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…….
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
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…….
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
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…..
Though you are in your shining days
Voices among the crowd
And new friends busy with your praise
Be not unkind or proud
But think about old friends the most:
Time’s bitter flood will rise
Your beauty perish and be lost
For all eyes but these eyes.
by William Butler Yeats
They bend and stoop
In a flurry of action
Grabbing great handfuls of snow
Crushing and moulding
Until a snowball lofts high
Arcing across the winter afternoon
Plopping down on a vivid coat
Chilling an unprotected neck
Cries of laughter and outrage fill the cold air
Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond
Re-blogged from 2015….
She flies in to a land below the sluice gates
under leaden wintry skies
braving bone chilling, joint stiffening cold
to regain a lover and husband,
surprising family and friends
with a festive presence.
He cossets her adoringly
treasuring the time they are together
sharing memories of a hot Penang wedding a world away
that celebrated a fealty lasting across oceans and years.
Tenderness and connubiality,
happiness built on avocations and contrasts.
Cherishing time together with all those they love
endearing us all to them.
Soon, she will travel back
to the other side of the planet
to summer heat and extended family
that now stretches globally
to a tall Dutchman.
Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond
For Nesa and Edgar
To celebrate friendship and another visit to Amsterdam, here is a dragon lurking on some Amsterdam rooftops….
It is based on the blue Dragon I shared last week.
In my poem The Colour of Dragons, I was considering what colour a dragon might be. I was planning a present for a very good friend, who may just like Dragons ever so slightly (English understatement here).
Here is my first picture of Larry’s Dragon:
Another will follow next Monday….
We spin along
The great groove of change
Pushing forward through time
Stretching to our demise
We weave our lives
From friendships, loves won and lost
The weft of sorrow, the haft of joy
Riding on our spinning mass of rock
Its all spinning in the end
Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond