Thursday, 31 August 2017

A Snapshot of the Grand'Place

What did Gide* say of this square?
It's theatre in the open air!
A city's history, built in stone
To Burgundy a second home.

Its Gothic Town Hall, graceful spire
Witnessed executions dire
Once thriving market, bakers' hall
Destroyed in French fire, now stands tall.

Showplace of rich corporations
Medieval groupings of nine nations
Proud bold Baroque with Flemish touch
Grand'Place is Grote Markt in Dutch.

A UNESCO listed, stunning site
With son-et-lumière at night
In sun its gilded gables gleam
If life is coffee, it's the cream!

Its discreet hotel has stunning views;
Its beer museum, local brews
Chocolate heaven – tempting wares
Quaint taverns with carved wooden stairs.

Famous visitors of note:
Karl Marx and Victor Hugo - gloat
Their plaques still proudly on display
Maybe you'll join them today?

Flags, festivals and Ommegang
For a thousand years the cobbles rang
With footsteps of the Great and Bold
Yes, still today pageants unfold!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

* André Gide (1869-1951) "Quel riche théâtre!"

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Porte de Halle

Last bastion of great city walls
That girded Brussels long ago
This «medieval» landmark soars
Above two lanes of traffic flow.

Once fortress, granary and gate
Prison and archives dépot
Its survival gave rise to debate
The Dutch decreed it should not go.

Re-built in neo-Gothic style
By Beyaert, the King's protégé
In granite, brick and turret tile
It has a "Disney" look today.

Perched on an outcrop, facing Spain
With pre-Renaissance themed displays
Modern pilgrims come again
To imagine life in bygone days.

A Galicia monument nearby
Recalls this much-trod pilgrim route
While silent cannons face the sky
Their role in our defence is moot!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Monday, 28 August 2017

More Aftershocks ...

Hurricane Harvey sweeps the Coast
Houston Texas suffers most
The Lone Star State in deluge caught
Low-lying areas are fraught...

While Nature shows us all who's boss
A world away Japan is cross
As Kim Jong Un plays with his toys
'The Mouse Who Roared'* makes a loud noise.

Uncertainty in different spheres
Life as we know it, ends in tears
At least the sky is blue today
With no eclipse to make it grey!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

* 1959 Film starring Peter Sellers and Jean Seberg

Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Last Gasp of Summer

Wow! It's still warm as August ends
«La Rentrée» beckons; drinks with friends
All buzzing with new tales to tell
September catch-ups augur well!

Floods of snaps on Instagram
Exotic locations in the can
From near and far and the unknown
Is no one missing Home Sweet Home?

I like the respite summer brings;
Contrast to BSF* that zings
With concerts, fireworks, walks with guide(!)
And exhibitions – held outside.

Dear chaotic Brussels is compact
With intermittent cycle track
But with many quaint streets to explore
This guide is happy to learn more!

*Brussels Summer Festival

(c) Poet in the Woods 2017

Friday, 25 August 2017

Intuitive Thomas!

Time passes, Mummy's tummy grows:
Dad takes Thomas on his knee
He feels it's time that Thomas knows
That soon they will be four, not three.

How to broach this family news?
At nearly four, his wit is sharp
Dad wants to canvas his son's views
It's problematic – where to start?

But Thomas looks up, child-care smart
As Dad explains a babe is due;
«A sister, please» comes from the heart;
The scan confirms that this is true!

We're all amazed, how could he know?
Wee Isabella lies concealed
His intuition in full flow
Post Christmas* - all will be revealed!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

*Born 21st December, 2017

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Sounds Familiar?

Light frisson as I step outside
Late August – sun plays seek and hide!
Rush hour - spare seats on the tram
Time to muse because I can ...

I'm lost in thought when mobiles buzz
This frequent irritation does
Make fellow travellers check their phone:
Who's calling? Business, friend or home?

I catch the mood – the need to know
Sets bored, tired faces all aglow
A general fumbling begins
Till the buzzing stops and someone grins.

How life has changed these past few years
Electronic noises in our ears
All wired for sound, we're miles away
Who dares to pass the time of day?

Now I'm all for progress – of a sort
As modern life is often fraught
With stress and 'burn out' on the rise,
But - is the way we're going wise?

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

For Angela - at Forty!

A wee thought flickers through my mind
Are my calculations kind?
Is this the year you start anew?
At Forty – it's the thing to do.

So much achieved – a sharp-eyed son
And in the bakery – a bun
Although the secret's wisely kept
You'll soon know whom to expect...

So your birthday this year is big news
I'd come to Oz if I could choose
But a world away means that I come
With greetings to a special Mum!

Words, warm thoughts and hugs I send
You know I care and am your friend
Take it easy – but for goodness' sake
Do enjoy some birthday cake!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Disruption - on a Grand Scale!

