weakened pound – a bitter pill
A tsunami of job losses looms
Regrets for many – one assumes …

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Referendum held: 23rd June, 2016

* David Cameron, who resigned.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Post Mortem ...

The day dawns; Brits abroad awake
Banned from voting - hard to take
The masses on our little Isle
Went BREXIT- xenophobic-style!

Scots and North Ireland want to stay
Wales and England turn away
Though London's in the camp “Bremain”
No “Great” in Britain – now slow lane...

Screeds on social media sites:
“Gutted”, “Shocked” and “Loss of rights”
The pound slumps to an all-time low
P.M. Cameron, soon must go.

For the E.U. a new future starts
A wave of sovereign States and hearts?
The closer union we enjoyed
Has at a stroke now been destroyed.

Have Britons lost their common sense?
No more sitting on the fence
Obsessed with “faceless” Eurocrat
They've voted out – and that is that!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Referendum 23rd June, 2016

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

It's Crunch Time!

Since Forty-Five we've had no wars;
Agreed, the E.U. has some flaws
But trading in a wider sphere
With goods and skills that all can share

Brings strength of purpose and new goals
To a market with no custom tolls
A mosaic of small nation States
Pool resources, up the stakes!

The Brits go to the Polls today
They really should decide to stay
As “Strength in Unity” is true
Alone, what can one island do?

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

ie "L'union fait la force"- which is Belgium's motto!

But they voted for "BREXIT" on 23rd June, 2015...

Monday, 20 June 2016

Alice in Referendum-Land

Are we living in a Wonderland?
Britain's poised in No Man's land
White Rabbit bolts down a deep hole
Does Alice really know her role?

One “drink me” medicine makes her grow
The ceiling soon becomes too low
While a second bottle makes her shrink
She hesitates, which should she drink?

The Magic toadstool blocks her way
The Red Queen forces her to play
She runs fast, staying on the spot
While Carpenter and Walrus mock...

Feeling trapped, she must decide
But will she choose the winning side?
The croquet game goes all awry
The Hack of Cards makes voters sigh!

Should she keep the status quo?
Where weird creatures come and go
Or take a step back and pretend
That the Dream is at an end?

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Written 3 days before the Referendum (on 23/6) when the Brits voted for BREXIT

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Playing Ball

When it comes to sport, there's a divide
Players, and those who watch inside:
Yelling at the T.V. screen
Consuming beer – know what I mean?

It's a mystery why a muddy ball
So many millions can enthral
How normal life is put on hold
And a plethora of flags unfold!

This year the Russians bear the brunt
Of this fervour on the sporting front
Police en masse survey “fan zones”
Cacophony of mobile phones …

The draw is made, the teams prepare
Sharp tactics in this cool June air
An erratic, roller-coaster ride
Politics is brushed aside...

“Le Foot” as Belgians call it here
Overrides the normal sphere
All eyes upon that speeding ball
But I don't get it – not at all!

(c) Poet in the woods 2018

World Cup 2018 June 14th - July 15th 2018

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

On Political Correctness

We can't please people all the time;
The strain of being what we're not
Means much of life is played in mime
Drilled into us as tiny tot.

It's “Think of others!”, “Stand aside!”
The Common Good must needs come first
We're just a pawn in life's rough ride
In sublimation subtly versed.

Well, I've reached an age when this seems mad
Why should my needs not find a voice?
If you like me, then I'm glad
If not, that's fine - you've made your choice!

If we're bending backwards to “fit in”
Afraid to rock the social boat
Then crazy “PC” seeps right in
Our real thoughts, watered down, remote.

Why is “being real” so hard to do?
Why can't we say just what we mean?
Self-censure is a malaise new
Let's have a much more “lively” scene!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Monday, 13 June 2016

R.I.P. At Ian's Funeral

The sun peeps bravely through the cloud
As I come to bid a friend farewell
The chattering of guests is loud;
One would think that all is well...

A winding lane off motorway
Bunker building - stone and steel
The summer drizzle seems to say
It understands just how we feel ...

Out in the country clothed in green
The crematorium must intrude
Around me shades of black are seen
The family, long-time friends, subdued...

