Tuesday, 28 February 2017

A Meditation on Ash Wednesday

First day of Lent – fasting begins
Time to think of higher things
The Devout bear ashen-cross on brow
Remembrance of Palm Sunday now.

In the hurly-burly of our lives
Strange that this custom still survives
So when did you last see this Cross?
Religion's grip is faint - our loss...

And as for fasting 40 days
In memory of Christ's desert phase ...
Post-carnival - which means meat-free
Who understands why this should be?

As winter dragged on, years ago
The salted meat was first to go
People lived on grains and bread
The Easter lamb lay weeks ahead ...

But in a time of glut and greed
Of these traditions there's no need;
Who will eat a steak today?
More than go to church to pray ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Monday, 27 February 2017

The Japanese take a Stand!

«When Ignorance is bliss
'Tis Folly to be wise»
This, Thomas Gray's* superb bon mot
Should come as no surprise

With the media frenzy at its height
The Japanese refuse
To translate Donald's sharp sound byte
On the national news.

Startled, shocked or maybe smart
As it would cause offence
With a lack of logic at its heart
It defies plain common sense...

So, Translators of the World - Unite!
When faced with text that's tricky
Should you adapt to make it right
Or refuse to take the Mickey?

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

* Thomas Gray was an English poet, letter-writer, classical scholar and professor at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He is widely known for his Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, published in 1751.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Beware a Woman Scorned!

A strange quotation* caught my eye:
How women are angels and they fly
Above the clouds with gossamer wings
Gentle, fragile loving things...

Their graceful beauty, frail but sweet
Makes them resilient; when they meet
A man who wants to kerb their flight
By snapping off their wings, they might

Not take this “liberty” as read
But soar above his brazen head
Clinging to a broomstick tight
Turning his days to darkest night!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

* "Women are Angels, when someone breaks our wings, we simply continue to fly on a broomstick, we're flexible like that …"

A Lone Voice?

This poet pens a line or two
On events that catch her roving eye
Themes familiar painted new
All craziness is worth a try!

The TV News airs what is bad:
Scandals, accidents, disaster
Good things are missed, and that is sad
Horrors catch the viewers faster!

An indictment on our mindset now;
In micro-bytes, caught on the fly
Life's balance is upset - and how!
What is Truth and what's a Lie?

A Certain Person – views extreme
Pervades our consciousness; it's weird
Anxiety invades the screen
Shades of the Thirties have appeared...

My thoughts are veiled; the poet's task
Is to reveal in subtle ways
Questions many fear to ask:
Am I alone to fear this phase?

In deviousness of course well schooled
Our politicians' smiles are meant
To allay fears - but we're not fooled
We thinking souls see their intent...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

R.I.P. Dédée (1927-2013)

I returned home from Australia
To the snow and some bad news
My long-time Belgian ma-in-law
Had paid her lifetime dues.

At eighty-five the cancer had
Reached to her very soul
She suffered four months in her bed
And died at home – her goal.

The last time that I saw her
She wore a woolly hat
As the chemo had destroyed her hair
And made her round face flat.

I think of Bob, whose love for her
Grew stronger through the years
And hope he’ll find the courage
To fight on through the tears...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Died 15.1.2013

A Case of Lethargy

As it's cold and damp outside
Feeling smug - emails replied!
The damned clock ticks but I've no clues
Awaiting answers means no news.

The drizzle weighs my soul down fast;
I wonder - is the cold snap past?
Could I be caught in 'winter blues'?
The temptation of a 5-star cruise ...

There's a rumbling in the street below
A concrete mixer – on the go
No local cars can now squeeze by
Boitsfort cut off – high and dry!

My sense of isolation grows:
This mid-week day is one of those
When my 'get-up-and-go' takes flight
Procrastination grips me tight ...

I've done my best, thrown out my net
But somehow I cannot connect;
The echo of a ringing phone
Serves to remind me - I'm alone!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Out of Sight, not Out of Mind!

I hugged him tight then waved my hand
But perhaps he did not understand
The airport trip meant fond farewell;
Dragging my suitcase I could tell

My departure into deep blue skies
Would come perhaps as a surprise
The distance vast - by him unknown
Reduced to chats on screen, by 'phone...

