Poems of the Month, December 2016

my young Afghan neighbour
nieuwe hoop voor CB

I love the Autumn
when chestnuts fall
and Belgian Boys
play bat and Ball.

Chicago girls
are hot and sweet
but Brugean lads
are hard to beat.

I am neither Blue nor Green.
I do not fight with oar and clubs
but take my bath on Sunday morn
and gaze at Mary’s soft round cubs.


Belgium, November ’16.
a sample of recent work
for Jason & Diane’s poetry circle

KNOWING I will not pick up
an alcoholic drink today
fills me with joy and courage
to forge ahead undaunted
for another twelve hours.

I’ve heard the Call at last –
blackbirds whistling NAB
on our garden wall.

Murphy’s Law is operating:
my keyboard jumps at every opportunity.

Thank you Amida my Belovèd
for bringing DAVID with his whistling ears
safely to Van Volden.

(a Flemish word for Armistice:
permission to stop shooting
till Hitler appears in 39.)
“You must be joking,
but I admit the threat is real.”

I adore the skirl of bagpipes
charging over the top,
sweating and stumbling until we drop.

Why no lasting peace? Vrede verdomme!
“When will they ever learn,
friends George Vermeersch and Jacques Blomme,
the oldest soldiers in our street
stumbling with sticks and tortured feet?

Went to the round up after a busy day
and heard our Little Mother say
(the mascot of our tight-knit group)
“Non voglio whisky, give me soup.”
We saw Saint Peter wash the dishes.

Many seeds were planted in that Irish bog,
undrained in San Francisco fog.
Went home to Mary, slept like a blessèd log.

Oh for a king-size bed like yours
and travellers snoring on the floors.
Nine eleven 16. God save the Queen.

Year of the Monkey hush-hush

Fanny lived to sixty
while John was picking grapes
in the yards of Pennsylvania
with Darwin and the Apes.

Maria has a GODDESS,
her Name is “Mother Earth”.
She gives us food and clothing
and brings us to a birth.

We’ve built a WALL around our “town”
to keep the children out –
on Monday morns in autumn
they love to twist and shout.

For John, Max and Navid,
the Johnsons, Misty and Tarika.

Seventeeners written in Connemara 02.09.16

The distant mountains seen through a giant window – almost touchable.

I can imagine Rita finding them eminently climbable.

Gazing at mountains is good for the soul, but climbing them is better.

There’s hardly a mountain in the West Rita’s friend Peter hasn’t climbed.

Wittgenstein and the Prince of Montenegro – both of them settled here.

Unfailingly Rita leads us to the Apple Pie Shop of Leenaun.

With mountains of cream and Bramleys from Irish orchards she’s satisfied.

Facing that Blackberry Café – a fjord and a vertical hillside.

Nobody knows what spiritual mountains I climbed at the Conference.

The holy mountain, Croagh Patrick – climb it and you will go to heaven.

Marcus and Maria only got half way up. They had to climb down.

Mountains of carrot cake, apple and pear, wolfed in a Bridge Street tearoom.

From Westport homewards flashes of sunshine and rain – a tree-lined valley.

More mist-wrapped mountains mid patches of sunlit cloud. Michel keeps driving.

Loosely scattered all over the green slopes, like rocks in the distance – sheep.

Lashed by heavy rain, half-hidden mountains everywhere, we cross the bogs.

Beside the water with its silvery sheen we head towards the west.

Kylemore Abbey. Michel and Martine took photos. A lonely cyclist.

An unexpected sun shines in Rita’s eyes – three of us in the back.

Letterfrack Pier – one dangerous bridge, a few double bends and we’re home.

Back to the bergen, Martine resembles Kuan Yin with her 18 years.

Maria dips into a life-transforming book: De-clutter your home.

Silhouetted sideways, Michel has found comfort in a white chaise-longue.

Also with her feet up, Rita, relaxed, taps the screen of her tablet.

Marcus’ notebook records our drive round the north of Connemara.