Category Archives: Corona

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 temperature scan.
At the entry desk, a familiar face
my diabetes nurse, eyes lit
everyone was buoyant, 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.

Friday Poem: Everything is Going to be All Right

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.

by Derek Mahon,from Selected Poems

Dereck died on 1st October 2020.

This poem was a consolation and an inspiration to me at the beginning of the UK lockdown.

Fragments

Dark clouds lurk at the horizon
Promising

I was hungry and you gave me food
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink

We are each but a moment away
From displacement and death

I was a stranger and you welcomed me
I was naked and you gave me clothing

A Fuel Tanker slides over the middle line
Edging to disaster

I was sick and you took care of me
I was in prison and you visited me

We are a greater whole
Diminished when others suffer

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Written in response to the Earthweal challenge this week, where I learnt about the concept of Ubuntu. I had not realised that one of my heroes, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was influenced by Ubuntu in his work on reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa. A definition is below:

A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.

Of course some of the lines in this poem are from one of this planets great socialist thinkers.  ;)

Walking in the Park

They have mown the grass in the park
Well, most of it
The scent is wonderful
It has been left long on the Bronze Age burial mounds
Where the wild grass flowers form a purpled haze
Behind, Foxgloves spike up from the drainage ditch  into the hedge
I walk up the southern mound to find the stone marked PEACE
Commemorating more recent dead from civil war
The sky is littered with clouds white and gray
As its blue darkens towards twilight
On this long June evening
After a day of rain
The scent of new mown grass says
Summer

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond