Category Archives: Life

Surround yourself with beauty

Surround yourself with beauty
Look at what you own
Is it beautiful or loved?
Does it give you pleasure?
Does it embody a memory?
Keep it
Possessions need to work for you
Need to lift you
Need to remind you who you are
Designer labels? Latest high tech? Do you need to follow the herd?
I sit in a room with books I love and want
With photos of those I love
With objects and art that say something to me
All bought on a shoestring
Possessions do not define me, they cannot say who I am
My poetry attempts that
But my possessions comfort me

my attempt to surround myself in beauty.

Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Black Fig

Slumped in still hot shade
Cowering from the late morning Sicilian summer sun
We have walked the dry vineyards since dawn
Scouring topsoil for archaeology
For signs of Roman, Arab, Norman
Now we melt sleepily beside our haul
Fragments of pots and tiles
And peer out down the dirt road for our belated lift
A soft plop distracts us, causes us to look up
To realise that our shelter is a fig tree
With sudden energy we jump to shake the branches
Eager for juicy sweetness
When the car arrives, we are gorged on overripe black figs
Hot but content.

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

School

At age five I started school
I could already read and write
The teacher complained to my mother

The only free chair in the classroom
was next to John on the boys table.
He looked after me always. I taught him to read.

I remember happy days
camaraderie with the boys
punctuated by sly kicks from the girls.

Ever observant
I drew the moon in the morning sky.
My teacher called me stupid.

At age eleven, a new school
called me intelligent, poorly taught.
I left John and the boys behind.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This is not an engagement ring

It is a series of fond stories and memories
starting with its absence and the mothers who
would not countenance our engagement without a ring.
Then the jewellers assistant who pointed out the best of the cheap
“The poverty stricken student line of engagement rings”.
And the single small diamond that I grew to love
to know the way it shed light through its carbon heart
that I lost playing in the park one day with our little sons.
You were happy we still had the setting while
I mourned my sparkling companion.
A new stone has lived resplendent in the ring for long enough
that I treasure its own foibles, although it was a stranger at first.
But the cheap gold setting last year faltered, twisted, opened
now lives out its own lockdown in the box
waiting for the Jewellers to re-open.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Object Poems

The idea is to take an object and focus on the abstract and also give our poems the title ‘THIS IS NOT A…’ 

We should choose an object from inside the home or outdoors, look past its obvious characteristics and uses, and spare the details. Instead, we should write about the connection it has to us or what it represents: what it means, the memories it holds; the emotions it evokes, etc.

Front doors

I met so many people
painting our first front door
but it wasn’t just painting
it never is.
First chipping away rotten wood
and then an artful working of filler
to recreate the simple mouldings
a grey undercoat that smooths
before, finally
a loving coat of shiny navy blue.

It took all of a long day
on a very busy street
first the postman gave advice
then the guy delivering newspapers
to the shop three doors away
commented on how few women
paint front doors
our roofer stopped to say hello
and discuss the precarious roof
a new neighbour introduced themselves
complimented my work
offered friendship
finally my parents arrived
unexpectedly
and made tea.

I remember this, as I hide behind
another front door in another house.
We wipe its UPVC surface with alcohol
to remove virus, and
don’t touch the mail until it’s a day old
no live virus on it then.
This front door isn’t elderly wood
but hidden steel within shiny white
when we lock it, nine bolts
shoot from its interior
into the strengthened frame.
In its centre a double glazed
stained glass window
made from a drawing of mine
a Red Kite wheeling in sky
looking for the windpath
my bird of prey guarding me.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem was first published by Silver Birch Press:

https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2020/04/06/front-doors-by-kim-whysall-hammond-my-front-door-series/

it was also published in‘Can you hear the people sing?‘ an anthology from Palewell Press, published November 2020:  https://palewellpress.co.uk/#People-Sing

Heart’s desire

To find your  heart’s desire first remove the dust from your eyes
Then rinse the pain from your heart and the worries from your mind
Ignore the chain of possessions and relationships that bind you
Look deep into your soul: What is your heart’s true and only desire?
Now, does it amaze you? Does it appall you?
Or did you not find one?

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Inspired by Leonard Durso  https://leonarddurso.com/2016/06/10/the-hearts-desire/

Coward

She has parked behind me
putting her vehicle
and her body
in the way of traffic to protect me
and I let her
coward that I am

On the edge of a dangerous road
engine failed
lorries flash past only inches away
I shiver in February cold
dressed in office skirt and heels
look in my rear view mirror

Young woman
half my age
earning less than half my salary
public servant and protector
risking herself for me
and I let her
coward that I am

When the rescue truck finally arrives
the driver too scared to remove my car
she quietly tells him his legal duty
returns to her patrol car
I walk over and thank her
she smiles
tells me it’s her job
one she loves

As we leave
she blue lights away to another shout
smiling and waving farewell

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem was first published by North of Oxford in June 2020: https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2020/06/14/two-poems-by-kim-whysall-hammond/