There is no warning when death strikes
The shock is deep and hard to bear
Someone has put out the lights
We clutch at straws which are not there …

The way ahead is all unknown
Those left behind are numb with grief
Our presence means they're not alone
Today we form a friendship wreath.

Fresh flowers, coffin, photograph
Eulogies for our lost friend
Poignant speeches coax a laugh
A fitting tribute at the end.

A long time member of a choir
A music lover through and through
A jazz fan who would never tire
Of being up-beat – we miss you!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

For the father of my goddaughter Carole...

Saturday, 11 June 2016

The Cult of Self

Have you noticed how it's Me! Me! Me!
What happened to “Community”?
Sharing, lending out a hand?
I struggle hard to understand

Why kindness is “put out to grass”;
This egocentric world is harsh
Who gives their seat up on the tram?
Or helps a neighbour in a jam?

Few volunteer their time for free;
They ask, “but what's in it, for me?”
The world does not owe us a living
We've lost the age-old art of giving.

The “Haves” and “Have nots” gap is wide
The homeless have nowhere to hide
Social housing should comply
But demand outstrips supply.

Corruption often goes unchecked
White collar crime on Internet
The greedy feather their own nest
While honest souls fight for the rest.

There's not enough now to go around...
Injustice has a hollow sound
But we accept the Status Quo;
How is it we have sunk so low?

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Friday, 10 June 2016

On Hearing Sad News

Not all the poems that I write
Are for the big wide world to see
Unexpected news of deaths invite
A private answer - just from me.

An email or an SMS
On such occasions is not right
A phone call might cause needless stress;
I weigh up carefully what to write

In letter or in greetings card
Words of comfort from the heart
How to marshal thoughts is hard
This Vale of Sorrow is so dark ...

My Guardian Angel is close by
I pick up vibes of empathy
Time to meditate; I try
To say I care – that is the key...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Saturday, 4 June 2016

R.I.P. Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)

A crackling of the radio
I heard a name that we all know
An icon, who was much admired
A boxing champion who inspired

So many to stand up and fight
For what was fair and what was right
Cassius Clay held forthright views
Back in the Sixties he made news!

Determined, positive and proud
His mantra to expectant crowd
An electrifying thrill:
'I am the Greatest!” echoes still.

A change of heart, a change of name
As Muhammad Ali - worldwide fame
True athlete, master of the swing
Mesmerising in the Ring.

Alas, today he is no more
He's reached the stars at seventy-four
But his legend will live on because
“I'm the greatest!” really was...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Thursday, 2 June 2016

A Wave of Floods!

There are weather warnings – more rains due
Another Great Flood passing through?
No Noah – Bible times are past
But river banks cannot hold fast.

Cellars and car parks soon awash
High streets with mud and debris slosh
An unlucky few are drowned in cars
Power cuts; dark clouds – no stars...

Two days round Stuttgart, it has rained
The Neckar cannot be contained...
Along the Seine, road blocks in place
Paris shocked, has tear-filled face.

Closed RER and famous Louvre
Priceless treasures to be moved
Low-lying Belgium bears the brunt
Of this dramatic weather front.

As damage to homes and buildings grows
On rescue teams, exhaustion shows
Life-giving water can be mean,
Unexpected and extreme...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Europe's Longest Tunnel Opens!

What did I learn today on rising?
Man's achievements are surprising;
Hannibal found the Alps a trial
He crossed with elephants in style.

Clogged with ice and heavy snow
In winter, dangerous to know
Long a challenge to both Man and trade
In shrouded mists he felt afraid...

Of the Saint Gotthard pass I speak;
In summer - scenes of lofty peak
May well be worth the splendid views
And inspire a poet's muse...

But when the roof of Europe cools
And the traffic belches winter fuels
Europe and the Swiss prepare
To treat the Pass with utmost care.

Now a 17-year project is complete
A 35-mile tunnel buried deep
In the ancient Alps achieves its aim
Rail travel will never be the same!

A Herculean task in modern guise
An amazing, shared-Nation enterprise
The Gotthard Base Tunnel – GBT
Is a marvel of ingenuity!

Knocking 45 mins from journey time
Freight wagons freed from truckload grime
65 passenger trains each day
The efficient Swiss show us the way!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016