Wednesday, 31 August 2016

A Race Against Time!

More traffic jams! My friend was late
Roadworks here do not abate
The flow of cars has now increased
So construction lorries have no peace!

The barricades are still in place;
To pour hot tarmac – it's a race
To meet the deadline – August end
The school run starts tomorrow, Friend!

A one-way system, quite contrived
So Boitsfort neighbours can survive
Bollards block those who would park
On soft verges after dark...

A tight squeeze – traffic flow is dense
Queues of cars in every sense
The red and green lights cannot cope
SNAFU - but we live in hope!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Thursday, 25 August 2016


Man thinks he knows what he's about
The wisest race the world has known
But Nature really has more clout
When she rumbles, he is thrown

In literal terms back to Square One
As pressure points deep in the earth
Cause tremors that break loose and run
His certainties are nothing worth!

No warning in dark hours of night
When villages are fast asleep
The earthquake hits with all its might
Old buildings crumble in a heap.

From sleep to death at just one stroke
Umbria mourns its mounting dead
Night hides disaster like a cloak
By dawn the aftershocks have spread.

Stone villages in ruins lie
The Quake has put them in the news
So very unprepared to die
As cruel Nature leaves no clues …

Someone remarks that on this day
24th of August – long ago
Vesuvius destroyed Pompei*
In a pyroclastic lava flow...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

* in 79 A.D.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Pillow Talk

I can't say I have lost much sleep
Considering my pillow shape
Square ones make the bed look neat
What difference does the format make?

But it seems that oblong is preferred
In England and the U.S.A.
Though Belgium finds this quite absurd;
So the perfect square is here to stay!

It's a flatter version – you need two
To give your neck that added height
And does it matter? I bet you
Will check your pillow case tonight!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Monday, 22 August 2016

As August wanes...

On the weekend, when we're mostly free
This lack of sunshine has to be
A trial for those with wanderlust
Umbrellas to the fore – or bust!

Surely August should be warm and dry?
But no – we have a cloud-filled sky
Granted that it's not that cold
But Autumn's wings will soon unfold...

The summer lull is all but done
“La Rentrée” looms – that will be fun
As harassed parents form long queues
For school supplies their kids will lose!

The tension mounts and traffic flow
Clogs up the roads; the going's slow
Not helped by roadworks still ongoing
Soon to finish? There's no knowing!

The diary fills - there's more to do
Appointments must be catered to...
The pressure builds up; I declare
I can see the treadmill standing there!

Then a fragile butterfly flits past
Intent upon some summer task
- By some warm current on the wing
Sad, summer is so short – poor thing!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Making Sense of it All

Our lives are often hard and fraught
We languish but we don't know why
In silliness our dreams are caught
As time – inexorably – goes by ...

We all seek freedom from “ennui”
The tedium of our status quo
From routine shackles we break free
So an altered consciousness can flow.

For some - it's drugs or fags or booze
Or esoteric meditation
Or travel - say a sunny cruise -
New horizons – new temptation!

A chat with sympathetic friend
Or buoyed by music finely played;
Just somewhere for our soul to mend
And knit-up moments that have frayed...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Food and Drink

Chopping vegetables, mixing dough
Fun activities when work is slow
The washing-up is quickly done
As I bite into a fresh-cooked bun …

Nothing beats good, home-cooked, food
Tempting flavours soon exude
From my kitchen with its woodland view
Where flowerpots with herbs accrue.

The Sunday market down the road
Is Aladdin's cave - in overload!
Home-made jams, organic greens,
Cepes from France for those with means!

Sliced Spanish ham and crunchy bread
Or have a glass of wine instead
There are fashion items, kitchenware
Yes! Bring your cane chairs for repair!

Food and drink are where it's at
Occasions for a good old chat
Let's share our skills, learn something new
And swap a recipe or two …

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Magic of a Hug!

When time hangs heavy on your hands
It's time to weave some friendship strands:
Which of your friends is all alone
Beside a silent telephone?

Divorced, bereaved, perhaps not well
Or at a loose end? Who can tell ...
Newly retired or on the shelf?
This could happen to your older self!

So step outside the “me first” cult
And think of others, be adult!
Share your time, make others laugh
And cut your “empty time” in half!

August, the sunshine month, is tough
With many doing “their own stuff”
Facebook and emails don't compete
With friends who turn up in your street.

The world's become a colder place;
'Skype' calls real visits now replace
Dare I at your conscience tug?
Someone “out there” needs a hug...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Kitchen Musings

The radio burbles on my bench
It's “La Première” in French
Fresh coffee burbles in the pot
The clock ticks – seven on the dot.

