Category Archives: Wild life

Chorus

Serenading light’s rising,
waking at a first feeble glimmer
creeping from the east.
Each bird a separate voice
whole body singing from tails depth.
Performing a duty since the original melodious call
heralding dawns radiance
thankful for a daily miracle.
Worshipping warmth’s return
and the new day.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

A Fox Crossed Barley Lane

A wonderful tale of foxes and people over time:

lifecameos

A fox crossed Barley Lane at dusk
trotting from his den on the heath
towards the scattered Essex farms
to hunt for a springtime dinner of hens
ducks, geese with newly hatched young.
He passed a farm labourer plodding along
the rutted track to a meagre dinner.
The fox would dine better than he tonight.

A fox crossed Barley Lane at dusk
trotting from his den on the heath
towards the prosperous Essex farms
keenly seeking a poultry dinner
from their large abundant barns.
He briskly rounded the loaded wagons
creaking along the potholed track.
His mind was on his dinner.

A fox crossed Barley Lane at dusk
trotting from his den on the heath
to seek his dinner at Essex farms and
backyards along the High Road
crossing Barley Lane as it followed
the new railway with its deafening trains.
It took more work to extract his dinner
but…

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Boundless blue

The boundless blue surrounds
As we plunge into its secrets
Swimming after parrot fish
Startled by porpoise
The only sound the bubbles of my breathing
In and out of the snorkel

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Day 2 of our virtual Azores Holiday!

 We will be there all week — a poem a day to fly you away……

Friday Poem: Snake

A snake came to my water-trough 
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.

In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me.

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,
Silently.

Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second-comer, waiting.

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.

The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.

And voices in me said, If you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him?
Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him?
Was it humility, to feel honoured?
I felt so honoured.

And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid you would kill him.

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid,
But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.

He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream, 
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round 
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered further,
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
Overcame me now his back was turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste,
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursèd human education.

And I thought of the albatross,
And I wished he would come back, my snake.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.

D. H. Lawrence – 1885-1930

Octopi  

In tidal pools with their
time melted crab shells and
dribs and drabs of bright green seaweed
are many octopi
legs self entangled
magenta skin turning sweet rose
in sunny waters

It needs gentle prods with a
boot toe to confirm death
so fresh they look
no one else walking the busy
windswept beach seems
to notice or care

In one pool
a larger octopus is beached
as if trying to crawl
to escape back to the estuary
her tentacle tip touching
a bluegray pebble in supplication

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Green

Green rumbles rambles rolls and ripples
in all its shades and hues
rustles murmurs sways and drifts
floats on and under the waters of both
chill chalk stream and ocean
surfaces the land
spawns and augments tall trees
defines jungles, swamps, farmland
cools and shades, feeds and shelters
sparkled with daisies
strewn with buttercups
cut red with poppy wounds

Green is waste light reflected back from leaves
by the quantum machine of photosynthesis
that powers all life

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

‘Green’ was first published in the Environs issue of Snakeskin: http://www.snakeskinpoetry.co.uk/

Bone, bird and air

Bone, bird and air
conspire to create grace
joy, a tumbling skydance
life exuberant, bright
triumphant over cold and hunger
here this icy winter day
knitted in those bones
are genes we share
we each breath the air
but only she flies
painting her joy onto the sky
cavorting into heaven

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Too hot, too hot

Like tracks in the snow
Little lives go
In our melting

 

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Not the poem I thought I was going to write, but the one that came. Another is brewing, but this one is for all the small lives lost in forest fires everyhere…..

Written in reponse to Earthweals challenge ‘Ghosts’ at

https://earthweal.com/2020/01/13/weekly-challenge-ghosts/

Please go and see what else is there!