Tag Archives: family

Toxic

I’m so tall, I’m so tall
Yet you raised me to be so small

As waves wash an uncaring shore
So I would wash you with my love

As they caress rocks and pebbles
I used to kiss your uncaring cheek

Waited with the patience of waves
For you to regard me

To see the woman I had become
As someone you could be proud of

That tide went out years ago
I now walk a different shore

I’m so tall, I’m so tall
Yet you raised me to be so small

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Misquote in italics from Living on the Ceiling by Neil Arthur and Stephen Alfred Luscombe

Uncle

Waking up with Nanny in her soft double bed
the room white and pink with swans and roses
Sunday morning and you would bring milky tea
Hot in her best rose gold china cup and saucers
we would sip, little fingers raised as you left
Before we too rose

Later, your Saturday visits to our house
bringing a bounty of colourful comics to read
And a secret pocket of sweets, for Mum not to see
How my brothers and I took you for granted
Never noticed the shining love in your eyes

Your hand grasping mine in supplication
As they wheeled you, protesting to surgery
from which you did not return, your
faltering loving heart finally stopping
Under the anaesthetists care

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

All in the Family

Raging against the rest of us
she calls us feeble sheep
doltards, retards, connivers in
our own imprisonment
bitter enemies of freedom

Freedom being, apparently
the right to party
to go down the pub
drink yourself insensible
and to then post photos of your creative craziness
as you throw up in the gutter

My freedoms are different
yes, I long to see and hug
but I need more to stay alive
to walk in fresh air, to read, to think
in peace and in health

Freedom , as always, is mutable

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Friday Poem: Climbing My Grandfather

I decide to do it free, without a rope or net.
First, the old brogues, dusty and cracked;
an easy scramble onto his trousers,
pushing into the weave, trying to get a grip.
By the overhanging shirt I change
direction, traverse along his belt
to an earth-stained hand. The nails
are splintered and give good purchase,
the skin of his finger is smooth and thick
like warm ice. On his arm I discover
the glassy ridge of a scar, place my feet
gently in the old stitches and move on.
At his still firm shoulder, I rest for a while
in the shade, not looking down,
for climbing has its dangers, then pull
myself up the loose skin of his neck
to a smiling mouth to drink among teeth.
Refreshed, I cross the screed cheek,
to stare into his brown eyes, watch a pupil
slowly open and close. Then up over
the forehead, the wrinkles well-spaced
and easy, to his thick hair (soft and white
at this altitude), reaching for the summit,
where gasping for breath I can only lie
watching clouds and birds circle,
feeling his heat, knowing
the slow pulse of his good heart.

By Andrew Waterhouse

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Waterhouse

Friday Poem: Human Family

note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

By Maya Angelou

The Times he Cheated Death

As a baby, birthweight three pounds.
Swaddled in cotton wool, wrapped in tinfoil
tucked up by the steaming kettle
his mother bringing both twins to ruddy health.

In the Coventry bombing, a taxi driver sped
Mother and sons out of town, to sleep among trees.
They returned next morning, found their father
weeping by the flattened house.

That time he nearly didn’t come back
the anaesthetic would not release him
and his twin collapsed on the Parade Ground
could not be roused.

Fighting back from the unfathomable stroke
that took his right side and so his running
his special joy yet also
gave him his art back

The final summer, pneumonias repeated pulmonary attacks
when he saw new dawns after doctors had given him up.
Suddenly to be gone, after an evening laughing with my little boys.
Grandsons who barely remember him now.

After Amanda Topping

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

A poem about my Dad, Trevor Whysall.

Friday Poem: To my Sister

It is the first mild day of March:
Each minute sweeter than before,
The Redbreast sings from the tall larch
That stands beside our door.

There is a blessing in the air,
Which seems a sense of joy to yield
To the bare trees, and mountains bare,
And grass in the green field.

My Sister! (’tis a wish of mine)
Now that our morning meal is done,
Make haste, your morning task resign;
Come forth and feel the sun.

Edward will come with you;—and pray,
Put on with speed your woodland dress;
And bring no book: for this one day
We’ll give to idleness.

No joyless forms shall regulate
Our living Calendar:
We from to-day, my friend, will date
The opening of the year.

Love, now a universal birth,
From heart to heart is stealing,
From earth to man, from man to earth,
—It is the hour of feeling.

One moment now may give us more
Than years of toiling reason:
Our minds shall drink at every pore
The spirit of the season.

Some silent laws our hearts will make,
Which they shall long obey:
We for the year to come may take
Our temper from to-day.

And from the blessed power that rolls
About, below, above,
We’ll frame the measure of our souls:
They shall be tuned to love.

Then come, my Sister! come I pray,
With speed put on your woodland dress;
—And bring no book: for this one day
We’ll give to idleness.

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

Peering into the Kitchen

It’s Christmas Eve and the kitchen is a mess
everything crusted with flour as more pastry is made
because someone has eaten all the mince pies already.

The jelly stuffed full of Rum soaked sponges has finally set
providing a foundation for our Christmas Trifle
and the Christmas Cake has been iced
with red rocketships rather than holly.

Meanwhile someone is melting dark chocolate
to make a Yule Log the way Grandad used to
and not looking guilty at all.

I smile and close the door on my adult sons as
their chocolate fuelled laughter resounds in my ears.
Christmas is finally here!

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem appeared yesterday on Sarah Connors Advent Calendar, but I couldn’t help but blog it again today, as it is about our own little Christmas Eve tradition.

Many years ago, I would leave the bulk of the Christmas baking until Christmas Eve, and have an all day marathon with my two little boys. By the time Daddy came home from work, they were happy and above all tired. Not over excited at all, so sleep came easy to them and Father Christmas could drink his Calvados, eat his mince pie and fill those stockings.

The mess is a family joke –when they were young, somehow the house on Christmas Eve was littered with floury handprints…

As they grew up, the lads decided to do all the baking (and a lot of eating) on thier own. They make the Christmas Cake (a traditional fruit cake), mince pies, a chocolate Yule Log cake, and a Trifle. And yes, extra batches of pies are made, as the first batch always vanishes.

They cook the main meal on Christmas Day too, so we are very lucky parents!

Wilma


I sit on the stairs
of another woman’s house
one I love deeply
my mother was the star to her
rockfast grace and kindness
but stars burn out and die

Wilma still shines
her back may be bent but
her eyes glow
this house was sanctuary
and freedom to me
the love she and hers gave me
gentle and calm

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For Wilma, my Mums best friend for 70 years. I love her as a mother and was overwhelmed when her daughters called me sister recently.