Tuesday, 29 November 2016


A friend suggested that I write
A birthday ode – the day is right
Another year has flown on by
To marshall all my thoughts I try:

A birthday means, we hope, warm wishes
But getting older ain't for sissies.
There are creaky, freaky moments new
We're relieved when old friends feel them too!

So should we look back and take stock?
Or just be grateful we still rock?
I think my memory's still good
My poems roll out as they should!

I guide and translate “à la carte”
Prompted by my Archer heart
My arrows – only words – strike home
Thanks to my blog – I'm not unknown.

Can I blow my trumpet on this day?
Thanks to all who pass this way
Jupiter's Girl likes to amuse
“Poet in the woods” is news!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Monday, 28 November 2016


What a crazy world and mad rat race
Thomas, still a tot, will face
All that rushing round, deadlines to meet
Crowded roads and weary feet.

Not to mention non-stop ringing phones
The pace does not let up for drones...
So what's it all about, young man?
That hard hat says you have a plan!

OK, he tries it out for size
It fits him nicely, shades his eyes
Protecting from the noise and din
His lively brain and cheeky grin.

His pristine mind is in full flow
As imagination starts to grow
In a Bob-the-Builder dream today
He acts the role in his own play!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

"Bob The Builder" was a UK children's TV show: 1998-2012.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Talking Turkey on Thanksgiving Day

Turkey's often in the news
The country, not the feathered bird,
But on Thanksgiving Day, I choose
This noble fowl – my heart is stirred!

Trussed up and roasted, steaming hot
Chestnut stuffing in its breast
Glazed root veggies, unctuous stock
And Pumpkin pie, dear Grandma's best!

Recalling settlers long ago,
Rich harvests blessed with Indian corn
Survival then was touch and go
New homeland loyalty was born.

But First Americans had no voice
They had not come on Ocean ship
And Brother Turkey had no choice
Both henceforth on a one-way trip …

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

A Bumpy Ride?

Promises! Promises! - often heard
Some dramatic, some absurd
Press coverage across the Pond
Quick off the mark, went far beyond...

Now Red Tie builds his home brand team
America has a New Dream!
Or New Deal - we are not sure
Obama's policies still score …

But disquiet and unrest persist
What cards does Trump hold in his fist?
More bedfellows climb aboard
Climate re-think – new accord...

With power in Gemini's tight hands
Washington - on shifting sands
The scene will change a whole lot more;
At this point we can't see the shore …

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Donald Trump born 14th June, 1946 ...

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Archer

Followers of William Tell
Know the “apple-shot-off-boy's-head” well
Then there's Robin, he of the Green Hood
Near Nottingham, whose aim was good.

And what of Cupid with his bow?
A classy shot – as we all know
The Arrow - symbol of direction
On roads and internet connection...

The bowman's skill – once our defence
Victorious against the French*
At Agincourt; the fletcher's pride
Feathered death lies side by side...

Radio Four has Archers too
Ambridge tales of derring-do!
Sagittarius – astral sign
One of the twelve – and it is mine!

With words as weapons from the start
The Poet-Archer shoots each dart
The target often out of sight
But with luck the aim is right!

The sun moves into Sagittarius on 21st November

*Henry V trounced the French at Agincourt in 1415.

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Monday, 21 November 2016

What Have We Unleashed?

Life's complicated – Man contrives
To understand; how hard he tries
To sift the chaff out of the way
But cannot constantly make hay.

Data floods out from the Net
It's all too much, we can't connect
The filing system in our brain
Goes into meltdown with the strain.

Remember how it used to be -
Typewriters, telex and CD?
Now it's constant streaming, CNN
“Burn out” was unknown – back then.

Innovations bring dramatic breezes
New dynamics, new diseases
Topsy-turvy wars still rage
Human madness – centre stage.

We see change in the air writ large
I mention no names – make no charge
But cracks appear in many Nations:
Era of mass hallucinations!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Friday, 18 November 2016

Brussels City Museum

Ornate and Renaissance in style
The “King's House” or “Bread Hall” awhile
Reborn in 19th century guise
The Brussels banner proudly flies.

Wrought-iron railings, studded door
Three floors of history to explore:
Tapestries, altarpieces, art
Statues and sculptures all take part.

Outstanding culture you will find
Skilled craftsmanship world class defined!
Up lofty stairs, stained glass in frames
The power of Charles the Fifth proclaims.

Scale model of the sleepy Senne
Prone to flooding now and then
With Ducal palace on the rise
The Grand'Place grows before our eyes.

A canal brings impetus to trade
A fortress built – Spain is afraid
Of Louis the Fourteenth who attacks
The city's heart - but it strikes back!

Peace, prosperity and parks at last
Neoclassic buildings spring up fast
Advent of industry and rail
Overcrowding - fountains fail.

Health hazard - cholera is found
The river must go underground...
Conduits the fountains now replace
All but one – with cheeky face ...

Manneken-Pis with vast array
Of costumes on top floor display
Stands proudly forth in birthday suit
Symbol of Brussels – pert and cute!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

To Crown it All!

Belgium's monarchy is young:
Three Leopolds trip off the tongue
Two Alberts, Baudouin, Philip I
And Regent Charles make the full sum...

As Saint Leopold had dynastic clout
His feast-day soon was singled out
To celebrate the new régime
So 15th November now is seen

As Dynasty day; where King and kin
A Te Deum dutifully will sing
While politicians override
Their differences and step aside...

As Leopold was a German choice
All our Germanophones rejoice
They also celebrate today
70,000 have a holiday!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

First King of the Belgians Leopold I of Saxe-Coburg-Saarfeld - sworn in as king on 21st July, 1831.

Monday, 14 November 2016

A Whole Lot of Shakin' goin' on!

