Tag Archives: corona virus

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.  ;)

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

 

With many many thanks to Bjorn Paige who brought this poem to my attention.

https://bjornpaige.wordpress.com/2020/06/09/three-sparks-of-joy/#like-7580

I have broken my own rules with this Friday poem, as it has not come from one of my poetry books. In my defence, I will say that

1/  This is brilliant, and very right for these times, although written several years ago.

2/ I am reading a lot of poetry online at this present time……  :)

Where are my Coyotes?

Other feet now tread the streets
Hooves, pads and claws
Wildness leaks into urban
But
Where are my Coyotes?

Blackbirds loudly call and cry
Rabbits hop on lawns and lanes
No jets disturb the birds of prey
Yet
Where are my Coyotes?

Sheep loiter at McDonalds
Goats skip on empty roads
Britain sees her wildlife play
But
Where are my Coyotes?

 
I’ve seen the pictures on the news
Coyotes in SF and LA
I’ve been good in lockdown
Haven’t I?
WHERE ARE MY COYOTES?

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond
 

Sunshine in Darkness

Rain and fear had washed away the Sun
Her colours run ragged in the rain
But primroses and daffodils kept
The memory of brightness

Neither of us speak today
Or find a want of speaking
Here now, there is sunshine
And a garden

We use old logs, dead plant stems
To build a bug hotel
A haven and shelter
Still keeping 2 metres apart

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Clapping  

Thursday evenings
at our front doors
we are all there

Grinning at each other
neighbours all
stepping out

Into our gardens and
driveways to see
to acknowledge each other

Clapping for our health service
grateful it is there, that people
risk themselves to care for us

It is difficult to stop but
eventually we do
calling out “Stay well”

That mantra of this pandemic
along with “Take Care”
then we go back inside

And someone, along the street
as we stopped last week
played ‘What a wonderful world’

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

and tonight, they played “Somewhere over the Rainbow”……..

Front Door

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 too 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
complemented 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 its 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

front-door-kwh

First published by published by Silver Birch Press:

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

Time and the Virus  

Everything has stopped
Except our beating hearts
This fear, anxiety
Dread
To curtail viral spread
Those things by which we
Often measure passing time
Are gone
Birthday parties, Easter family dinners
Clubs, days out, hanging with friends
Forbidden
Passover is still kept
But changed and
Separately

Oh for a cultural tradition of my own
I could cling onto
Instead in Lockdown, we English
Have changed, seem to be talking more
Greeting fellow walkers with smiles and waves

Nature is apace, pushing forward
Birds sing in the absence of traffic
A blue tit perches in my unused car
Flowers bloom, trees bud
Life burdgeons joyously

In the human world
It is as if the month of March
And, so far, a good part of April
Has been cancelled

Just our still beating hearts
And this fear, anxiety
Dread

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond