Category Archives: children

Rose Bower

for Gita, wherever you are

Enchantment beckoned at the end of your garden
many climbing roses intertwined into a
a concealing bower where

we spied on hidden lovers
hunted magic deer that leapt
skywards and away from
our orbital arrows that encircled the world

we swapped shoes and dresses
each handmade by our mothers
each smelling so different
you said all my people smelled of milk
I thought all yours were spice scented
and beautiful

we kissed each others palms
held our breath as pirate raiders crept by
evaded an amorous Sultan
sucked the tart sweetness of pomegranates
taken from your mothers kitchen

we found brambles amid the blooms
you did not know blackberries at all
then loved them more than pomegranate
because they grew in our magic place
you mother thought they were dirty
like me

we thought this would go on forever
that we would grow up together
then, you were suddenly gone
moved away to where
a school would accept an Ugandan Asian girl

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Toddler

You cuddle up to me in your sleep, comforted by mother warmth
What do you dream little man, my child full of wonder
You exhaust  me by day and then enthrall me at your time of sleeping
Always asking for more, lifting my soul and life
Every day is an  adventure for us
As I discover the world in and through your eyes

  Copyright © 2017  Kim Whysall-Hammond

I wrote this poem when my sons were much much younger….they are both adults now!

The Teenage Years

All bets are off in the teenage years
You still share your child’s hopes and fears
But they are a child no more –Can you hear that slammed door?
It’s a bumpy ride–Sometimes Jekyll, sometimes Hyde
You love them to bits, you can’t stand them anymore
And there again is that slamming door
You glimpse a young woman, you glimpse a young man –Try to catch them if you can
Sometimes it seems they’re a toddler again –Needing to share some of the pain
Do you remember when this was you?
Now you know what your parents went through……

Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

I thought this would resonate with all those living with Teeenagers in Lockdown…..

Foundlings

Here in a new box, old coins
we spill them onto the carpet
and small fingers pick out treasures.
A farthing, worn smooth
once the price of a meal
Indian rupees, Iraqi drachma
souvenirs of imperial service
I think of my Grampee
young and splendid in uniform.
My sons make pirate cries.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

‘Foundlings’ was first published by Allegro in the September 2020 issue: https://www.allegropoetry.org/p/issue-25-september-2020.html

Across the road

Was a whole different universe,
of course the road was the A40
or the Western Avenue as we called it then.
One side urban west London
the other a seemingly limitless sprawl of brambles
riddled with paths sized for squeezing small children
as if the local mothers had arranged it so
that adults could not blackberry but only
give instructions from the edges.
Everyone brambled in summer
red stained children limping home
at days end with huge leaking bags of berries
and a future full of pies and jam.
The real magic of that place was a stream
clear and sparkling, running over pebbles
in places deep and wide, where
baby brothers could be washed
and drinking cups filled.
The shallows were my solitary joy in spring when
armed with a net and an empty jam jar I searched for
blushed red male Sticklebacks, to bring them home
and watch them, marvelling at
their writhing sinuous shapes,
those outsized blue-green eyes
the sharp stickles on each back.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Taking part in Sarah Connor’s challenge over at Earthweal.

Here’s Sarah’s prompt:

“So, for this prompt, I’d like you to think about how you first felt connected to nature – maybe as a child, or as an adult. Some of those lost words may inspire you, or you may have your own lost word (or world?) that gave you a sense of wonder at the natural world around you. Maybe you collected caterpillars, or watched birds on a bird-table, or squatted down to watch beetles, or looked up to see squirrels in the treetops.”

Baby Brother

This wonderful poem from Glenys has really taken me back to dressing up my little boy for the school pickup–he had a Loch Ness monster hat!

lifecameos

Baby brother is dressed up
to collect his sisters from
school st home time.

Great Grandma knitted his bright
striped beanie, cousin Paul grew
out of the dashing dinosaur leggings;
little friend Oliver passed on the
jacket with Barney on it. The
tiny tartan sneakers came from
Sarah over the road, she’s at
kindergarten now, nearly a big girl.

Yes the big girls at school
will gush and coo and gasp
over him – he enjoys that already.

Mummy thinks he is cool too.
Holding him on her hip she
tickles his ribs with her free hand.
He giggles and wriggles
wiggles and jiggles
chuckles then shrieks
gleefully, joyously
grinning from ear to ear
energetically, excitedly.

It’s a happy day today !

Previously posted November 2016.

View original post

Riverine

My youngest son is rushing
from the sharp hills of adolescence
over rocks and stones, always onwards
like a river to an unfathomable ocean

His thoughts are deep
his soul ancient, older than the flow
kept within his banks

He bickers down valleys
sometimes stilled, mostly calm
until an overflow of joy
forces a burst, a breaking of the levee
and he talks, oh he talks
of his passions, fears and hopes
as a waterfall speaking to the wind

Who will dive into his depths
see the treasures within clear waters
bring them to the surface
for the world to see

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Stanza 2 References “The Negro Speaks of Rivers By Langston Hughes 

Friday Poem: On My First Daughter

Here lies, to each her parents’ ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth;
Yet all heaven’s gifts being heaven’s due,
It makes the father less to rue.
At six months’ end she parted hence
With safety of her innocence;
Whose soul heaven’s queen, whose name she bears,
In comfort of her mother’s tears,
Hath placed amongst her virgin-train:
Where, while that severed doth remain,
This grave partakes the fleshly birth;
Which cover lightly, gentle earth!

By Ben Jonson

Friday Poem: Timothy Winters

Timothy Winters comes to school
With eyes as wide as a football-pool,
Ears like bombs and teeth like splinters:
A blitz of a boy is Timothy Winters.

His belly is white, his neck is dark,
And his hair is an exclamation-mark.
His clothes are enough to scare a crow
And through his britches the blue winds blow.

When teacher talks he won’t hear a word
And he shoots down dead the arithmetic-bird,
He licks the pattern off his plate
And he’s not even heard of the Welfare State.

Timothy Winters has bloody feet
And he lives in a house on Suez Street,
He sleeps in a sack on the kithen floor
And they say there aren’t boys like him anymore.

Old Man Winters likes his beer
And his missus ran off with a bombardier,
Grandma sits in the grate with a gin
And Timothy’s dosed with an aspirin.

The welfare Worker lies awake
But the law’s as tricky as a ten-foot snake,
So Timothy Winters drinks his cup
And slowly goes on growing up.

At Morning Prayers the Master helves
for children less fortunate than ourselves,
And the loudest response in the room is when
Timothy Winters roars “Amen!”

So come one angel, come on ten
Timothy Winters says “Amen
Amen amen amen amen.”
Timothy Winters, Lord. Amen

by Charles Causley

This poem is in a poetry book I bought for my children when young. It made them cry, but they loved it. They each knew a “Timothy”, I’m sad to say……