Category Archives: Life

Seed Guardian

I joke that he is now a bean counter
as, indeed, he kneels to count his beans
small white capsules of DNA
strung up on life giving proteins

He needs to send a minimum of two hundred
to a seed bank upcountry, for these beans are rare
a variety that may die out soon if not cherished
grown, saved, stored

A variety that may feed us when times are hard
but only if we keep it, saving for a rainy day

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For Tony, who is a Seed Guardian for the UK Heritage Seed Library. The crops we rely on for food need to be diverse so that diseases cannot totally wipe out our food supplies , but agrobusiness concentrates on only a few varieties.

For Earthweal

Washing Away

Cool wind moves soft across my skin
evening flowers, dimmed now by twilight,
scent air that tastes fresh and new
dissolving heat and work into night.

One more job to do
unpegging laundry from a swaying line
towels roughened with use
pillow cases and sheets worn thin by time.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Wardrobes

Wardrobes of tailored jackets
packed tight with empty pockets
still scented with her perfume

Silver spoons and Indian brassware
tablecloths, hand embroidered
saved for a time that never came

Teapot, milk jug and sugar bowl
enwrapped with gaudy Chinese dragons
given to her by a friend

All her rings, except for
Dad’s engagement ring
which we buried her with

a huge box of jumbled photos
full of memories, undiscovered history
and her, lithe and young

Those eyebrows I see in the mirror
the laugh that is also mine
her legacy pulses within me

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Ann Arbor Business Trip

So we came off the plane
and they met us with a car
took us hungry and tired
to a huge Sushi bar

Two girls they thought us
tried to phase us with raw fish
but we were Londoners
we could devour any dish

Next night they tried Rogan Josh
after a long day of negotiation
Grinning, we upped the chilli
scoffed it down without hesitation

Then there was the brewery where
they planned to drink us under the table
but we were women of the world
always ready and able

To match them beer for beer
and whiskey for whiskey
and then when they were plastered
one of the idiots tried to get frisky

We threw them out the door
turned up in the office next morning
clinched the deal at cost price
while they were hungover and yawning

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

My Marketing Manager & I went to Ann Arbor in the late 1990s to secure a software deal for a coalition of the worlds airlines. The American negotiators tried all sort of tricks to put us “girls” (as they kept calling us) on the back foot. But expecting to out curry or out drink Londoners is simply naive. :)

This poem is a true story — although I’ve missed out the Mexican Chilli house and the Greek restaurant. Did they really think Greek was strange foreign food to a Londoner????? We led the dancing and plate throwing that night!

I was inspired by an excellent poem over at Jims blog: High Plains Sushi

Otzi the Iceman

He wore warm boots and cloak
had many tattoos grouped
around wherever his joints hurt
to show where acupuncture should be done
carried a complex firelighting kit
containing many dried plants
with flint and pyrtite to make sparks

Consider his hide quiver of arrows with dogwood shafts
and an antler stub for sharpening arrow points
a rare copper axe with a yew handle
a stone bladed knife
various berries for snacks, and two sorts
of dried mushrooms strung with leather
one of them is antibiotic

When he died he was carrying an
unfinished yew Longbow taller than him
with a bowstring and the tools to complete it

Say Hello to our ancient brother

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

To Ham Hill and Beyond

The lanes are lined with lace
Cow Parsley that sways and dances as we pass
our prayer wheel tyres turn and
charge our journey with significance

We dive deep into low green tree tunnels
where gnarled heat-seeking branches
reach out, over and above

Rise to a downland sea of many grasses
arrayed with sheep and bleating lambs
where the horizon is calling
to take us away

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Rose Bower

for Gita, wherever you are

Enchantment beckoned at the end of your garden
many climbing roses intertwined into a
a concealing bower where

we spied on hidden lovers
hunted magic deer that leapt
skywards and away from
our orbital arrows that encircled the world

we swapped shoes and dresses
each handmade by our mothers
each smelling so different
you said all my people smelled of milk
I thought all yours were spice scented
and beautiful

we kissed each others palms
held our breath as pirate raiders crept by
evaded an amorous Sultan
sucked the tart sweetness of pomegranates
taken from your mothers kitchen

we found brambles amid the blooms
you did not know blackberries at all
then loved them more than pomegranate
because they grew in our magic place
you mother thought they were dirty
like me

we thought this would go on forever
that we would grow up together
then, you were suddenly gone
moved away to where
a school would accept an Ugandan Asian girl

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Toxic

I’m so tall, I’m so tall
Yet you raised me to be so small

As waves wash an uncaring shore
So I would wash you with my love

As they caress rocks and pebbles
I used to kiss your uncaring cheek

Waited with the patience of waves
For you to regard me

To see the woman I had become
As someone you could be proud of

That tide went out years ago
I now walk a different shore

I’m so tall, I’m so tall
Yet you raised me to be so small

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Misquote in italics from Living on the Ceiling by Neil Arthur and Stephen Alfred Luscombe