Thursday, 29 June 2017


With the River just a memory now
Canals North-South our waterway
The Brussels' Powers-that-Be endow
The quays with sand and palms that sway.

Bruxelles-les-Bains or Brussel-Bad
Is a feature citizens enjoy
In deck chairs cocktails can be had
A «By the Sea» for hoi polloi!

Mojitos: lime with rum and mint
Are welcome on a sultry day
It's nice to hear those ice cubes clink
And imagine you are far away!

Music concerts, sports and games
The programme at week-ends is charged
The stalls all have exotic names
Their lists and menus written large.

OK, it's not the Côte d'Azur
Or Costa Brava down in Spain
But it has its own unique allure
Just don't go there in the rain!

(Quai des Peniches - 17th Edition)
6th July - 12th August 2018

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Monday, 26 June 2017


As you scroll down on the Internet
In search of some elusive fact
Temptation in your way will step
Lurid headlines try to trap

Your interest, or maybe a quiz
Annoying adverts catch your eye
«Pop-ups» put you in a tizz
Your concentration blown sky-high!

Hail to the short attention span!
Modern children find it tough
To read a book through but they can
Surf until they've had enough.

In gentler times, not long ago
Letter writing was an art
Newspapers kept you «in the know»
And TV played a major part.

Now knowledge comes in tidy bytes
Pre-packaged with a point of view
An avalanche of smart «insights»
But I think for myself, don't you?

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Thomas Scales new Heights!

Ups and downs, hills and dales
Life's a journey – wind in sails
Small boys make progress at great speed
The daily challenge is a need!

Wee Thomas, edging on to four,
Loves climbing – so much to explore
On sunny days why stay inside
When you can zoom down on a slide?

Steep steps beckon – off you go
Hold on tight and take it slow
A moment later you're on top
Survey the scene then down you drop.

The confidence of Thomas grows
His lust for freedom clearly shows
Amazing what these playgrounds teach
Brand new summits within reach!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Saturday, 24 June 2017

In a Sweat!

It's humid – shades of Seventy-Six
May-September on hot bricks
Standpipes, buckets in long queues
Yellow grasslands make the news!

Farmers mopping dripping brows
Pasture land too parched for cows
Restrictions: «Please don't wash your car!»
Empty shelves – no bottled «Spa».

Yet these extremes breed customs new
Picnics under skies of blue
Resorts along the coast do well
And ice-cream vendors sell – and sell!

My terrace flowers shoot up fast;
Unbidden, tough weeds grow too – blast!
We swelter, wear hats, carry fans
Gardeners wield big watering cans.

The ground is hard and powder dry
And not a rain cloud in the sky
The reservoirs at all-time low
Make life for farmers touch and go.

But people smile and wear bright clothes
Or sit in parks to read or doze;
We know the rains will surely come
But in the meantime – let's have fun!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Friday, 23 June 2017

What a Nice Bit of Skirt!

The heat pokes fun at silly laws;
When it's sweltering indoors
Boys and teachers find it hard
To wear long trousers, but are barred

From wearing shorts – it's just NOT done ...
But a loophole has been found – what fun!
They turn up in white ties and shirts
but instead of trousers, pleated skirts!

The genius of it – it's not new
The Scots are expert at it too!
We revel in this scorching heat
As men in skirts are a rare treat!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

At the Gare Centrale

So it's «Shoot to kill!» time once again
Armed soldiers do their bit
A slight fire somewhere near the train
Then the Terrorist is hit.

Station cordoned off, delays
Blue lights converge on site
Fear stalks again in summer haze
Security is tight.

Aghast, we scroll down on the web
Is there no one we can trust?
Our joie de vivre at a low ebb
As we try to earn our crust...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

On 20th June, 2017

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

In Memory of Karen

Warm day in June with sweet perfume
Rose petals fall – it is too soon
Our dear friend - known for her kind heart
And radiance - has lost her spark.

There are no words – she slips away
Unconscious, free of pain today
Her spirit soars just out of reach
We clutch at straws to fill the breach ...

The fragility of life's fine thread
We could wish it stronger, but instead
It was soft and rich with golden sheen
And wove with memories a dream.

