All posts by The Cheesesellers Wife

About The Cheesesellers Wife

I write poetry and paint in watercolours and acrylics. My Cheesesellers Wife blog is mostly about poetry and, yes, my husband sells cheese. Sometimes I help…….

More Lyrics as Poetry

I love a good song, and for me, that means a song with good lyrics. They should be able to stand by themselves, as poetry. Over the years, I have been drawn to songs with (sometimes an inadvertent) science fictional element to them.

If you don’t know it, please go a listen to Leonard Cohen’s “First we take Manhattan”. This captured me on the first hearing. Cohen is of course a poet and in this work the lyrics are effortless, whilst the melody gives a sense of doomed struggle. One of the final lines Well it’s Father’s Day and everybody’s wounded” haunts me, it pops into my head especially since my father died.

Just look at the first verse:

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
I’m coming now, I’m coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin
I’m guided by a signal in the heavens
I’m guided by this birthmark on my skin
I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

My second choice, Tom Robinson’s “You Tattooed me”  is a love song, set, possibly set  in the past, but in my mind the date is 2054. Again the song has a haunting sadness.

Stranded in Antwerp in June of 54
Streets full of refugees and rumours of war
In a queue at the station a stranger arrived
Stopped and he fixed me with wild hazel eyes

Several of Tom’s song appear to be set in an apocalyptic near future. Another example is “The Night Tide”, which is set in a situation that  I increasingly think I may actually get caught up in:

For christsake, Chrissy
Won’t you open the door –
Don’t tell me you’re still sleeping
All hell’s going on in the street outside
All the roads are closed this evening;
Tried to call you but the lines are jammed
Don’t say you’re not ready
After all we planned…

I am a long time Tom Robinson fan —and his songs are often poetic in their use of English. He also writes good sing alongs too, such as “Martin”.  His new album, Only the Now, is superb.

In “London Calling”, The Clash are very probably talking about punk music but look at that chorus….

The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
‘Cause London is drowning, and I live by the river

This song was used by Loncon 3, the 2014 World SF convention, for a promo video, full of images of science fictional London. Here it is:

Winter God

Tall, lean, feline, black eyed Winter is aprowl
high-shouldered, haughty, she
swirls through branches that strain to catch her
bleaches an expansive sky
watches for lonely bones

This night a god will sing in the storm
lay her glitter cloak over all
reveal a power and deadly glory
to make you question your beliefs
as she slithers under doors to embrace you
gnaws your bones with cold
takes you

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

‘Winter God’ was first published in March 2022 by Milk and Cake Press in the Dead of Winter 2 anthology

Posted for Earthweals weekly challenge. OK , so a bit of a cheat, but we are predicted temperatures of -10C (14F) here in England – I fear that the Winter god is taking up residence.

Up the Volcano

Chickens roam the aisle, having burst
from their basket, but it’s only a problem when
we stop to let more people on.
The driver pulls us rounds tight curves
blasts his horn at slower traffic
squeezes between them
and a sheer drop onto smoking fields.

It’s 1983 and we are climbing Etna the hard way
in a local bus. Someone is praying in a low voice and
there’s nothing to hold onto except each other
and perhaps God. Certainly not the chickens
who squawk at every bump and swerve.
Three villages later we get to the hotel.
It is empty, embraced by a tall curve of still glowing lava.
Hailing a battered Landrover, we pay its owner to take us further
see the bus turn to descend to Catania once more.

Up once more, at a steadier pace, until the driver stops.
We walk over hot ground, to a raised snake of rock
which we climb, until I realise it is a lava tunnel and dangerous.
As we climb down you pause to take a photo
and the mouth of the volcano explodes.
Our terrified driver flings his vehicle around
we chase after him, get in, race down
past the deserted hotel
down further to find the bus in a village.

We sigh with relief at the safety of the bus,
Enter, find seats together. A chicken pops onto my lap
You stroke her gently and
a goat puts her head in yours.

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Memories of a long ago trip up an erupting Mount Etna in Sicily.

Magic happens

Those so small sisters
travellers with us on this one green globe
praying for the morning light
and the rush to school

move across the land
arc and wave hello
always beautiful, subtly threatening
fade into sunshine

magic happens
find it today
in defiance of the night
sun dogs all

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem is constructed as per the instructions over at Dverse today where everything is about endings:

– take the very last/final line from each of your most recent poems and re-write them as a poem
– choose at least 12 poems (for this 12th month!)
– keep each line intact, unadulterated
– you may add preposition, conjunction or change of tense if it helps the flow
– you may use enjambment to break a line
– the lines do not have to follow date order

Lyrics as Poetry – Like an Inca

Even the most poetry averse person knows some poetry – in the form of song lyrics. This is a short series of Wednesday posts, taking us up to Xmas. Todays song is Neil Youngs Like an Inca. I love the opening lines of this song, and it’s on one of my favourite albums Trans:

Like an Inca

Said the condor to the preying mantis
“We’re gonna lose this place just like we lost Atlantis
Brother, we got to go sooner than you know”
The Gypsy told my fortune, she said that nothin’ showed

Well, who put the bomb on the sacred altar?
Why should we die if it comes our way?
And why should we care about a little button
Being pushed by someone we don’t even know?

