Category Archives: England

Fireworks over England (Penny for the Guy)

Flying across England on Fawkes night,
peering down onto fiery blooms
sending light into the night,
bright chrysanthemums burnt to celebrate failed terrorism.
Fireworks and neighbourhood bonfires spark and glow each November
in long and splendid tradition, now organised and commercial.

But where is my Guy Fawkes?
Built each childhood year from old clothes stuffed with straw,
wheeled around the street, “Penny for the Guy please?”,
burnt on the family bonfire amid fireworks bought with the proceeds of my begging.
Tradition lost in a land that wants to go back on itself once more.

We also used to play in the Trafalgar Square fountains,
splashing in icy midwinter,
kissing Policemen at the stroke of midnight,
fraternity with authority on the turn of the year.
Now crowds buy tickets to watch fireworks over the Thames, passively.
We no longer make our own festivals, they are arranged for us.

We need to take back the small anarchies,
set off Fireworks in our own gardens in November,
burn the Guy as effigy of all we are told to be frightened of,
embrace the neighbours, we are all in this together.
Whatever colour or creed.

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Tonight, we British celebrate Bonfire Night  with fireworks and large bonfires.  The tradition of burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes on the bonfire has all but disappeared.  We also don’t tend to set off our own fireworks in our gardens anymore, but go to large neighbourhood displays.

Of course, the classic poem, that we all learnt when very young, is:

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Rain on the moor

Here on the moor
Rain closes you down
Takes away the horizon
Soaks and settles
Creates hazards
Can flood and kill

Rain lashes at the face
Stinging like needles
Sends cold tendrils down the neck
Seeps into all things
Deepens bogs and fords
Hides the path from view

A rainy day on the moor
Be it drizzle or a squall
Leaves you slipping and tumbling
Heading for shelter
Dripping at the pub or tearoom door
Grateful for the warm and dry

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Fun fair

Turning spinning in a giant Teacup
Flying in chairs round and round
Surrealism rampant on a hot summer night
Sliding whooping skeltering heltering into the dusk
Bumping thumping crashing the cars
Shrieking with gleeful joy
Candy coloured lights flash into the near dark
Illuminating lovers and overexcited children
Tell me, is the coconut shy?

 

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Fellow Traveller

Drowsing on the wayside
Halfway through our walk
We are stopped
Something rustles and I open my eyes
Raise my head
There in the red tipped grasses of the moor
Stands a doe, ears twitching
Black liquid eyes gazing into mine
Two creatures on the uplands
We exchange something in that moment
Before the nearby bleat of a sheep
Startles us each
And the moment and doe are both gone

 

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

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Friday Poem: The Combe

The Combe was ever dark, ancient and dark.
Its mouth is stopped with bramble, thorn, and briar;
And no one scrambles over the sliding chalk
By beech and yew and perishing juniper
Down the half precipices of its sides, with roots
And rabbit holes for steps. The sun of Winter,
The moon of Summer, and all the singing birds
Except the missel-thrush that loves juniper,
Are quite shut out. But far more ancient and dark
The Combe looks since they killed the badger there,
Dug him out and gave him to the hounds,
That most ancient Briton of English beasts.

By Edward Thomas

Train

Rails clack and clatter
as we roll round the back of houses
(each garden accidentally revealing it’s owner)
drawing out into the un-urban

English green fields, scruffy stations
and level-crossings blur past
yet the horizon crawls

All personal sense of hurry lulled
a bubble of contemplation forms
distantly observing  passing scenery
my mind drifts to places past
and places future

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

The Aurochs and the Pink

On the plains
forest deep
springwater wells up
fills a hollow
where Aurochs drank

So came our mothers and fathers
shooting arrows
flinging spears
to take abundant meat

Settling close by
they found a special magic
for flints taken from the waters
turned colour
to a wondrous
startling

Pink

And history began

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

………Blink Mead near Stonehenge appears to be the site where everything started. Algae in the waters nearby turns the surface of flints a truly shocking pink. It is strongly suggested that this is why the whole landscape of Sailsbury Plain became sacred, culminating in the biulding of Stonehenge.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blick_Mead

…and an Auroch is a very large cow….   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurochs

 

Twenty Twenty

Crowded into the bowl, excitement mounting
Shouting as the brightly coloured teams come on
Every ball is greeted by an intaken breath
Every shot is acclaimed by cheers
The bowler waits restlessly
As the batsman gardens at the wicket
Fielders circle to the boundary edge
Keen to take the catch
Wicket keeper nonchalantly sledges
A crack and the ball lofts high
Leather on willow performing the longed for magic
The Great Game is on

 

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

It’s Summer and the Cricket is on!

Deceiving hills

These hills deceive.
Apparent summits slide off away
as the slope goes farther up again.
Their hollows and ridges
cosset then expose.
Any level walking is above the spring line
so the ignorant go thirsty.
In their interior,
direction is lost with the clouds.
The oldest ways stay close
to the stiff steep slopes down to water
and someone to tell you the way.

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond