Tag Archives: Dverse

Absent

One grandmother is a monochrome photograph
other people’s eloquent stories
even the only grandchild she lived to see
cannot now remember her

She was
tall, stylish and elegant on my grandad’s arm
smiling enigmatically at the camera
the wife he still mourned deeply
twenty years after her untimely death

She is
the reason I can write this
for she saved her premature baby sons lives by
determination and ingenuity when the midwife
left them for dead

So maybe she is not absent at all

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem is published for Dverse, where the theme is Grandmothers. My paternal grandmother died a year before I was born, but she still had a great impact on my life…..

When ice goes slow….

Lillehammer in winter, ice diamonds in the snow
ice feathers on branches show the temperature
is very low

Deep cold in England, garden cobwebs become adorned
with days of hoar frost growth and the spiders
are folorn

The slow magic of ice delights me

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem is a quadrille, it has exactly 44 words. It is posted in response to the prompt over at Dverse tonight. Mish has asked us for quadrilles using the word ice, or words formed from it.

My Grandmother Maude

She always drank her tea in a china cup
held delicately over the saucer

Told me stories of India and palaces
of hunger and hard work

Bouyant pure white hair, pretty blue eyes
her room was roses and paintings of swans

Her kitchen immaculate, her front step polished red
she worked in a house dress and Marigold Gloves

Still feared the workhouse
although they were long gone

At nineteen, she married a dashing young airman
with bright green eyes and a dazzling smile

Held steadfast as husband, son and
two daughters fought in global war

Loved me, her last grandaughter
raised me until I was four

Left a deep wound at her death
that I still carry buried inside

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Writing this poem has been revelatory, as I nowrealise how much I have buried the loss I felt when Maude died . I was ony nine years old when we lost her to Diabetes.

I have written one other poem about Maude, 1939, which tells of her distress at the onset of World War two.

The Mourning of the Children


There are towers, tall and round, no
windows and, at the ground, simply one
slender doorless entrance where I find
wide shallow multicoloured steps girdle
the wall, spiral up, up and up. Lens shaped
fat floors hover at random heights, can
be accessed by leaping across a sweeping
chasm. I leapt and slid across the silky slippy surface
of a convex floor last night and am
still falling down and down, watching
the floor rise to devour me. Yet here
I stand waiting to ascend once more.


A voice asks:
What pecks now at the bleached bones
of your ideology and who weighs
the sins that you will not repent?


I do not know but must climb anew
until I locate an answer in each crying smile
of the many small children that gather around
each tower, hands pressed to the walls.

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This is (almost) a blow by blow account of a dream I had several months ago. It
filled my mind as I woke up and haunted me for most of the day. I get weird
dreams sometimes…

Tonight, Ingrid is hosting dVerse Poetics, where she asks for poetry inspired by dreams or visions. This poem was first published in Ink Drinkers Poetry, Issue 6, June 2022.

Lifegiver

Light
is
both electromagnetic wave and particle

A split persona

We are bathed in gifts from the Sun
photons, neutrinos – all matter of stuff

(and stuff is all matter)

Light
burns and blinds – damages DNA

A shining killer

Our atmosphere and magnetosphere shield us
partially

Oh those Northern Lights……….

Light
is the root of biology

In the heart of every leaf toils a circle of reactions
that turn light into a shining fountain of sugar
again and again and again

Without these all life is gone

Light

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Sarah is hosting at dVerse tonight and it’s all about light. Come and join in!

Magic happens

Those so small sisters
travellers with us on this one green globe
praying for the morning light
and the rush to school

move across the land
arc and wave hello
always beautiful, subtly threatening
fade into sunshine

magic happens
find it today
in defiance of the night
sun dogs all

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem is constructed as per the instructions over at Dverse today where everything is about endings:

– take the very last/final line from each of your most recent poems and re-write them as a poem
– choose at least 12 poems (for this 12th month!)
– keep each line intact, unadulterated
– you may add preposition, conjunction or change of tense if it helps the flow
– you may use enjambment to break a line
– the lines do not have to follow date order

Cold cold morning

November, and you stand in your mobcap
that hated worn black gown
look up at the big house, lit and warm
your tear-stained face pale as the mist
a mist cold as the employer that has told you to leave
leave the one job that feeds your family
family bereft of a father or sons to work
servant work you despised, literate girl that you are
work you so needed

Beggars can’t be choosers

But once the son of the house chose to court you
and you rebuffed him
your days there were numbered
have been sent home without a reference
on a chill winter morning
so you stand in your mobcap, your servant uniform
look up at the big house, lit and warm
weep for the hungry mouths at home
those so small sisters

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem has been written in response to a prompt at Dverse, where we are asked to respond to one of four paintings. I chose John Atkinson Grimshaws painting entitled A November Morning (1883). I looked at the painting (see below), saw the servant girl looking up and her story just came to me.

John Atkinson Grimshaw – Shipley Art Gallery. Title: November Morning, Knostrop Hall, Leeds. Date: 1883. Materials: oil on canvas. Dimensions: 61 x 86.4 cm. Source: https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/november-morning-knostrop-hall-leeds-35520. I have changed the light and contrast of the original photo.

In Rough Waters

Dogger, Fisher, German Bight
on the North Sea in the night
Force Nine gale, rain in sight
praying for the morning light

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

The poetry of the BBC Shipping forecast, broadcast late each night, has filled my adult life from my university days using telescopes, via night feeding babies to now, when I often can’t sleep until well past midnight.

A typical forecast for several sea areas might be;

“Dogger, Fisher, German Bight. Southeast veering southwest 4 or 5, occasionally 6 later. Thundery showers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor.”

What this is telling us is that the sea areas Dogger, Fisher and German Bight are forecast to experience a SW wind direction blowing Force 4 or 5, sometimes F6 later. ‘Later’ is specifically at at time over 12 hours from the time the forecast was issued.

For those of you wondering what the first line of this poem refers to, here is a map of the sea areas covered by the forecast……

Sharing this poem in the Open link Night over at Dverse!

Compostable Love

Happy hours are spent caring
for my compost heaps, feeding them
weeds, grass cuttings, kitchen scraps

The joy of opening a lid
limned with curvaceous curling worms
writhing in clammy pink clumps

a welcome puff of warm air
demonstrating that abundant life is
busy about its bacterial business

watching millipedes and centipedes scatter
diving deep into their insectivorous city
that teems with life and death

I look forward to spreading the fine rich proceeds
of all this work by others on my soil

This poem was first published by Bind Collective, November 2021.

Posted here as part of the Open Link Night over at Dverse

A soup of memories

Heinz Cream of Tomato, served piping hot with grated Cheddar cheese on top and dry toast to tear up and float in it. My Grampee would not eat it any other way, and neither would I. The delightful bright green soup we were served in a hotel in Germany’s Black Forest, which my broccoli hating young sons scoffed up quickly. Yes, it was Broccoli, we had bribed the waiter not to tell them. My homemade chicken soup, made to a recipe originally from Malta (Grampee’s homeland). One of our now adult sons, realising he was not recovering well from a bad bout of Covid drove for 2 hours to get home and have some. Apparently it’s a magical cure for all ills. On a cold day I love Miso Soup with seaweed – so warming! A find in recent years has been Jamaican Chickpea and Squash soup which is very tasty and filling. Soup is not a huge part of our family diet, but it is important to us and to me .

steaming hot bowl
spoon slides in
magic happens

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This Haibun was written in response to the Prompt over at Dverse tonight. Come and join in!