Well, I wish I was an Aztec
Or a runner in Peru
I would build such beautiful buildings
To house the chosen few
Like an Inca from Peru
Like an Inca

If you want to get high, build a strong foundation
Sink those pylons deep now and reach for the sky
If you want to get lost in the jungle rhythm
Get down on the ground and pretend you’re swimmin’

If you want to put ice in the lava river
First you must climb, then you must stand and shiver
Brother we got to go sooner than you know
The Gypsy told my fortune, the Gypsy told my fortune
The Gypsy told my fortune, she said that nothing showed

Well, I wish I was an Aztec
Or a runner in Peru
I would build such beautiful buildings
To house the chosen few
Like an Inca from Peru
Like an Inca
Like an Inca
Like an Inca

Said the condor to the preying mantis
“We’re gonna lose this place just like we lost Atlantis
Brother, we got to go sooner than you know”
The Gypsy told my fortune, the Gypsy told my fortune
The Gypsy told my fortune, she said that nothin’ showed

Ah, who put the bomb on the sacred altar?
Why should we die if it comes our way?
Why should we care about a little button
Being pushed by someone we don’t even know?

Well, I wish I was an Aztec
Or a runner in Peru
I would build such beautiful buildings
To house the chosen few
Like an Inca from Peru
Like an Inca
Like an Inca

I feel sad, but I feel happy
As I’m coming back to home
There’s a bridge across the river
That I have to cross alone
Like a skipping rolling stone
Like an Inca

Songwriters: Neil Young

Like An Inca lyrics © O/B/O Capasso, Silver Fiddle, Words & Music A Div Of Big Deal Music LLC

Cold cold morning

November, and you stand in your mobcap
that hated worn black gown
look up at the big house, lit and warm
your tear-stained face pale as the mist
a mist cold as the employer that has told you to leave
leave the one job that feeds your family
family bereft of a father or sons to work
servant work you despised, literate girl that you are
work you so needed

Beggars can’t be choosers

But once the son of the house chose to court you
and you rebuffed him
your days there were numbered
have been sent home without a reference
on a chill winter morning
so you stand in your mobcap, your servant uniform
look up at the big house, lit and warm
weep for the hungry mouths at home
those so small sisters

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem has been written in response to a prompt at Dverse, where we are asked to respond to one of four paintings. I chose John Atkinson Grimshaws painting entitled A November Morning (1883). I looked at the painting (see below), saw the servant girl looking up and her story just came to me.

John Atkinson Grimshaw – Shipley Art Gallery. Title: November Morning, Knostrop Hall, Leeds. Date: 1883. Materials: oil on canvas. Dimensions: 61 x 86.4 cm. Source: https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/november-morning-knostrop-hall-leeds-35520. I have changed the light and contrast of the original photo.

The other nations of this Earth

The other nations of this Earth live along side us
Misunderstood, undervalued, used and abused
So many of us not longer see them
We fortunate few may wilfully misunderstand
But many see the truth, see the power and strength
Even in a hen, blackbird or crow
Animals are the other nations of this Earth
Caught in the net of time
Travellers with us on this one green globe

Copyright © 2017  Kim Whysall-Hammond

“….the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
~ Henry Beston

Lyrics as Poetry 1

Even the most poetry averse person knows some poetry – in the form of song lyrics. I have long been mulling over sharing some songs that I particularly enjoy as poetry . So here I go!

This is planned to be the first in a short series, taking us up to Xmas. Todays song lyric is Bjorks Crystalline:

“Crystalline”

Underneath our feet
Crystals grow like plants
(Listen how they grow)
I’m blinded by the lights
(Listen how they grow)
In the core of the earth
(Listen how they glow)

Crystalline
Internal nebula
(Crystalline)
Rocks growing slow-mo
(Crystalline)
I conquer claustrophobia
(Crystalline)
And demand the light

We mimic the openness
Of the ones we love
Dovetail our generosity
Equalizes the flow
With our hearts
We chisel quartz
To reach love

Crystalline
Internal nebula
(Crystalline)
Rocks growing slow-mo
(Crystalline)
I conquer claustrophobia
(Crystalline)
And demand the light

Octagon, polygon
Pipes up an organ
Sonic branches
Murmuring drone
Crystallizing galaxies
Spread out like my fingers

Crystalline
Internal nebula
(Crystalline)
Rocks growing slow-mo
(Crystalline)
I conquer claustrophobia
(Crystalline)
And demand the light

Crystalline
Listen how they grow
Internal nebula
Crystalline
Listen how they glow
Rocks growing slow-mo
Crystalline
Listen how they grow
I conquer claustrophobia
Crystalline
Listen how they glow
And demand the light

It’s the sparkle you become
Conquer anxiety
Sparkle you become
Conquer anxiety

Sparkle you become
When you conquer anxiety
It’s the sparkle you become
When you conquer anxiety

Crystalline lyrics © Jora Eh