Brussels and roadworks make a pair
Yellow and blue barricades
«Déviation» signs are everywhere
Pipes and sewers need «upgrades».

Journeys now take twice as long
Transit buses out of sight
Timetables often simply wrong;
A half-hour wait - or deadline tight!

Asphalt mixers, stacked-up bricks
Deep trenches dug in clay and sand
Teams of workmen come to fix
Our cobbled streets, bare-backed – and tanned!

In theory, long hours, sunny days
Should translate into work soon done
But progress slows in summer haze;
Watch where you put your feet, old son!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Elijah Immanuel Kerby

The luckiest patriarch alive
Is Miles, whose tribe has grown to five!
As Tim and Sheena blessed with love
Have a precious bundle from above.

Our Kerby clan now grows apace;
Over Internet the brand new face
Of Elijah wrapped in swaddling clothes
Mass of dark hair, cheeky nose,

Peeps out for all of us to see
A new star on the Christmas tree!
Fast asleep - content and warm
A perfect son, November born.

Immanuel is his second name
It means “God with us”, that is plain
No one could have a better start
He’s left his footprints in our heart!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Monday, 21 August 2017

Struck Dumb!

Whitechapel foundry cast the Bell
Which took a full two weeks to cool
Pugin's last design bode well
He went mad later – that was cruel!

In Gothic splendour it resides
Iconic symbol on Thamesside
Its chimes more frequent than the tides
At 96 metres, London's pride.

Majestic, much loved, bold Big Ben
A giant timepiece now struck dumb
Four years before it's heard again
Its vow of silence has begun.

At a cost of millions, so we hear
Full overhaul and shining face
This British landmark has no peer
Though a stone's throw from the «Other Place»!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Sunday, 20 August 2017

No Immunity in Turku!

Who still dares to watch the news
Or listen to the radio?
In crowded places, Europe-wide
Lurk terrorists – now in Turku!

Finland, northern land of lakes
Where Father Christmas crafts our toys
Rarely horror headlines makes;
Stays on the sidelines and enjoys

A peaceful lifestyle: skis and ships
Sibelius, Aalto, Nokia phones
Then suddenly the image shifts
Surprise attack – and more dead bones ...

Is nowhere safe? The threat remains
Fanaticism on the rise
Injustice many converts claims
Inured to death - who shatter lives ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Saturday, 19 August 2017

R.I.P. Bruce Forsyth (1928-2017)

«Nice to meet you, to meet you, nice!»
That sums up Brucie in a trice
After such a long career
Seventy-five years the Beeb makes clear

Your smile and cheeky repartee
And twinkly eyes, have ceased to be...
Mainstay of Palladium stage
When Variety was all the rage

You trod those boards with tap-dance feet
Not many have skills that compete.
Stage presence, dapper, in control
With audiences, on a roll!

Panto and Generation Game
Suave performer, household name
In «Strictly» once more right out front
Not adverse to a tap-dance stunt!

Long after many had retired
Past eighty, you were still inspired!
Down here the show must still go on
But it is hard now you are gone...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Died 18th August, 2017

Friday, 18 August 2017

Bereaved Barcelona

Disaster strikes, this time in Spain
Van driver, crazed, intent to maim
Speeds through La Rambla; fourteen die
Many wounded; hue and cry...

Lightning attack, devoid of warning;
Barcelona, scarred, in mourning
Fine city now in sombre mood;
A sense of horror will intrude

On those who saw it all unfold;
Sagrada Familia's heart grows cold...
Then Cambrils, seventy miles away
Target of terrorists today.

A gas canister attack is foiled
Small comfort; many lives are spoiled
This reign of terror strikes us dumb
Is this the shape of things to come?

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

On 17.8.2017

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Celebrating India in Brussels!

Do you realise it is seventy years
Since Gandhi's cherished dream came true?
Partition - post the Raj - brought tears
Subcontinent split into two ...

Bold, fabled India took her chance
The rift, so great, could not be healed
Freedom - with a boil to lance ...
It was no level playing field.

Migration on a giant scale
Death and horror in the ranks
British negotiations fail
The last Viceroy will get no thanks.

The teeming millions wave their flag
Proud of their destiny diverse
From scorching plains to upmost crag
Mother India comes first!

Brussels a festival now hosts
With Indian spices, food and tea
What exotic flavours it now boasts
With dancing in a big marquee.

Artistic, henna-painted hands
Strange music wafting through the park
India comprises many strands
And each today leaves its own mark.

Cinquantenaire in August sun;
Crowds gather eagerly and queue
Tastes east-of-Suez will be fun;
Who thinks what Indians went through?

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Indian Festival in Brussels 12-13th August, 2017
Indian Independence: August 15th, 1947

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Bees cause a Buzz!

