Tag Archives: England

Climbing the hill  

Puffing a little after the burning breakfast toast
I attempt my usual stride but the
slippy chossy track is steep
so I fix my mind on the wind in high branches
and Red Kites scattering skyward
anything other than the deep sharp knife point
of asthma embedded in my
chest this morning

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

YOU TALK OF SHAKESPEARE

A brilliant poem from Damian Garside (who blogs at ‘ best poetry blog in the cosmos ~ 4 out of 5 dentists recommend ‘) :-

best poetry blog in the cosmos

YOU TALK OF SHAKESPEARE

you talk of Shakespeare
as if you
know him

and you do
from flowery
pageants of history
and your coffee table
(or maybe that
is too much of an assumption)

you talk of Shakespeare
as if he were so
consonant with
your ideology
(I admit, so much
in common there,
down that
Lancastrian line

the greatest at-pain-
of-death trick
ever pulled

and true Tudor
beginning of British propaganda
those heavenly lies without
which Empire
a true miscarriage,
an abortion

no new world born
Cape to Cairo
sun
never setting
on its shade of pink)

yes
Shakespeare is
one part bedrock and
one part
shadow, pure
disavowal, anarchic subversion

he had the bravery to
flaunt before your faces
the life and energy of his characters

telling a truth you
would not believe

Mr Politician, most recent in that line
of hucksters and usurpers, connivers
and
men with…

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Bosworth Field

A gentle breeze billows the green barley
Sending waves shimmering from hedge to hedge
Elder and Herb Robert sparkle the field edge
Above the oak leaves do not stir

Near here a crown once hung on a thorn bush
Men struggled for cause, battle cries rang out
A King died alone fighting amid the foe
Violated in death, lost
Naked and broken the victors took him to town for display
Traitor they called him, an anointed King of England
Hunchback, wicked, perfidious
Name calling by the new regime
Murderer of children they whispered into the stream of history

A gentle breeze billows the green barley
Above the oak leaves do not stir

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Places of Poetry revisited

I’ve mentioned this  poetry project, Places of Poetry, earlier this year :

https://www.placesofpoetry.org.uk/

The aim has been to “prompt reflection on national and cultural identities in England and Wales, celebrating the diversity, heritage and personalities of place.”  Many people have submitted poems and the site is now closed to new submissions but will remain available for readers.

I highly recommend the site as a treasury of original poetry about places across the United Kingdom.  There is a slider to take the map between ancient and modern graphics, and you need to zoom in to find where poems have been pinned.

I have been browsing the site and there are many excellent poems there. I was interested to see that others think of West London as colourless and grey too.

There are poems of mine near Didcot (south of Oxford),  at Iwerne Minster in Dorset, in North Hillingdon, Lake Glaslyn near Lllanidloes, Mid-Wales, at Stratford upon Avon and in the middle of Exmoor.

Happy Hunting, and I’d love to hear any recommendations from you.

https://www.placesofpoetry.org.uk/

 

Friday poem: The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

by Rupert Brookes

For Rememberance Sunday

Fireworks over England (Penny for the Guy)

Flying across England on Fawkes night,
peering down onto fiery blooms
sending light into the night,
bright chrysanthemums burnt to celebrate failed terrorism.
Fireworks and neighbourhood bonfires spark and glow each November
in long and splendid tradition, now organised and commercial.

But where is my Guy Fawkes?
Built each childhood year from old clothes stuffed with straw,
wheeled around the street, “Penny for the Guy please?”,
burnt on the family bonfire amid fireworks bought with the proceeds of my begging.
Tradition lost in a land that wants to go back on itself once more.

We also used to play in the Trafalgar Square fountains,
splashing in icy midwinter,
kissing Policemen at the stroke of midnight,
fraternity with authority on the turn of the year.
Now crowds buy tickets to watch fireworks over the Thames, passively.
We no longer make our own festivals, they are arranged for us.

We need to take back the small anarchies,
set off Fireworks in our own gardens in November,
burn the Guy as effigy of all we are told to be frightened of,
embrace the neighbours, we are all in this together.
Whatever colour or creed.

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Tonight, we British celebrate Bonfire Night  with fireworks and large bonfires.  The tradition of burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes on the bonfire has all but disappeared.  We also don’t tend to set off our own fireworks in our gardens anymore, but go to large neighbourhood displays.

Of course, the classic poem, that we all learnt when very young, is:

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Rain on the moor

Here on the moor
Rain closes you down
Takes away the horizon
Soaks and settles
Creates hazards
Can flood and kill

Rain lashes at the face
Stinging like needles
Sends cold tendrils down the neck
Seeps into all things
Deepens bogs and fords
Hides the path from view

A rainy day on the moor
Be it drizzle or a squall
Leaves you slipping and tumbling
Heading for shelter
Dripping at the pub or tearoom door
Grateful for the warm and dry

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Fun fair

Turning spinning in a giant Teacup
Flying in chairs round and round
Surrealism rampant on a hot summer night
Sliding whooping skeltering heltering into the dusk
Bumping thumping crashing the cars
Shrieking with gleeful joy
Candy coloured lights flash into the near dark
Illuminating lovers and overexcited children
Tell me, is the coconut shy?

 

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Fellow Traveller

Drowsing on the wayside
Halfway through our walk
We are stopped
Something rustles and I open my eyes
Raise my head
There in the red tipped grasses of the moor
Stands a doe, ears twitching
Black liquid eyes gazing into mine
Two creatures on the uplands
We exchange something in that moment
Before the nearby bleat of a sheep
Startles us each
And the moment and doe are both gone

 

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

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