Category Archives: Friends

Rose Bower

for Gita, wherever you are

Enchantment beckoned at the end of your garden
many climbing roses intertwined into a
a concealing bower where

we spied on hidden lovers
hunted magic deer that leapt
skywards and away from
our orbital arrows that encircled the world

we swapped shoes and dresses
each handmade by our mothers
each smelling so different
you said all my people smelled of milk
I thought all yours were spice scented
and beautiful

we kissed each others palms
held our breath as pirate raiders crept by
evaded an amorous Sultan
sucked the tart sweetness of pomegranates
taken from your mothers kitchen

we found brambles amid the blooms
you did not know blackberries at all
then loved them more than pomegranate
because they grew in our magic place
you mother thought they were dirty
like me

we thought this would go on forever
that we would grow up together
then, you were suddenly gone
moved away to where
a school would accept an Ugandan Asian girl

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Dreaming of seeing you again

You tread on the tail of my eye
carving crosswise through the crowd
that flows into the station
we greet with hugs, kiss cheeks
talk of our priceless opportunity
of a week together
after so long apart

Later, rinsing sorrow away
we linger out
a hundred glasses of wine
the clarity of close friends filling small talk
a lucid moon keeping us awake
and after we’re drunk, we’ll sleep
all heaven our blanket, earth our pillow

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Inspired by Chinese poetry, this one is for our best friend, away in Amsterdam. Our first trip abroad will be to see him, but we do not know when that can be….

Wilma

I sit on the stairs
of another woman’s house
one I love deeply
my mother was the star to her
rockfast grace and kindness
but stars burn out and die

Wilma still shines
her back may be bent but
her eyes glow
this house was sanctuary
and freedom to me
the love she and hers gave me
gentle and calm

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Reblogged from last year in memory of Wilma Pegler, who died last night .She was my Mums best friend for 70 years.

I loved her .

Full Moon

I wave at the man
Smiling in his immensity
Sketched out by mountains and lava flows
And call him friend
He has lit my way home
Coloured my evenings
Lit up my childhood
With dreams of space travel
How many others see him this way
The Man in the Moon?

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For Nesa, who loved this poem of mine, but didn’t see a man in the moon. As she told me in 2016:

“You see a man in the moon. I see a rabbit, crouched down, ears sticking up. Have seen him since I was a child and still watch for him to follow me home.”

We all miss you Nesa, so much……

Cold

Foggy days in old Amsterdam
When rooftops hide in the gloom
Hoar frost sparkles tattered bushes
Tram windows mist up

Flying home to unexpected chill
House cold as a tomb
Huddling around an electric heater
Sipping tea, as the gas boiler struggles

Bright morning, glowing sunshine
Garden frosted like a Christmas cake
Hens fluffed up against the chill
We miss the warmth of good friends

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Oh, to be with friends in Amsterdam again…..sigh…….

Friends

Friend who is more than family
who is vital to you, one you cannot lose
Friend who is more like family
meaning you hardly speak to each other
Friend who is also your lover/husband/wife
Friend who is no longer a friend because
she decided to be someone else’s friend
Facebook friend who is not really a friend
Friend you have lost somewhere on the way
Friend you forgot

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

What do I remember first?

Is it the blackboard where I learnt my ABCs?
The way I tripped over my own feet, scarring my knees?
Waking up from sleeping next to my Nan in her great bed?
How it hurt when plaits were pulled tight to my head?
My gnarled, grumpy, loving Grampee
Telling me stories as I sat on his knee
Of Susan the Officer-kicking Mule
Or perhaps my first day at school
One seat left, next to John Searle
Happy to be friends with a lonely girl
The teacher who was angry that I could already read
My joy at being there, suddenly free
To learn everything and to love books
In which no one cared about a girl’s looks
My heroes were always boys and men
Not many strong women in stories then
My friends the boys  were rough and poor
Never cared what dress I wore or tore
Quiet, pretty and sweet seemed to be the rule
But I learnt another way at my first school

 

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

……I was trying (at the suggestion of a friend) to write a short account of my girlhood for my sons, and this poem came bubbling out…….

The Funeral

There is a ghost at your funeral today
a face so familiar, still loved
my friend, your wife
gone these twenty years
now you too have left us
we all stand stunned
grieving
missing your expansive
presence in our lives

Looking over the crowd
I see eyes, cheek bones, jawline
the image of her mother
your much loved step daughter
wiping away fond tears

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This summer we lost Martin Hoare. A great presence and a good friend. We were standing-room only at the funeral, his coffin was a TARDIS and the committal music was the Dr Who theme tune — which turned out to be quite moving. At the end, we all sang ‘Always look on the bright side’ and we all had tears running down our cheeks.

….and then as we left, I saw the ghost…..