Category Archives: Life

Commuter grind

Does anyone write of the commuter grind?

Of the early risings and the dark returns
The unseen children and missed bedtimes
The chances taken on rain slick roads
The risk of dreadful  collision
As bleary eyed drivers zoom and hurry
The agonies of  thousands crammed into tubes and trains

Does anyone sing of the commuter’s plight?

Commuter belts were planned around cities
To give encircling green spaces
A commuter belt encircles my life
Tying me in
Constraining, tightening, giving no relief

Does anyone tell  of the commuter as hero?
The journeys survived, the meetings won?

I am  the voice of the lone commuter
You talk of food miles, of recycling
Of saving the planet
I counted my work miles
Those I have journeyed to earn my crust
They take me to the Moon and back
Oh to be free of these surly bonds

Recycle my life, give it to me back
Refreshed,  remodeled
New and mine once more
And you will save the planet
And us all
But the car beckons, there on my drive
There stands my steed waiting
This cowgirl has to go.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Since the writing of this poem, this ‘cowgirl no longer goes’ as ill-health prevents my working…..so I’m taking my life back…..

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Being English

Show no emotion, hold everything back
Say ’I think we need a bit of support’ when you are under fatal attack
Go about your business as the world falls apart
Hiding the fear deep in your heart
Delight in the odd, the strange and the weird
Live beside the newcomer, even if they are feared
Chicken Tikka Marsala is our national dish,
An island nation that rarely eats fish,
Throw flowers under a princesses hearse
Life may be difficult but it could always be worse
Marry the outsider, swallow them whole
Quiet, loving and different is the English soul

Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

First blogged in 2015 and it seems a bit appropriate this week. I admit that both people in the photo not actually English….but its a great photo!

1939

She did not weep,
nothing so soft or poetic,
my grandmother sobbed long and hard
remembering war-crippled brothers, war dead father.
She had nursed soldiers, married one,
spent recent years in dread.
A few words on the Wireless,
a husband mustering with his gun,
and the nightmare returns.

As a child, thirty years later,
I saw hunger in her old eyes
a longing for security from fear
that she never lost.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For Ethel Maude Wellsted Brown (known as Maude), orphaned by the Boer War, Pharmacist during the 1918 Flu pandemic, wife and mother to Airmen and Airwomen. My beloved maternal Grandmother who married a poor boy from Malta and, despite the attitudes of the time, danced with black GI’s in Wiltshire  as they waited to fight in D-Day and the liberation of Europe.

The photo is of her and her children in the mid-1930’s. The little girl in white grew up to be my mother. The three larger children were all in the RAF or WAAF in World War 2. They and their father came through the war unscathed.

According to my mother (who was eleven at the time), Maude sobbed for hours after the declaration of war was broadcast in September 1939..

Recluse

People drain, push through
boundaries, demand attention.
Childhood reclused with book after book
reading to the exclusion of most else,
an interior life but for the
vibrancy of a sunset, the thrill
of abstraction in flowing water
and then, at seventeen,
the bright blue art of your eyes.
The world and you, my love, stimulate
refresh, make me whole
give me myself once more.

 

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Listening

Walking back from your house,
Orion calling to me over mine,
the glow at the next street light
burst into fluid noise, birdsong at midnight
rippling through our suburb
with no one but me to hear.
I should have gone back and got you,
taken you to hear.
But I’m still uncertain of your reaction,
pragmatic as you are,
and you need to get your students marking done.

The bird was calling out unheard
or heard only by me.
Just as you call and are unheard.
The idiot man who left you,
the sisters who think you should be
over it by now,
and only me, each Wednesday night
to listen to you as we paint.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Coal

He told me of how coal can be split
to reveal the hoof prints of long buried deer
if you get the angle and the grain right

Of how, in the deepest mines
Darwin was proved each day
by the strike of a miners hammer

And how opening the coal opened him
drove him to library and Miners Institute
to learn, wonder and argue

His gentle voice, with its natural grace
led me into his world
to the child opening trap doors in constant dark

To the young man, passionate for justice
filled up with the joy of learning
all forged in dark coal.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For Wilfred Whysall, my paternal Grandfather (1909 – 1979), on his birthday.

 

Study in Yellow

 

Pale primrose lies by the chicken pen
Bold Daffodils stand up in the border
Screaming Marsh Marigold calls from  the pond
Subtle oranges somehow manage to cool down the tubbed Narcissi
Spring yells yellow in my garden

 

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Re-blogged from 2016, when spring was actually warm, unlike the chill this year….

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