Category Archives: history

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

 

Neanderthal

Was it the red hair
that so entranced us?
The strong nose
on a strong young man?
Or that capable stocky young woman
who didn’t moan at first frost?
Where did we get our blue eyes from after all?
In the snows of almost perpetual winter
and at the warm shores of the middle sea
we met them, loved them,
raised their children.
And left them behind.

 

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

First blogged in 2018…..

In the gardens and the fields

Over twenty years after the end
gardens still had hollow mounds
or curved corrugated tin domes half buried
some doing duty as tool sheds
many simply as they were
when the bombing stopped
full of the detritus of nights spent sheltering
while death flew overhead

Mounds and tunnels  riddled
our playing fields
dry brick-lined hiding places
against bombers seeking factories
and factory workers
to blast and wreck
we used them  for massive games of hide and seek

London streets had gaps, play spaces
festooned with stately spires of
purple flowers, amid mossy rubble
the occasional crumpled saucepan
so much broken crockery

As a child, our father collected bullets and bomb shards
watched fighters fall crashing out of the sky
and ran to collect souvenirs while the metal was still hot

I and my brothers knew wars last remnants
and played amongst ghosts

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

In Memoriam

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!

Poems up at ‘Mediterranean Poetry’

I’m very happy to tell you that several of my poems are up on the website  ‘Mediterranean Poetry  (an odyssey through the mediterranean world)‘  , at https://www.odyssey.pm/contributors/kim-whysall-hammond/

Here is the description of this eclectic and very interesting site:

Our idea with this site is to be able to share our fascination of this world with others and let it be a place where one may read poems/short texts created by poets/authors that live (have lived/traveled) around these waters and, through their literary efforts, have captured the very essence of the Mediterranean world!

 

Do wander over there for a good read…….

Crow castle

The north east tower is crenelated
with argumentative crows
black scrawny scribbles silhouetted high
against an evening sky
scattering upwards as we ascend to the roof
swooping possessively while we linger
they are the true posessers of this place
winners after centuries of fighting

The monument below may celebrate
a Welsh warrior princess
but up here crows
celebrate the sky

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

We live on the high ground

We live on the high ground
Below us the water tumbles and falls, jumping over buried rocks
Water criss-crosses the land  eventually falling to the sea
Life is good here on the high, fresh soil and clear water
Healthy children, full bellies, long lives
Yesterday we sowed seed, laughing and singing
Today the sun is warm and the birds are singing for me
I try to put the birdsong into speech
As we knap flints from the coast
Mother is drawing a circle on the turf near the Family stones
A circle stones of to encompass Grandmother who closes in to death
We will cover her in the soil of home to keep her with us
Here on the high ground

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Originally published in Three Drops from a Cauldron: Issue 11

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

 

Forefathers

One walked into shellfire for a mile
and a half
to check if a barbed wire barrier
was now holed

One built underground factories,
and stood at the end of a
bombed and burning street
mourning

One fought Ottomans in Salonika
and fought again in the next war that burnt Europe

We tell their great grandchildren,
watch them weep,
while grateful that
in most of Europe
war is distant

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Each of our Grandfathers survived their wars, but my Aunt lost an fiancé — one of the many American GI’s killed on D-Day.

To walk among ruins

To walk among ruins is to realize the fragility of life
To connect with those who came before
To observe commonalties,
To puzzle at differences
To marvel at ingenuity
To hear their voices echoed in stones that have stood for thousands of years
Inevitably, to misunderstand the message

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Re-blogged from 2016