Tag Archives: corona virus

Grief

Grief fills you up and binds you
It rages and despairs
You want to look behind you
To seek the person that’s not there
A black hole rests within you
Filled with empty pain
A cry comes from inside you
I want that time again

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For all those who have lost loved ones in the Pandemic.

All in the Family

Raging against the rest of us
she calls us feeble sheep
doltards, retards, connivers in
our own imprisonment
bitter enemies of freedom

Freedom being, apparently
the right to party
to go down the pub
drink yourself insensible
and to then post photos of your creative craziness
as you throw up in the gutter

My freedoms are different
yes, I long to see and hug
but I need more to stay alive
to walk in fresh air, to read, to think
in peace and in health

Freedom , as always, is mutable

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

I am listening with my eyes closed

I am listening with my eyes closed
bees bumble in flowers
wasps sharp buzzing near my head
bicycles spin past in the lane
I smell the lycra
I am listening with my eyes closed

I am listening with my eyes closed
to walkers stepping around
keeping the distance
people anxious and wary
soft breezes and hot sun
in a trapped season
I am listening with my eyes closed

I am listening, listening, feeling
cool air under trees
folk chatting as they pass
voices subdued
always the news, always the count

I am hoping, hoping, wanting
Fear washes us all clean
I am remembering
embracing, kissing friends
laughing

I am listening with my eyes closed
air moves, shivers leaves above
traffic burrs along a distant road
something clangs nearby
life persists, hopes, loves
I am listening with my eyes closed.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

My response to earthweal weekly challenge: The Unsayable.

I am describing last summer in lockdown in this poem. Apart from the change form summer to winter, there is no material difference in my daily life between then to now.

Of course, we do now have safe and working vaccines!

Vaccination Day

I could see his wide welcoming smile
even a mask couldn’t hide it
as he waved me through the door
to the tempearture scan.
At the entry desk, a familar face
my diabetes nurse, eyes lit
everyone was bouyant, so
pleased to be there
to be part of something grand.

A short wait, wearing a sticker
with name, birthdate, NHS number
then a doctor beckoned
such a light jab in the arm
and then out to sit fifteen minutes
chatting to strangers, laughing
finally back out to bright sunshine.

Every thing was bright today.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Today I got my first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Data shows one dose reduces the risk of catching infection by more than 70%, rising to 85% after the second dose. Yippee!

Thank you to all the volunteers who are making this fast rollout such a happy success.

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

Friday Poem: Everything is Going to be All Right

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.

by Derek Mahon,from Selected Poems

Dereck died on 1st October 2020.

This poem was a consolation and an inspiration to me at the beginning of the UK lockdown.

Friday Poem: Winter In America

From the Indians who welcomed the pilgrims
And to the buffalo who once ruled the plains
Like the vultures circling beneath the dark clouds
Looking for the rain
Looking for the rain


Just like the cities staggered on the coastline
Living in a nation that just can’t stand much more
Like the forest buried beneath the highway
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow


And now it’s winter
Winter in America
Yes and all of the healers have been killed
Or sent away, yeah
But the people know, the people know
It’s winter
Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
‘Cause nobody knows what to say
Save your soul, Lord knows
From Winter in America


The Constitution
A noble piece of paper
With free society
Struggled but it died in vain
And now Democracy is ragtime on the corner
Hoping for some rain
Looks like it’s hoping
Hoping for some rain


And I see the robins
Perched in barren treetops
Watching last-ditch racists marching across the floor
But just like the peace sign that vanished in our dreams
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow


And now it’s winter
It’s winter in America
And all of the healers have been killed
Or been betrayed
Yeah, but the people know, people know
It’s winter, Lord knows
It’s winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your souls
From Winter in America


And now it’s winter
Winter in America
And all of the healers done been killed or sent away
Yeah, and the people know, people know
It’s winter
Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows, nobody knows
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save

Written by Gil Scott-Heron (1949–2011)

An old poem that is now very timely. A lot of this poem also now applies to Britain too, sadly.

Fragments

Dark clouds lurk at the horizon
Promising

I was hungry and you gave me food
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink

We are each but a moment away
From displacement and death

I was a stranger and you welcomed me
I was naked and you gave me clothing

A Fuel Tanker slides over the middle line
Edging to disaster

I was sick and you took care of me
I was in prison and you visited me

We are a greater whole
Diminished when others suffer

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Written in response to the Earthweal challenge this week, where I learnt about the concept of Ubuntu. I had not realised that one of my heroes, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was influenced by Ubuntu in his work on reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa. A definition is below:

A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.

Of course some of the lines in this poem are from one of this planets great socialist thinkers.  ;)