Category Archives: children

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.

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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……

Silent Night?

The TV and Xbox are quiet
no more Elves fighting Dwarves
or befriending them

The hall way is full of scattered trainers, coats
and, strangely, various hats
cowboy, trilby, tiger, Nessie

Crowded into the room above
they laugh and whisper
thinking they are silent

Sleep eludes us all………

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Ah, the days when the house was crowded with teenagers….

Apart

To be so many miles away
unable to travel
no breakfast  hug for me
no cards sent
(you said you would not use your mailbox
in case of infection)
no gifts given as yet
you are where you want
and need to be
loved and loving

My tall dark haired
generously bearded
kind thoughtful son
clever and daft in a single
wonderful package
you have  laughed and talked your way
through life
garnered so many friends
loved learning, but not school
blossomed at university
now deeply in love

Happy Birthday

and
keep washing those hands……..

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

One of my sons is away for his birthday. Not so awful, but we woud have usually got the family and his beloved Dutch Godfather together for a celebration — which cannot happen in lockdown. And I miss my hugs…..

It’s all geek to you

Sixty six thousand miles an hour she spins us around her
yet a layer of grey moistness
stops the Sun’s nuclear furnace from warming my bones
as I lie here on the garden deck
wrapped old lady like in fleece blanket
and suburban birdsong

Five hundred thousand miles an hour we all turn around
the black maw at galactic central
that swallows worlds and never enough
lunching on stellar archipelagoes
leading me to think of  Schwartzchild radii
and equations I once manipulated.

Faster than both, you fall through the front door
laughing over the factorisation error you made
in today’s school test.
Functionally innumerate, mathematically gifted,
golden, green eyed geek son of mine.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For my youngest son, 19 today, still a geek, soon to be an aerospace engineer.

This poem was written when he was still at school.