Tag Archives: England

Picking up the Cheeses

We seem to leave modernity at the edge of Salisbury,
Modern road but ancient names
Steep chalk coombes and rolling downland
Peeking through the misty rain
Ansty, Birdbush Farm and Cats Hill
Ludwell and then Shaftesbury town
Winding south we squeeze past lorries
Middle Farm, Rose Cottage, Hawkcombe Lane
Past stone cottages and timber frames,
Compton Abbas , Fontwell Magna, Sutton Waldron
Iwerne Minster, sharp turn left and up the hill,
To the dairy and the Cheese…..

Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 A journey to the real old England, re-blogged from 2015

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Farm

My rolling road smooths over the hills
reveals a distant farm house
hazy gray, huddled in trees
we roll on and the farm folds away
gone into green.
As it did
when Vikings rode past
hunting for spoils, women and food
when the Revenue came later
searching for tax payers.

This land is ancient
holdings forged millennia ago
only when warfare encompassed the air
was this farms safety broached.
Yet bombers passed over to pit and hole
to blast and burn
the farm house remained
snuggled into the land.
Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Edited from a version published here in June 2016

Being English

Show no emotion, hold everything back
Say ’I think we need a bit of support’ when you are under fatal attack
Go about your business as the world falls apart
Hiding the fear deep in your heart
Delight in the odd, the strange and the weird
Live beside the newcomer, even if they are feared
Chicken Tikka Marsala is our national dish,
An island nation that rarely eats fish,
Throw flowers under a princesses hearse
Life may be difficult but it could always be worse
Marry the outsider, swallow them whole
Quiet, loving and different is the English soul

Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

First blogged in 2015 and it seems a bit appropriate this week. I admit that both people in the photo not actually English….but its a great photo!

Winter at the hill fort

Bright winter pools lean against the
steep grassy ramparts
and trees are doubled by reflection.
Our path is not so much muddy
as at swimming depth
so we clamber up to where
large cloven hoofprints
embroider the rim.
A fat old oak
moss green, porcine, thick with time
blocks our way,
it’s toes scrabbling
pushing into slushy mud.

 

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Somerset Tsunami

The surprise flood leaps high up the church wall
infusing its stones with estuarine silts.
Priests exalt the Lord, gladdened by long awaited  Armageddon
prepared to guide their flocks to heaven
or to hell.
The press of water and terror makes it difficult to breathe
the fields are indigo like the winter sea
they are the winter sea now.
Sheep murmur in the waters.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

A large portion of Somerset, in the West Country, is very low-lying. It is called the Somerset Levels, and still floods today at time of very high rainfall, despite drainage canals.

On a sunny 30th January 1607, there was a sudden, very high, flood. The written descriptions  from the time describe the sea receding before the wave arrived and that the wave rushed in faster than people could run. A crowd of people stood and watched the high wave coming towards them until it was too late to run. It is now understood that the ‘Flood’ was a tsunami.

 

Deceiving hills

These hills deceive.
Apparent summits slide off away
as the slope goes farther up again.
Their hollows and ridges
cosset then expose.
Any level walking is above the spring line
so the ignorant go thirsty.
In their interior,
direction is lost with the clouds.
The oldest ways stay close
to the stiff steep slopes down to water
and someone to tell you the way.

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond