Tag Archives: exmoor

On Blue Anchor Beach, Exmoor

Crevasses hide slidden trees
while cliff tops have shed huge rocks
now littered out below
like unstrung Brobdingnagian beads

On this miss-sized jewellers of a beach
glittering with quartz and pearled fossils
we scamper over curled dark pools
fish for a sense of perspective

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Only Exmoor

Only Exmoor stretches out to embrace the whole sky in its immensity
Reflects its moods and colours, its nurture and destruction
Only the moor is as fickle as the sky

Today the moor is swallowed as clouds subsume the uplands
Yesterday it shed water like the clouds themselves
Tomorrow it will shimmer with heat, dry and unforgiving

Trees hide in hollows, afraid to stand in the open
Sheep bones litter the spring hillsides
Peaty silty bogs nestle with gorse , bracken and heather

Only Exmoor reaches out to bleed the very rain from the sky
To lie seeming gentle with its folds and billows, green fields abutting the heather
Then to gladly accept the gifts of deadly snow, killing floods, baking heat

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem first appeared in Peacock Journal 2017

Standing on Dunkery

Any hill will do
They all are sacred, but
Dunkery at twilight
As mist seeps up from
Purple heather
Horizons broaden out
And valleys settle into shadow

Sheep bleat, asking for their land back
But we walk the broad path
To a scattered mound of stone
Skirting nervous wild ponies
As the sun paints them golden

Ponies never ask, it is always theirs
As it belonged to the mound builders
Five thousand years ago
As it belongs
And doesn’t belong
To us all
But especially tonight
To me and mine

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Written in response to this weeks EarthWeal challenge “Sacred Landscapes“. Exmoor is very special and it’s highest point, Dunkery Beacon, even more so.

Lights : A Speculative poem

Moonlight feathers treetops
reveals hill slopes, shadows gullies
sketches out my beautiful Exmoor.
Lone headlights angle skywards on the west horizon
twisting along the high road.
I watch at the window on this cold night
as the car winds along towards us
praying
(to however may
or may not be listening)
that traitor Moon
will not glint on my rifle barrel.

Gripping the gun with amateurs nerves,
I reach for Eva’s hand
and we hold our breath while
a child cries fitfully in the house.
We all have broken sleep in these remaining days.
We eke out, stand watch, wait.
For what? For a quiet death perhaps.
But in the day we want very much to live
so we tend straggling sheep, shoot rabbit,
go on.

Fear clutches my gut as the car turns past empty houses
and down along our valley road,
and a form of relief washes us as it continues on
following the river to richer pickings in the southern towns.
I move my baby  to feed at my other breast
and mourn the futures stolen from her,
the violence awaiting.

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

‘Lights’ was first published in The Future Fire: http://press.futurefire.net/2019/05/new-issue-201949.html

 

Stone in the Water

Deep plunge pool in the heart of the moor
Centred in spring time unfurling of bracken
Shadowed by a twisted thorn tree
Water pours in over a mossy lip
Large pebbles line the sloping
Glowing colours in crystal water

Something falls
Breaks the surface
Circles upon circles radiate
Contours ripple to a point of disappearance
Sparkle in the dawn light
Stone in the water

 

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Re-blogged from 2016.

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

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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We live on the high ground

We live on the high ground
Below us the water tumbles and falls, jumping over buried rocks
Water criss-crosses the land  eventually falling to the sea
Life is good here on the high, fresh soil and clear water
Healthy children, full bellies, long lives
Yesterday we sowed seed, laughing and singing
Today the sun is warm and the birds are singing for me
I try to put the birdsong into speech
As we knap flints from the coast
Mother is drawing a circle on the turf near the Family stones
A circle stones of to encompass Grandmother who closes in to death
We will cover her in the soil of home to keep her with us
Here on the high ground

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Originally published in Three Drops from a Cauldron: Issue 11