Category Archives: Corona

Thursdays 2pm in Lockdown

I grab my pencils, mostly old and blunt,
scramble for a sharpener, my sketchbook
then connect to Zoom
run hands through unruly hair,
so long now in lockdown,
clean my glasses with my clothes.

The class begins. This week it’s
Maxine from Greece, his lithe body
first reaching and arching upwards
back turned coyly to the camera
we have ten minutes only to capture
the length and proportion of limbs,
that pert bottom,
not that I notice it,
the way every knee has a front, a face
and it must be drawn right.
Use the light and shadows to
give heft and bulk, says our tutor in Germany,
embolden key lines to make your drawing stand out.

The pose changes, now he drapes himself across a chair
one leg stretching out to the lens
and I grimace at the challenge of foreshortening
making his leg look as if it is coming out of my page
I try to see the shapes, the curve of his torso here
a triangle of negative space there
how his knee is on the same level as his nose.

All too soon, Maxime bids his farewells as we clap
then we show our various efforts to each other.
After each class, I am always tired
drained with the effort of trying to
achieve a human body on my grubby page.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Grief

Grief fills you up and binds you
It rages and despairs
You want to look behind you
To seek the person that’s not there
A black hole rests within you
Filled with empty pain
A cry comes from inside you
I want that time again

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For all those who have lost loved ones in the Pandemic.

All in the Family

Raging against the rest of us
she calls us feeble sheep
doltards, retards, connivers in
our own imprisonment
bitter enemies of freedom

Freedom being, apparently
the right to party
to go down the pub
drink yourself insensible
and to then post photos of your creative craziness
as you throw up in the gutter

My freedoms are different
yes, I long to see and hug
but I need more to stay alive
to walk in fresh air, to read, to think
in peace and in health

Freedom , as always, is mutable

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

I am listening with my eyes closed

I am listening with my eyes closed
bees bumble in flowers
wasps sharp buzzing near my head
bicycles spin past in the lane
I smell the lycra
I am listening with my eyes closed

I am listening with my eyes closed
to walkers stepping around
keeping the distance
people anxious and wary
soft breezes and hot sun
in a trapped season
I am listening with my eyes closed

I am listening, listening, feeling
cool air under trees
folk chatting as they pass
voices subdued
always the news, always the count

I am hoping, hoping, wanting
Fear washes us all clean
I am remembering
embracing, kissing friends
laughing

I am listening with my eyes closed
air moves, shivers leaves above
traffic burrs along a distant road
something clangs nearby
life persists, hopes, loves
I am listening with my eyes closed.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

My response to earthweal weekly challenge: The Unsayable.

I am describing last summer in lockdown in this poem. Apart from the change form summer to winter, there is no material difference in my daily life between then to now.

Of course, we do now have safe and working vaccines!

Vaccination Day

I could see his wide welcoming smile
even a mask couldn’t hide it
as he waved me through the door
to the tempearture scan.
At the entry desk, a familar face
my diabetes nurse, eyes lit
everyone was bouyant, so
pleased to be there
to be part of something grand.

A short wait, wearing a sticker
with name, birthdate, NHS number
then a doctor beckoned
such a light jab in the arm
and then out to sit fifteen minutes
chatting to strangers, laughing
finally back out to bright sunshine.

Every thing was bright today.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Today I got my first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Data shows one dose reduces the risk of catching infection by more than 70%, rising to 85% after the second dose. Yippee!

Thank you to all the volunteers who are making this fast rollout such a happy success.

Front doors

I met so many people
painting our first front door
but it wasn’t just painting
it never is.
First chipping away rotten wood
and then an artful working of filler
to recreate the simple mouldings
a grey undercoat that smooths
before, finally
a loving coat of shiny navy blue.

It took all of a long day
on a very busy street
first the postman gave advice
then the guy delivering newspapers
to the shop three doors away
commented on how few women
paint front doors
our roofer stopped to say hello
and discuss the precarious roof
a new neighbour introduced themselves
complimented my work
offered friendship
finally my parents arrived
unexpectedly
and made tea.

I remember this, as I hide behind
another front door in another house.
We wipe its UPVC surface with alcohol
to remove virus, and
don’t touch the mail until it’s a day old
no live virus on it then.
This front door isn’t elderly wood
but hidden steel within shiny white
when we lock it, nine bolts
shoot from its interior
into the strengthened frame.
In its centre a double glazed
stained glass window
made from a drawing of mine
a Red Kite wheeling in sky
looking for the windpath
my bird of prey guarding me.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem was first published by Silver Birch Press:

https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2020/04/06/front-doors-by-kim-whysall-hammond-my-front-door-series/

it was also published in‘Can you hear the people sing?‘ an anthology from Palewell Press, published November 2020:  https://palewellpress.co.uk/#People-Sing

Two poems in Palewell Press Anthology

I’m delighted to tell you that I have two poems in ‘Can you hear the people sing?‘ a new anthology from Palewell Press:

Can you Hear the people sing?

My poems are Front Doors and Night’s Midpoint

Palewell Press’s second anthology of poetry and prose brings together a global set of writers, sharing their experiences of Covid-19, lockdown, the pandemic, losing track of time, a reprieve for nature, and their hopes for the future.

This anthology shares worldwide responses to the pandemic, from Yan Li’s testament to suffering in China; through Joseph Kafala of Sierra Leone’s Center for Memory and Reparations; Iranian-born Sholeh Wolpé in California; María Cristina Azcona, President of the International Forum for Literature and Culture of Peace in Latin America; Simon Lichman in Jerusalem, working for peace between Israeli and Palestinian communities; many UK-based human rights advocates: Dima Mekdad, Hasan Kahya, Anna Maria Mickiewicz, Nasrin Parvaz, Aydin Mehmet Ali, Taffy Nyawanza, Meltem Arikan, Shanta Acharya; and me!

Thank you to Camilla Reeve for accepting my poems.