My daily routine, time to think
As I swill dishes in the sink
What will bring joy in my day?
I've no appointments – who can say?

But I'm retired, so that is fine
Much of my day I know is mine
So I ponder on the “younger set”
Whose business lives means that they get

More stress, less sleep, short time to eat
Always rushing in the street,
Burning candles at both ends
Using each hour that God sends

To earn their crust, taxed to the hilt
Assuage with overtime their guilt
In quest of the great God of Greed;
How much money do we need?

The paradox is we're “time poor”
And time, once lost, returns no more;
Through the kitchen window I can see
The golden sun – which shines for free!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Fidel - at Ninety!

Some make it to the history books:
Warriors, Royals, Athletes, Crooks
For some specific action done;
But to mark an era there is one

Whose dramatic rise to fame
Is always linked to his first name.
Not Adolf, though the point is moot,
Or Haiti* with “Tonton Macoute”.

But a man who celebrates today
Ninety years; though frail and grey
Fidel Castro still lives on
Although his glory days are gone.

We recall his meteoritic rise
To power in Cuba – where he tries
With missiles the U.S. to thwart
Nail-biting Kennedy – distraught...

But times have changed; the way is free
From Cold War restraints, when he
With Russian backing stood alone,
And we trembled on the brink – unknown...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz born August 13th, 1926.
Died 25th November, 2016

*François "Papa Doc" Duvalier

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Thought for the Day

Time passes and the years go by
With age it speeds up – wonder why
Memories flit through my mind
Though slightly faded now I find.

How is it with you all “out there”?
Nostalgia makes us stop and stare
There's no going back, my friends
Time moves forwards, never ends...

I look around and I observe
We're always on a learning curve
Not just a child's prerogative
For humans - this is how we live!

New trends, new words, new styles of dress
Always challenges and stress
We can never get the balance right
For a poet, fantasy takes flight...

The day-to-day is grim indeed,
Terrorism, violence, greed
The values that we once held dear
Have evaporated in the air.

Smart phones and videos suffice
For some - to mask what is not nice
But the real world has some treasures too
Sadly seen by very few …

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Wednesday, 10 August 2016


In this topsy-turvy universe
Violence forms a major part
It affects most sectors and what's worse
Fashion takes this trend to heart...

You must have seen them, “distressed” jeans
Ripped, torn apart and badly frayed
Not worn by those with slender means
But in shop windows now displayed!

One of Haute Couture's new fads
Who dreamed this up? I'd like to know
Who pays top dollar for such rags?
Have the rich and famous sunk so low?

And how is this effect achieved?
Do factory staff wield razors sharp
Their work monotony relieved
By ripping what they've made, apart?

Those genuinely “on the street”
The homeless with no place to go
Sartorial expectations meet
Rare are those with knees on show!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Monday, 8 August 2016

Wallonia Mining Disaster!

Remembrance of a sad, sad day,
262 lives wiped away
near Charleroi, in Marcinelle
60 years ago - a living Hell...

In deep-sunk mineshafts, gas caught fire
The fate of these poor men was dire
Asphyxiated, left to die
Widows of 13 nations cry...

Imagine waiting at the gate
Unaware it was too late
Migrant families bereaved
Headline news – while thousands grieve.

1956 seems long ago
But memories linger, shadows throw
A cloak of sadness on this site
So the 'Bois du Cazier' name stays bright.

Safety measures were improved
The owners, in reluctant mood,
Poured money in to modernize
An industry on the demise …

“Inferno Below” - a film was made
So this disaster would not fade
From the Nation's consciousness;
In Heritage Site their souls now rest ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

On 8th August, 1956

Friday, 5 August 2016

Off to Rio!

The talk is all of vast Brazil
Our modest world's 5th largest nation
This August's biggest sporting thrill
First summer-winter invitation.

Rio de Janeiro lies
In cooler climes this time of year
Despite bad rumours, it now tries
The Olympic Games to steer.

Since London, four short years ago,
Where security was tight all round,
The Latino tempo seems to flow
On more relaxed lines – is this sound?

The Russian team, somewhat reduced,
As anti-doping is the key...
But are these “check-ups” of much use?
How many teams are still “drug-free”?

We hear that walls are being built
To hide the country's darker side
The city's mortgaged to the hilt;
By locals these huge costs decried...

Two hundred plus teams will compete:
Top athletes in all disciplines
Huge stadia (are they complete?)
Will soon be bursting at the seams...

Two weeks with Rio in our sights
Doubtless an exciting phase
The excellence of sport delights
Yet fragile mask for deep malaise...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016