Brave Andrew left with his fair Rose
Surrounded by the friends he knows
Such sweet families are rare;
We all loved Karen and we care.

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

(Karen Boreham-Garside: 9th May 1957 - 7th June 2017)

Written for her funeral in Boitsfort on 20th June, 2017.

Watery Thoughts

The shadows shorten – the sun climbs
The heat dissolves all thoughts of rhymes;
While walking to the shops I think
What would I not give – for a drink!

There's talk of drought in Belgium; really?
The water table drops quite clearly
The Walloon Region is too dry
What happens if a spark should fly?

In Portugal the forests burn*
Too many deaths; when will they learn
To build away from leafy glade?
Great scenery but early grave ...

Water - now known as «Blue Gold»
Brings life to crops, turns wheat to gold
But too much sunshine is a curse
Rain must quench Dame Nature's thirst ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

* Causing 84 deaths.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

BREXIT - Action Stations!

So - talks on BREXIT now begin
Brits flock to Brussels and look grim
This game of consequences seems
To cloud the issues, breaking dreams.

We're an island, thriving on free trade
So you'd think the E.U. had it made
But die-hards scared of immigrants
Bought into the «Get out!» stance.

Reels of red tape must be cut
The Bank of England may 'tut-tut'
We've bitten off what we can't chew
Legislation has a lasting glue.

Screaming headlines just last year
Proclaiming BREXIT were quite clear:
The E.U. was a big mistake
Our sovereignty at stake!

The die is cast, we've made our choice
(Though Brits in Europe had no voice)
Brussels brokers this debate
I hold my breath – what is our fate?

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Friday, 16 June 2017

Waiting in De Lijn

Not all are locked on mobile phones
Or wired-for-sound, like detached clones
Today at bus stop for De Lijn
Going out of town this time

I engaged in brief but friendly chat
With a would-be passenger, who sat
With her daughter who's impaired
And cannot go alone – too scared...

Entitled to a special pass
They travel free, but it's not fast
Though buses go in all directions
Iffy schedules – missed connections.

Sadly, she's not learned to drive
So she and daughter daily strive
To keep appointments via the bus;
It's complicated, causes fuss.

Normally I have my car
So lunch in Hoeilaart isn't far
But it was garaged for repair ...
Hence De Lijn to get me there!

A chance encounter – food for thought
Bus transport out-of-town is fraught
I now realise how she feels;
How easy for those who have wheels...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Pulled up Short - Again!

I would not wish to jolt your day
But another neighbour's passed away
That makes five in just one week
And pulls the rug out from my feet!

That life is fleeting is not news
It's hard sometimes to pick up clues
We cannot always understand
What's happening – much is unplanned.

When did we see our dear friends last?
How many months have now gone past ...
When we rang to say hello
Did we realise they were feeling low?

Death comes, alas, in many guises
At every age there are surprises
Illness, accident, neglect
Or suicide slips through life's net...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Generous June

A blank page – what can I report?
This is a challenge dearly bought
My readership grows day by day
I wonder what I'm going to say ...

I scour the headlines – Trump and May
Continue on their own sweet way
Earthquake in Greece* – in minor key
West London flats** fire – kids jump free...

No deep thoughts bubble through my brain:
End year exams in schools again
Too early for the summer sales
Each garden now much work entails.

You could say all is set at fair
What's the rush? Let's stop and stare
With parks and gardens at their best
Time to slow down – take a rest ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

* Off the coast of Athens on 13/6 - no deaths
**Grenfell Tower fire, West London 14/6 - 80 confirmed deaths ...

Monday, 12 June 2017


There are days which fragilise the soul
Cracks which appear and take their toll
For many moons all has been well
Then sad news comes - you just can tell...

A chance encounter – twice today
I learned of friends who'd passed away
And on a notice board I saw
The 'faire-part' of a couple more...

Life is not stable, carved in stone
Fate intervenes – you're left alone
Wondering why friends had to part
Leaving footprints in your heart...

That life is finite we all know
Since birth we sense that it is so
Hence each in turn will leave the Room
Many, sadly, far too soon ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Thoughts in the Shower

Damp hair from shower fits my mood
Bedraggled, washed out; thoughts intrude
What a week - sad death of friend
And two lives which will never mend...