Cool day, I open garage door
A hectatomb of bees on floor!
Not quite knee-deep, but all the same
Mass murder by another name.

They've made a bee-line for the car!
They can't have come from very far
The neighbours have put up a hive
In forest nearby and have tried

To get a honey business going
The buzz is - this idea is growing!
How did the swarm land on my car?
I did not leave the door ajar...

Some heavy brush work cleaned the mess
Hot water for the car was best
Now clean and tidy – all resolved!
But the mystery remains unsolved ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Honey bee drawn by Sian Cook

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

R.I.P. Glen Campbell (1936-2017)

The Wichita Lineman is no more;
What a haunting voice! His lyrics soar
Into the concert in the sky;
Glen Campbell's music will not die.

Arkansas boy and Nashville teen
Youngest of seven on the scene
Massed audiences loved his guitar
He caught the mood, became a star.

His Rhinestone Cowboy topped the charts
His gentle tenor captured hearts
Did he get to Phoenix? I forget
He and Dolly Parton sung duet.

Galveston hums in my head ...
Between Pop and Country - his style led
To hours of happy listening time
Guess he stays Gentle on my mind...

But Alzheimer's caught him on the run ...
Sad news - his death at eighty-one;
Cool dude, relaxed and debonnaire
Whose songs still echo in my ear ...

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Died 8th August, 2017

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Here, Kitty, Kitty!

«World Cat Day», Folks is August 8
But how do felines celebrate?
Animal Welfare thinks this way
Every Puss should have her day!

Her fluffiness deserves this praise
Twitching whiskers, piercing gaze
Since birth she's coverted this spot
Till now her humans had forgot.

To award her elegance and poise
Pedigree Cat got squeaky toys!
But recognition comes at last
So she tilts her head when going past.

Pert, inscrutable and sharp
From scratch, she gains her owner's heart
Her frolics entertain, amuse
Her instagrams are Facebook news!

Playful Pussy has her moods
Thwarting her can be bad news
From purr to sharp claw in one step
When Madame's ego is upset!

The female deadlier than the male?
Watch out when she flicks her tail
But today of all days, she's serene
As even moggies lap up cream!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Monday, 7 August 2017

It's a Wrap!

What packaging we throw away!
Expanded polystyrene tray
Cellophane and plastic wraps
Plastic bottles, metal caps.

Ribbons, gift wrap, carrier bags
Cardboard loo rolls, freebie mags
Plastic nets for onions, fruit
Jars and beer cans follow suit...

Has it always been this way?
Potato peelings are OK
Teabags and coffee grounds compost
And cores of apples can be tossed!

Our precious forests must be saved!
Let's unite on this Crusade
And bring our own bag when we shop;
By thinking «Green», wastage will drop!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Saturday, 5 August 2017

On Staycation!

Hey! What today is headline news?
August's pace is slow
The poet casts round to enthuse
Where will the spotlight go?

Holiday photos flood the Net;
Suntanned, smiling faces
Rock climbing, cute streets in Provence
Beach-sports at seaside places.

To achieve this, travel is involved
Airport and crowded train
The traffic chaos can't be solved
So the stress remains the same!

On weather map, France shows deep red
Above forty degrees
An inferno everywhere you tread
No whisper of a breeze...

Back here «up North», the sun beams down
But its rays are less intense
We turn a gentler shade of brown
And save all that expense!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

Thursday, 3 August 2017

A Tribute to Prince Philip

Odd TV snippets whet my muse
The BBC has startling news
I'm half-awake – did I hear right?
Prince Philip – journalists' delight -

Is scaling back his public role;
At 96* – I find that droll!
Faithful consort of the Queen
Since '47, they're a team.

While most retire at sixty-five
The Royals, no time off, still strive
To show they're made of sterner stuff
But at over ninety, that's enough!

Scrutinized with eager eye
Slight indiscretions blown sky high
Scandal papers make a mint;
He can't react or give a hint

Of what he's feeling deep inside;
He protects the Monarchy with pride
So I take my hat off to the Duke
Who this week took his last salute!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017

* Born 21st April 1921

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Brussels behind Barricades!

The roadworks go on unabated
In Brussels this is understated
Craters, trucks and barricades
Chaos caused by digger spades!

Orange signs say «Déviation»
On every possible occasion,
The binmen struggle to go through
Caught up in the mayhem too.

New surfacing, new I.T. lines
Make parking difficult at times
Our main access road's a wreck
Please be careful where you step!

Place de Brouckère is much worse
Deep delving in the City purse,
Upheaval on a giant scale;
Passers-by leave muddy trail...

Across this wasteland, workmen swarm
Long summer days begin at dawn
Their actions all seem hit or miss
A World War bombsite looked like this!

(c) Poet in the woods 2017