Tag Archives: childhood

Careful!

I have to carry myself carefully
as I did when a small child prone to tripping
carrying flowers for Grandma
held tight in both hands
all along the road, almost to the moon
it felt, admonished to be careful
continually.
Clumsy they called me, lackadaisical
cack-handed
but my feet turned in
and a treatment had been refused

I have returned to my start it seems
after a fall in the dark
and a crack to the head
this wavering shaky plod
rather than that old vivid
stumbling run
makes me clumsy again

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Across the road

Was a whole different universe,
of course the road was the A40
or the Western Avenue as we called it then.
One side urban west London
the other a seemingly limitless sprawl of brambles
riddled with paths sized for squeezing small children
as if the local mothers had arranged it so
that adults could not blackberry but only
give instructions from the edges.
Everyone brambled in summer
red stained children limping home
at days end with huge leaking bags of berries
and a future full of pies and jam.
The real magic of that place was a stream
clear and sparkling, running over pebbles
in places deep and wide, where
baby brothers could be washed
and drinking cups filled.
The shallows were my solitary joy in spring when
armed with a net and an empty jam jar I searched for
blushed red male Sticklebacks, to bring them home
and watch them, marvelling at
their writhing sinuous shapes,
those outsized blue-green eyes
the sharp stickles on each back.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Taking part in Sarah Connor’s challenge over at Earthweal.

Here’s Sarah’s prompt:

“So, for this prompt, I’d like you to think about how you first felt connected to nature – maybe as a child, or as an adult. Some of those lost words may inspire you, or you may have your own lost word (or world?) that gave you a sense of wonder at the natural world around you. Maybe you collected caterpillars, or watched birds on a bird-table, or squatted down to watch beetles, or looked up to see squirrels in the treetops.”

Friday Poem: Timothy Winters

Timothy Winters comes to school
With eyes as wide as a football-pool,
Ears like bombs and teeth like splinters:
A blitz of a boy is Timothy Winters.

His belly is white, his neck is dark,
And his hair is an exclamation-mark.
His clothes are enough to scare a crow
And through his britches the blue winds blow.

When teacher talks he won’t hear a word
And he shoots down dead the arithmetic-bird,
He licks the pattern off his plate
And he’s not even heard of the Welfare State.

Timothy Winters has bloody feet
And he lives in a house on Suez Street,
He sleeps in a sack on the kithen floor
And they say there aren’t boys like him anymore.

Old Man Winters likes his beer
And his missus ran off with a bombardier,
Grandma sits in the grate with a gin
And Timothy’s dosed with an aspirin.

The welfare Worker lies awake
But the law’s as tricky as a ten-foot snake,
So Timothy Winters drinks his cup
And slowly goes on growing up.

At Morning Prayers the Master helves
for children less fortunate than ourselves,
And the loudest response in the room is when
Timothy Winters roars “Amen!”

So come one angel, come on ten
Timothy Winters says “Amen
Amen amen amen amen.”
Timothy Winters, Lord. Amen

by Charles Causley

This poem is in a poetry book I bought for my children when young. It made them cry, but they loved it. They each knew a “Timothy”, I’m sad to say……

What do I remember first?

Is it the blackboard where I learnt my ABCs?
The way I tripped over my own feet, scarring my knees?
Waking up from sleeping next to my Nan in her great bed?
How it hurt when plaits were pulled tight to my head?
My gnarled, grumpy, loving Grampee
Telling me stories as I sat on his knee
Of Susan the Officer-kicking Mule
Or perhaps my first day at school
One seat left, next to John Searle
Happy to be friends with a lonely girl
The teacher who was angry that I could already read
My joy at being there, suddenly free
To learn everything and to love books
In which no one cared about a girl’s looks
My heroes were always boys and men
Not many strong women in stories then
My friends the boys  were rough and poor
Never cared what dress I wore or tore
Quiet, pretty and sweet seemed to be the rule
But I learnt another way at my first school

 

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

……I was trying (at the suggestion of a friend) to write a short account of my girlhood for my sons, and this poem came bubbling out…….

The teenage years

The teenage years

All bets are off in the teenage years
You still share your child’s hopes and fears
But they are a child no more –Can you hear that slammed door?
It’s a bumpy ride–Sometimes Jekyll, sometimes Hyde
You love them to bits, you can’t stand them any more
And there again is that slamming door
You glimpse a young woman, you glimpse a young man –Try to catch them if you can
Sometimes it seems they’re a toddler again –Needing to share some of the pain
Do you remember when this was you?
Now you know what your parents went through……

                 Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Re-blogged from 2015….

Toddler

Toddler

You cuddle up to me in your sleep, comforted by mother warmth
What do you dream little man, my child full of wonder
You exhaust  me by day and then enthral me at your time of sleeping
Always asking for more, lifting my soul and life
Every day is an  adventure for us
As I discover the world in and through your eyes

  Copyright © 2017  Kim Whysall-Hammond

I wrote this poem when my sons were much much younger….

Broken Doll

Broken Doll

I broke the doll almost on purpose
Trying to fit her into the toy tank

Determined to play my way
My own game not theirs

Broken dolls littered the playroom
Symbols of a girl who wasn’t

Broken dolls litter the promenade
Broken bodies strew the road

He broke them all on purpose
Because they do not play his game

 

  Copyright © 2017  Kim Whysall-Hammond