«C'est la vie» as the French say
The irony blows me away;
Our earthly presence a short span
Oh, the fragility of Man!

Yet we touch lives, love, are sought after
Engender wonderment and laughter
Make inroads on friends' minds and hearts
Which linger as the soul departs...

My thoughts and hair in disarray
I towel my head and start my day ...
Sadness tinged with happy times
But life must go on - the sun shines ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

In memory of Karen Boreham-Garside, a wonderful neighbour and friend
who died on 7th June, 2017 ...

Friday, 9 June 2017

UK - Election Results!

Politics – a high-risk game
Do shuffled cards come out the same?
52 - one for each week
Their positions alter as we speak.

No landslide victory this time round;
«Hung parliament» has a hollow sound
Labour gains across the board
But only one Green card has scored.

The buck stops here, to our disMAY
Who I wonder wins the day?
BREXIT looms in a new form
Will «soft» or «hard» now be the norm?

Many, sleep-deprived, observe
How the PM suffers loss of nerve
The SNP stays out in front
But Wales and N.I. bear the brunt.

No clear-cut mandate as surmised
But is the outcome a surprise?
The Island People spoke their mind
But their ducks are not aligned!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

P.M. Theresa May called a snap election for 8th May, 2017

Sunday, 4 June 2017

By London Bridge

Blue skies, the buzzing of a midge
On Island of Elizabeth ...
Now barricades on London Bridge;
A barmy evening marred by death.

Once heads of traitors were on show
A gory past we had forgot
But history does repeat we know
In an instant we turn back the clock...

Unsuspecting, crowded bars
Tourists – several of them French
Chatting under summer stars
The clink of beers at wooden bench.

Three evil spirits break the spell
Onslaught of a knife attack
A scene of blood, a modern Hell
Puts politicians on the rack...

First Manchester*, still grieving now
For children and their shattered dreams;
We must protect ourselves – but how?
Death comes in brand new ways it seems...

This ancient bridge oft built anew
Once thrived with busy stalls and shops
But now presents a starker view:
Mangled bodies, shell-shocked cops...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

* On 22nd May, 2017

3rd June, 2017: 7 deaths and many wounded ...

Heads on spikes ...

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Wisdom of Animals

We all love pets; sometimes it seems
This special bond betwixt us means
Time to relate sans needless stress
No backchat so love stands the test!

Always thrilled when you come home
Providing solace when alone
They purr (or bark and wag their tail);
Friendship on a mega scale.

Who cares if mongrel or pure breed?
Their warm heart gives you all you need
Companionship, a sense of self
Fidelity their greatest wealth.

Whereas people just might let you down
Sometimes a smile is met with frown
Irritation, anger, lack of time
Our selfish nature on the line...

Yes, friends with animals show care
Despite their schedules they are there
To listen, talk or lend a hand
They weave in life a magic strand!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Friday, 2 June 2017

On a June Day

Swallows greet us with sharp cries
With nests in Beaulieu – a surprise
They swoop across the shining rails
Visiting cards leave mucky trails!

Down our busy street next to the wood
Under wooden gutters they make good
Their short-lived homes with moss and twig,
And loop-the-loop - their favourite gig!

One swallow does not a summer make
But there are many – no mistake!
Blue skies seem set at fair – but hark
Storms threaten Brussels after dark ...

There are buds and insects in profusion
This rich increase is no illusion
Nature in her brightest garb
Catches this Poet off her guard...

Politics has gory sights
More scheming lords than shining knights!
But Mother Nature in full glory
Provides the most enduring story!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Swallow nests

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Repartee of Thomas!

My handsome nephew grows and learns
Frustrated, peeved and smart by turns
Take breakfast, which he eats with Dad,
He fiddles with his food, gets mad -

When told that time is on the wing
As Daddy's patience can wear thin;
«Time to clear the plates away,
Thomas, we've not got all day!»

«Stop whinging, Lad!» is the refrain
As eating slowly is a pain...
Thomas takes these words on board
And in his brain they're carefully stored...

«Meal's nearly over, quickly now!»
Is met with gently furrowed brow
Then cheeky grin: «Stop whinging, Dad!»
Skilled with repartee – our lad!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Thomas - aged 3 and a half