Category Archives: Corona

When?

When this all settles
I will walk along a stony beach
Stepping across rock pools
Looking for fossils
Life has been here before and will be after

Nothing was ever certain
Life was always frail
A bubble has burst
But we will float again
Life is all we have, treasure its small joys

When this all settles
We must mourn the dead
Unpick our mistakes
Grieve for lost chances
Life for us should never be the same

We have another danger
That may take us all
This is a rehearsal
Now we must save our world
Our grandchildren must live and thrive

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Remembering Lockdown

It was almost a living thing, large and smothering
that pinned us down and
which seems to have shed hairs everywhere,
I’m still finding them, clearing them away.

Days melted into each other
alone in this vessel of a house
plunging deep depths of fears and anxieties
climbing swallowing waves to see clear skies.
Gradually ending more and more days with a muttered
“That was a good one, wasn’t it?”.

Absorbing ourselves in the minutia of gardening
seedlings as companions, hope for some future
and canny planning for food supplies.
A returning shopper asked what is it like out there
as they washed clothes, hair and body
and we wiped clean all they had brought back.
No eggs this time.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Remembering the first UK Lockdown, in March 2020, an unsettling frightening time.

We are not out of the woods yet. This past week we have been isolating with a sick adult son who was in contact with a confirmed Covid case. We are waiting for test results, but the labs are slow due to 1.6 million poeple isolating this week and getting tested!

At least in full lockdown we were allowed to leave the house for exercise — I’m feeling very confined.

Fret not too much — so far, the effects are light.

linked to – earthweal open link weekend #75 | earthweal

Boames Lane

Stark morning light
etches lanky dogroses scrambling in hedgerows
as we tramp the lane once more

Scrabbles of bright
flowers grace grass edges
the blues and yellows of Springs panoply

Another troubled night
has left us weary, needing solace
in this our morning walk

Then into sight
floats a Red Kite, peering for prey
her elegance lifts us

And we delight

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Welcome, stranger…

Bjorns words on our pandemic deserve a wider audience than the staff, students and parents of the school where he is Headteacher. As he says,
As the road stretches out ahead I encourage us all to straighten our helmets, polish our shields, and look out for one another as if wights were circling the barrow. The day will come when we look back on this adventure and raise a glass with the friends we made through the strife, reminiscing about the dragons we overcame along the way.”

bjornpaige

I’ve read more than my fair share of fantasy during this pandemic, Tolkien of course, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and A Song of Fire and Ice (even though I’m the one person on the planet who hasn’t seen the TV show). I zipped through Three Hearts and Three Lions, a book I hadn’t ever read but had heard about from more than a few people; The Eaters of the Dead, inspiration to pick up Heaney’s translation of Beowulf; and most recently The Dragonbone Chair, which begins with a line that felt written for our present uncertain times: “Welcome, stranger. The paths are treacherous today.”

Around us all are opinions and realities, too often competing with each other and frequently piling wood on the fire of concern (about a host of topics including the pandemic, social justice, and mental health) that has been blazing now for more than…

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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

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!