Category Archives: England

Chalklands

Chalk undulates across Southern England
Hills, gentle yet steep
Can be overtopped by clay peppered with flints
So treasured by the old folk

As old as the hills is true here
The chalk is a two hundred million year ocean
Stiffened and folded over time
By our living planet

Several human species
Have hunted  in these valleys
Have dug into and sculpted these hills
Have left their ghosts for us to trace

The ancient monuments we treasure
Hill forts, stone circles, long barrows
Are but modern remnants
Compared to the first folk

My hills have deep roots

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Rain

Delicious dampness, fresh scented grey,
Washing the stuffy warm weather away
My soul is a sponge, expanding when wet,
And sunshine’s a word I’d rather forget,
I like the newness of autumn (but its only July!)
The soggy clean clouds that fill up the sky
Change is the thing, after two weeks the same,
Filled with humid hot weather –Thank God for rain!

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

It is raining today and more is forecast. This year we have had  many weeks of very hot humid weather. We English are not built for that……

Submitted to the Dverse Open Link Night.

Friday Poem: Puck’s Song

See you the ferny ride that steals
Into the oak-woods far?
Oh that was whence they hewed the keels
That rolled to Trafalgar.

And mark you where the ivy clings
To Bayharn’s mouldering walls?
Oh there we cast the stout railings
That stand around St. Paul’s.

See you the dimpled track that runs
All hollow through the wheat?
Oh that was where they hauled the guns
That smote King Philip’s fleet.

(Out of the Weald, the secret Weald,
Men sent in ancient years,
The horse-shoes red at Flodden Field,
The arrows at Poitiers!)

See you our little mill that clacks,
So busy by the brook?
She has ground her corn and paid her tax
Ever since Domesday Book.

See you our stilly woods of oak,
And the dread ditch beside?
Oh that was where the Saxons broke
On the day that Harold died.

See you the windy levels spread
About the gates of Rye?
Oh that was where the Northmen fled,
When Alfred’s ships came by.

See you our pastures wide and lone,
Where the red oxen browse?
Oh there was a City thronged and known,
Ere London boasted a house.

And see you, after rain, the trace
Of mound and ditch and wall?
Oh that was a Legion’s camping-place,
When Caesar sailed from Gaul.

And see you marks that show and fade,
Like shadows on the Downs?
Oh they are the lines the Flint Men made,
To guard their wondrous towns.

Trackway and Camp and City lost,
Salt Marsh where now is corn-
Old Wars, old Peace, old Arts that cease,
And so was England born.

She is not any common Earth,
Water or wood or air,
But Merlin’s Isle of Gramarye,
Where you and I will fare.

By Rudyard Kipling

Bone, bird and air

Bone, bird and air
conspire to create grace
joy, a tumbling skydance
life exuberant, bright
triumphant over cold and hunger
here this icy winter day
knitted in those bones
are genes we share
we each breath the air
but only she flies
painting her joy onto the sky
cavorting into heaven

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

YOU TALK OF SHAKESPEARE

A brilliant poem from Damian Garside (who blogs at ‘ best poetry blog in the cosmos ~ 4 out of 5 dentists recommend ‘) :-

best poetry blog in the cosmos

YOU TALK OF SHAKESPEARE

you talk of Shakespeare
as if you
know him

and you do
from flowery
pageants of history
and your coffee table
(or maybe that
is too much of an assumption)

you talk of Shakespeare
as if he were so
consonant with
your ideology
(I admit, so much
in common there,
down that
Lancastrian line

the greatest at-pain-
of-death trick
ever pulled

and true Tudor
beginning of British propaganda
those heavenly lies without
which Empire
a true miscarriage,
an abortion

no new world born
Cape to Cairo
sun
never setting
on its shade of pink)

yes
Shakespeare is
one part bedrock and
one part
shadow, pure
disavowal, anarchic subversion

he had the bravery to
flaunt before your faces
the life and energy of his characters

telling a truth you
would not believe

Mr Politician, most recent in that line
of hucksters and usurpers, connivers
and
men with…

View original post 61 more words

Bosworth Field

A gentle breeze billows the green barley
Sending waves shimmering from hedge to hedge
Elder and Herb Robert sparkle the field edge
Above the oak leaves do not stir

Near here a crown once hung on a thorn bush
Men struggled for cause, battle cries rang out
A King died alone fighting amid the foe
Violated in death, lost
Naked and broken the victors took him to town for display
Traitor they called him, an anointed King of England
Hunchback, wicked, perfidious
Name calling by the new regime
Murderer of children they whispered into the stream of history

A gentle breeze billows the green barley
Above the oak leaves do not stir

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Places of Poetry revisited

I’ve mentioned this  poetry project, Places of Poetry, earlier this year :

https://www.placesofpoetry.org.uk/

The aim has been to “prompt reflection on national and cultural identities in England and Wales, celebrating the diversity, heritage and personalities of place.”  Many people have submitted poems and the site is now closed to new submissions but will remain available for readers.

I highly recommend the site as a treasury of original poetry about places across the United Kingdom.  There is a slider to take the map between ancient and modern graphics, and you need to zoom in to find where poems have been pinned.

I have been browsing the site and there are many excellent poems there. I was interested to see that others think of West London as colourless and grey too.

There are poems of mine near Didcot (south of Oxford),  at Iwerne Minster in Dorset, in North Hillingdon, Lake Glaslyn near Lllanidloes, Mid-Wales, at Stratford upon Avon and in the middle of Exmoor.

Happy Hunting, and I’d love to hear any recommendations from you.

https://www.placesofpoetry.org.uk/

 

Friday poem: The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

by Rupert Brookes

For Rememberance Sunday