Category Archives: Life

Dragon in Amsterdam

To celebrate friendship and another visit to Amsterdam, here is a dragon lurking on some Amsterdam rooftops….

amsterdam dragon cropped

It is based on the blue Dragon I shared last week.

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Autumnal Slide

Autumn leaves colour lawns orange
Litter roads red
The long slide into the cold begins
Advent madness beckons
Like a siren
Calling us onto the rocks
Of family festivities, hidden lonelinesses, retail greed and envy
Soon rooftops will grow neon reindeer
Tinsel will be worn around necks at office parties
All too soon
It will be Christmas

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

I’m in Amsterdam this week, and so have left you this poem which rather captures my feeling about the next few months I’m afraid!

Translation

Lost between the words
is true meaning
the real message
perhaps the marriage
perhaps the correct diagnosis.
We all use metaphors
similes
when describing emotions and pains.
Doctors and spouses
should by rights be poets
for poetry conveys what is lost in translation.

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

A poem inspired by the quote:

Poetry is what gets lost in translation.
Robert Frost

Scrabbling

I am scrabbling for a word
To describe the noise of chickens
Scrabbling in the garden

It isn’t rustling
The leaves above are doing that
Rustle is a high pitched word
I need a lower pitich
Mustle, grustle
Tustle is what one hen is doing with a worm

Now there’s a sudden outbreak of snail football
The snail always loses

It’s life

On this sunny late October afternoon
Maybe its scrabbling after all

 

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Exmoor Soundscape

Wild ponies snorting in the shade of a thorn tree
The kee of a buzzard soaring overhead
A ragged baa from a startled ewe
All underlaid by the irregular rumble of falling tumbling water

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

A note to readers from America: An English buzzard is not a vulture, but catches live prey.

night into early morn’

A poem I’d like to share with you, from Eliot Dybden:

along the interstice

duck in the pond behind the flat
pontificating to whatever audience he thinks he has
proclaiming his territory
or maybe he’s just saying hey

hey! hey! hey!
(pause)
hey!
(pause)
hey!

the acoustics are just right
so that sometimes i believe among the cattails
roams a talkative, minature moose

at first he was a leaky tap
the squeak of a ceiling fan
but now he is the consistency of being

resistance against the dark undertown
refusing to be stifled or quelled

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Stretching

The big oaks at the corner
stretch their leaves to gather the evening sun.
A breeze lifts and turns them,
dark, bright, bright, dark.
Giving a green glitter effect
that entrances me
starting the long stretching walk along the lane.

As I walk, the sun lights overhead leaves,
creates broderie anglais shadows
where cars slowly trail only feet apart.
Above a lacy sheet of alto cumulus spreads
pierced by the setting suns laser rays
up to the stratosphere.

I pause to enjoy, then
move on past the McDonalds drive in.
Cars queue for their Friday night treat
around the roundabout and beyond.
Full of the bored and restless.

And I retrace my steps
on the sunlit stretching walk
back towards home.

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Slow Dance

My land was carved in a slow dance
Glacier in, glacier out
Wind and rain overlies the slow dance
Smoothing smoothing
The rhythm of climate is our slow dance
Beat heats up, beat cools down
Industry changed the tempo of Earths slow dance
Faster faster, hotter hotter
We all move to the rhythm of this slow dance
Species come and species go
The way it has always been………..

 

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

The Overwhelming Sky

The overwhelming sky enthralls me
Shows me its magic, fills me with glory
Layers of stratus, piles of towering cumulus
Cirrus lacing glazes overtop
Neon pink icy scribbling on an evening horizon
Fireworks sunsets, pale sleepy dawns
Reds, yellows, purples, greens overwrite the blue and black
Gauguin, Picasso, Rothko must have felt this
The Starry Night is truth, no wonder Vincent suffered so
Genghis rode under this dome that encompasses all of our lives
Did its pressure drive him to the cities for refuge rather than plunder?

The overwhelming sky appears to have no end
Although I know that it is but the skin on the planet apple
It bears down on me, it conquers me
Filling me up with its immensity
Until I spill this burden of  words
To offer them as sacrificial token
To try to explain this hold
To bid to exorcise it
To seek release
But
It is the master of me

 

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

First published on Your One Phone Call earlier this year . Part of a series of poems about the sky, others are Open Sky and Evening Star.

Hidden Freedoms

Child of Empire, he freely starved in Valetta
Free to resent the many fat priests
Free to go
Desperate, hoping

Stowaway to Istanbul
Free to be beaten by the Ottomans
Sent back to hunger
Not stopped yet

Stowaway to Britain
Set loose in Imperial London
Free to prosper
Free to work

Free-diver repairing Brighton’s Pier
Freely volunteered in 1914’s Expeditionary Force
Free to marry, to be British
Free to stay

Forty descendants, freely British
Freely given gifts of a Maltese boy
Seven fought in British wars
Immigration can be a free gift

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Written for Today’s National Poetry Day, which this year has the theme of Freedom.

As usual, when given a prompt or theme, my mind heads off slightly askew. This poem tells some of the story of my Maltese Grandfather. He came to Britain as a stowaway with nothing, found welcome and work. We need to remember how many of us are descended from people like him — and to remember to allow others similar freedoms.