Tag Archives: family

My sons tower over me

My sons tower over me
making me feel like I have shrunk
the eldest shares stories  of University
some I’d rather not hear

Spontaneous hugs envelop  me
protective and loving
we smile over stories of their boyhood
adventures while walking to school
playing at Orcs  in the woods
chasing waves on a North Sea beach
then travelling home soaked through
that time in the fountain…

I  am grateful for the gifts of love and joy
that they bring me
many times unknowingly
am happy when the house
fills with the deep laughter of young men

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

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Forefathers

One walked into shellfire for a mile
and a half
to check if a barbed wire barrier
was now holed

One fought Ottomans in Salonika
and fought again in the next war that burnt Europe

One built underground factories,
and stood at the end of a
bombed and burning street
mourning

We tell their great grandchildren,
watch them weep,
while grateful that
in most of Europe
war is distant

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Each of our Grandfathers survived their wars, but my Aunt lost an fiancé — one of the many American GI’s killed on D-Day.

Forefathers

One walked into shellfire for a mile
and a half
to check if a barbed wire barrier
was now holed

One built underground factories,
and stood at the end of a
bombed and burning street
mourning

One fought Ottomans in Salonika
and fought again in the next war that burnt Europe

We tell their great grandchildren,
watch them weep,
while grateful that
in most of Europe
war is distant

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Each of our Grandfathers survived their wars, but my Aunt lost an fiancé — one of the many American GI’s killed on D-Day.

Dad

Dad was a twin, so identical
they were still mistaken for each other
into late middle age.
Which was always funny.

Dad was a runner,
running for sheer joy
so gracefully.
Keeping that joy into old age.

Dad was an artist,
an art school graduate who
gave it up to feed his family.
Only after his stroke did he paint once more.

Dad was a gardener,
after work  checking his beloved tomatoes
before he saw his wife and children.
“But they’re my tomatoes.” he would say – and we forgave him.

Dad loved the outdoors,
walking children and grandchildren across fields
to watch rabbits and deer.

Dad was a friend to all,
and interested in everything
“Who is Dad talking to now” we would cry.

We lost him at at a stately home,
found him and Lord Bath discussing crockery
in the formal dining room.

Dad was a family man,
He loved his wife, children, grandchildren so much.
Everyone who met him found a new friend.

We will watch his grandchildren grow
Who is the runner? Who the artist? Who is the friend?
May they all be as kind.

And we will all remember his smile.

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For Trevor William Whysall, 1930 – 2005

This was my eulogy at Dad’s funeral in 2005. His grandchildren are all mostly grown up now. Art, sports, love and kindness feature largely in each of their lives. I am proud of them all. He would be too.

The teenage years

All bets are off in the teenage years
You still share your child’s hopes and fears
But they are a child no more –Can you hear that slammed door?
It’s a bumpy ride–Sometimes Jekyll, sometimes Hyde
You love them to bits, you can’t stand them any more
And there again is that slamming door
You glimpse a young woman, you glimpse a young man –Try to catch them if you can
Sometimes it seems they’re a toddler again –Needing to share some of the pain
Do you remember when this was you?
Now you know what your parents went through……

  Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Re-blogged from 2015….This is our second time round with teenage moods and contradictions. And he leaves us for University soon, after which time I’m sure we will long for the thumping around and those “I cant believe my parents are so thick” looks once more!

 

Evening in Norwegian mountains

White cold sun slides down
The arc of brief afternoon
Dips behind a shattered peak
And snow and air turn vivid blue
Colouring all in dimness
Silence becomes more so
It is the time for trolls

My sons laughter fills the sledding slope
As I cajole them to the cabin
A long walk away
Across deep snow
During the time for trolls

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Re-blogged from 2017

 

The world within #poem #poetry

We are the body electric
Our cells sense differences
In the electricities around us

We are multitudes
blood containing cells
from parents and children

And yes, children, we are stardust
billions of stars died three times over
to make our atoms

Poetry and wonder
is our very
existence

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Grampee

Merry eyes, wicked smile, teller of tales.
Grandfather mine, I would sit on your knee
hear of Susan, the Mule that liked to kick officers
and saved you on a mountain pass.
How you were called the
Prince of Baghdad  by your comrades
and of meeting real Princes in India.
Self taught, you bought me
Maths books to read with you,
squeezed me into your
invalid carriage and drove to
expensive French restaurants for lunch.
Your love of life and learning
and food
is mine, forever.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For my maternal Grandfather Alfred Domenico Brown, born Valetta Malta 1897, died London 1979. Much missed.

Alfren and Ethel Brown at Windsor 1957

1939

She did not weep,
nothing so soft or poetic,
my grandmother sobbed long and hard
remembering war-crippled brothers, war dead father.
She had nursed soldiers, married one,
spent recent years in dread.
A few words on the Wireless,
a husband mustering with his gun,
and the nightmare returns.

As a child, thirty years later,
I saw hunger in her old eyes
a longing for security from fear
that she never lost.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For Ethel Maude Wellsted Brown (known as Maude), orphaned by the Boer War, Pharmacist during the 1918 Flu pandemic, wife and mother to Airmen and Airwomen. My beloved maternal Grandmother who married a poor boy from Malta and, despite the attitudes of the time, danced with black GI’s in Wiltshire  as they waited to fight in D-Day and the liberation of Europe.

The photo is of her and her children in the mid-1930’s. The little girl in white grew up to be my mother. The three larger children were all in the RAF or WAAF in World War 2. They and their father came through the war unscathed.

According to my mother (who was eleven at the time), Maude sobbed for hours after the declaration of war was broadcast in September 1939..