New Zealand on the Ring of Fire
Trembles – the effect is dire
7.8 in magnitude
Two dead - South Isle in sombre mood.

Alas, this is no rare event
As the tectonic plates have rent
Christchurch a few years ago
Much damage - reconstruction slow...

This time the sea reserves surprises
A tsunami, 8 feet high, soon rises
And rolls relentlessly to shore
As after-shocks cause fear once more.

This “Deja Vu” seems so unfair;
More power cuts impede repair
Struck badly twice in one decade
No wonder nerves are raw and frayed.

Mother Nature can't be tamed
So politics cannot be blamed
Or is this upheaval meant
As a sign the world is not content?

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

13th-14th November, 2016

Friday, 11 November 2016

A Tribute to Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)

He sang of solitude and sex
Relationships fraught and complex
With a warm faith that touched our heart
Leonard – why did you have to part?

Poems and songs of deep malaise
Reflecting youth's tumultuous days
His Sixties' “Suzanne” by the river
In many of us sends a shiver …

Folk music, cabaret and stage
On the Isle of Wight - with Hendrix plays!
His gravelly voice will haunt our dreams
His words have tapped into deep seams...

Subconsciously we hear him still
He caught our mood, morose or thrill
Modest, unassuming, kind
His trademark black hat was a blind

His face in shadow so we heard
And tuned into each poignant word
Montreal claims him for their own
His sudden death means we're alone.

Finger-on-the-pulse through six decades
Leonard Cohen's music never fades
His passing cuts me like a knife...
Hallelujah for his life!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Died 10th November, 2016

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Luna Magic

The Bard's “inconstant orb” draws near;
In mid-November, this pale sphere
Will reach its perigee* at last
An event that rarely comes to pass.

Elliptical - its orbit shape
Our silver moon will often take
Aeons before it looms in sight
Like a Christmas bauble in the night.

An illusion that it grows in size
Hovering above our eyes
Its limpid glow wakes poets' muse
Juliet and Romeo enthuse...

Once in a Blue Moon, it will come
Reflecting our life-giving sun
Just briefly over Trump's high towers
This lunar loveliness is ours...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

* The Super Moon - 14th November, 2016

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

In Uncharted Territory

An avalanche has just occurred!
Europe in its core is stirred
Red, White and Blue have made their choice
America has a new voice.

Hillary concedes defeat;
The Clinton era in retreat
The People desperate for change
Have picked a guy who's out of range.

Not from the Military or Law
It's Politics where he must score,
A businessman with mixed success
Poised for the White House spot – no less!

Will D.C.'s bubble now be burst?
Trump claims he'll put the US first
Yet on this most auspicious day
World leaders bide their time – and pray …

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Day of Judgement at the Polls

You may search for answers but more questions come
Grab frantically at straws - find there are none
The uncertainty felt in our bones is real
We stumble for the light; our senses reel.

The Election that takes place in Fifty States
Which we've followed and discussed in fierce debates
Only serves to prove we're on the brink
Of a dramatic change – what should we think?

As these lines appear upon my empty screen
It occurs to me to wonder if the Dream
Of a better, brighter world for one and all
Has on November 8th begun to pall...

Obama plays some sport, he's off the hook
The Candidates vote early and they look
Exhausted after this long campaign trail
With so much money spent – who now will fail?

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

November 9th - Trump wins the Presidency!

Monday, 7 November 2016

Politics - 2016

'Art of the possible' we learn
It's High Noon, folks - without the gun
In the run for office, tables turn
Ideals have lured in more than one.

Agendas groan with would-be goals
Damage limitation - smart
Out-reach to undecided souls
Tensions run high in each camp!

Politics - the game they play
With the finish line ahead at last
Think 'crash and burn' time either way
Whichever candidate runs past...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Politics is the Art of the Possible ...

Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Role of the Life Coach

When several coaches get together
(No trains involved in this endeavour)
Each has a viewpoint quite unique
Tensions mount – each wants to speak

And tune into another's needs
Access anxieties - for fees
When reassurance, help, support
And encouragement are sought.

Psychology and a gentle touch
Good listening – maybe French or Dutch
As coaches don't know who will call
And this is Belgium after all!

The human brain besieged by stress
Was not invented to process
Excessive data; and sensation
On all sides leads to frustration...

These kindly folk help pave the way
To a less emotional display
But it's hard to pause, reflect, take stock
When our fragile egos take a knock...

So, how well do they do their task?
Much hands-on training makes them ask
Is this approach the way to go
As progress, when it comes, is slow...

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

At the U.L.B.

Networking runs through all our lives
But some link-ups are a surprise
Chance encounters open doors
And don't subscribe to logic laws!

Take Friday – in my role as guide
I took a small group deep inside
The bowels of Brussels to the drains
To explain what happens when it rains!

A cultural trip in many ways
Where rats scamp freely in the maze
Their scaly tails grip grimy walls
Their home-from-home has lethal spores!

With my group one hour I spend
“Can I have your card?” comes at the end;
“You're a guide AND poet! Is that right?”
Which explains my presence here tonight!

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

Introducing myself at the European Poetry and Literature Association conference
poetry reading evening - held at the Université Libre de Bruxelles on 29/10 - after meeting them at the Brussels Sewer Museum!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

An Intellectual Black Hole?

Facebook quizzes are a blast:
“What was your job in centuries past?”
“What's your personality hue?
Is it yellow, red, green tinge or blue?”

“Which Disney character could you play?”
“Describe yourself in one word, pray!”
Each one a catchy, fake request
Yet who succumbs and takes the test?

In the busy lives that we all lead
These conundrums tend to slow our speed;
Trite answers that won't fool a child,
But where are the results stockpiled?

(c) Poet in the woods 2016