Though I did not see him every day
My presence meant fun games to play
We've bonded - family links abound
He was happy when I was around.

So two weeks down the track it came
Puzzled, Thomas called my name
Where had I gone? Auntie in bliss
How wonderful to be so missed!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Monday, 20 February 2017

Braving the Chill

On this winter's day the light is pale
Mulched up leaves leave soggy trail
Neighbours' dogs have left their mark
On the outside pavement – in the dark...

Criss-cross branches gently sway
Fledgling birds now forge their way
Dank murky puddles in my street
A chill wind blows – the view is bleak.

My much-loved boots are down at heel
In a way, they look much as I feel
Worn out in the cold and wet
Showing sure signs of neglect!

Winter drags its feet for sure
So a walk is called for to explore
The woodland just behind my home
A quiet escape – without my 'phone...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Thursday, 16 February 2017

A Smart Move

When it's warm and sunny – my heart sings
The sun's a spur to “go do” things
Belgium's blue skies are quite rare
So time to act – rise off my chair!

I think of those condemned to sit
For hours each day; they cannot quit
Their I.T. screens or databases
It's a stagnant life when no blood races …

A health risk - all this sitting still
Doctors warn us there's no pill
To compensate for static pose
Sport is the answer, Heavens knows!

Yes, the human body needs to move
Death threatens those stuck in a groove
So I give myself a special treat
A midday walk in sun-drenched street!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Tiredness Pique!

Jet-lag shakes me to the core
At dawn I'm three hours up and more
Not hungry lunchtime - want to snooze
My brain and body all confused.

With a big suitcase to unpack
My 'get-up-and-go' is flat
A washing pile is soon outspread
Christmas cards remain unread ...

Some bills to pay but they can wait;
The fridge is in a sorry state:
Some frozen items, a few tins
But no fresh veg for evening dins!

Listless, I go out and shop
Fatigue defeats me – I must stop
Yet I'm startled by a ringing phone
Peace shattered - someone knows I'm home...

An invitation or a tour?
Or a friend who wants to know the score?
Two months' absence take their toll
Though tired - let the good times roll!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Monday, 6 February 2017

Thomas hits the Heights

The learning curve my nephew reaches
Is marvellous – it leaves me speechless
He’s barely three, yet mind and word
Form dialogues – my muse is stirred…

He’s fearless – with his water wings
He jumps right in the pool – and swims!
He has no fear and that is great
Watch him climb out at rapid rate!

He knows his mind and may refuse
To tow the line; he picks up clues
Facial expressions he can read
Intriguingly, he’s up to speed!

Though he scatters toys when he’s at play
He’s learned to put them all away
When bedtime comes, He does not fight
Quick story read - then switched off light!

Thomas’s smile rewards his Dad
Who gazes fondly at his lad
Such happiness from one so small
Means this family has a ball!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Love What you Do

“Love what you do”, it seems to me
Is such a great philosophy
I saw this sign in Queensland store
When with a friend, not far from shore.

It struck me like the sparkling sun
As a great way one’s own life to run
But how many of us reach this goal
And pour balm on our troubled soul?

In the quest for status and prestige
Strong but worthless aims besiege
Our lives - our bolt falls short
Stress and greed make us distraught.

Being of a philosophic turn,
Fun in my job beats what I earn
The taxman takes a modest cut
But this guide is never in a rut.

Updating tours with new research
Means I’m serene upon my perch
“Doing what I love”, a lifestyle choice:
How can I therefore not rejoice?

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Thursday, 2 February 2017

True Craftsmanship

What a joy to knit or stitch and sew
And have some “craft work” on the go.
These ladies meet in spacious hall
Bursting with talent – one and all!

A basketful of knitted bears
Proof positive that someone cares
While patchwork squares make bags unique
And table mats go down a treat!

A bag of orphan woollen skeins
Are on offer if you take the pains
To create a toy or coloured gloves
For distant, needy little loves.

Neat stitches, all learned at a class
Appear on linen as I pass
These nimble fingers have such skill
That watching them gives me a thrill!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017