Tag Archives: family

Under Dover

Father and sons knew their worth
objected to their place in the ladder of profit
and so were sent to where southern mines
took men deep under the English channel
no sparkling mornings for them, but toil in darkness
too far for safety, too damp for peace of mind
off-shift, nightmares of death by water
haunted villages across the weald
on-shift the family built farther out
tunnel men all, determined to live
to fight for justice back up top
 
Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond
Wilfred Whysall, my Grandfather, one of the sons in this poem

Riverine

My youngest son is rushing
from the sharp hills of adolescence
over rocks and stones, always onwards
like a river to an unfathomable ocean

His thoughts are deep
his soul ancient, older than the flow
kept within his banks

He bickers down valleys
sometimes stilled, mostly calm
until an overflow of joy
forces a burst, a breaking of the levee
and he talks, oh he talks
of his passions, fears and hopes
as a waterfall speaking to the wind

Who will dive into his depths
see the treasures within clear waters
bring them to the surface
for the world to see

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Stanza 2 References “The Negro Speaks of Rivers By Langston Hughes 

Silent Night?

The TV and Xbox are quiet
no more Elves fighting Dwarves
or befriending them

The hall way is full of scattered trainers, coats
and, strangely, various hats
cowboy, trilby, tiger, Nessie

Crowded into the room above
they laugh and whisper
thinking they are silent

Sleep eludes us all………

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Ah, the days when the house was crowded with teenagers….

Apart

To be so many miles away
unable to travel
no breakfast  hug for me
no cards sent
(you said you would not use your mailbox
in case of infection)
no gifts given as yet
you are where you want
and need to be
loved and loving

My tall dark haired
generously bearded
kind thoughtful son
clever and daft in a single
wonderful package
you have  laughed and talked your way
through life
garnered so many friends
loved learning, but not school
blossomed at university
now deeply in love

Happy Birthday

and
keep washing those hands……..

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

One of my sons is away for his birthday. Not so awful, but we woud have usually got the family and his beloved Dutch Godfather together for a celebration — which cannot happen in lockdown. And I miss my hugs…..

Husbandry

He talks to chickens
Sometimes with their own sounds
Otherwise in English
Discussing the state of the hen house
The undesirability of chickens entering the house
And pooping on our elderly carpet

They themselves have their own opinions
Apparently
The availability of fresh greens in their diet
The joy of scratching about on the shingle path
The delightful crunchiness of dried meal worms
When I suggest that the girls take part in family decisions
In order to address the gender imbalance
I am rejected
They have their own forum
Talking with my husband each day
True husbandry

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

 

The letter

His last letter home
is now 120 years old
frail, wafer thin paper
copperplate writing in blue ink
words faded and lost at the creases
tear drops have blurred others

His last letter home
was written from Africa
tells of the fury and terror of local thunderstorms
talks of photos and chocolate received
dreams of trips to the seaside
when he gets back
for he will board ship in three weeks

His last letter home
says how he reckons
that the Boers have no fight left
but it seems they did
a few days later they attacked his column
shot him from his horse
killed him

His last letter home
ended with fifteen kisses

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

The letter is in my possession, and was from Charles Stephen Coughtry Wellsted, my Great Grandfather.   Charles was killed on 10th May 1900 at Vredes Verdag in South Africa, three months before his only daughter (my maternal Grandmother) was born. He was 34 years old, a Private in the Royal Scots Greys 2nd Dragoons. The photo is of a Royal Scots Greys  dragoon in Boer War kit.

I do not, as yet, know Charles’ birthday, but he was christened at Snargate Church in Romney Marsh on 17th February 1866.

The letter

His last letter home
is now 120 years old
frail, wafer thin paper
copperplate writing in blue ink
words faded and lost at the creases
tear drops have blurred others

His last letter home
was written from Africa
tells of the fury and terror of local thunderstorms
talks of photos and chocolate received
dreams of trips to the seaside
when he gets back
for he will board ship in three weeks

His last letter home
says how he reckons
that the Boers have no fight left
but it seems they did
a few days later they attacked his column
shot him from his horse
killed him

His last letter home
ended with fifteen kisses

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

The letter is in my possession, and was from Charles Stephen Coughtry Wellsted, my Great Grandfather.   Charles was killed on 10th May 1900 at Vredes Verdag in South Africa, three months before his only daughter (my maternal Grandmother) was born. He was 34 years old, a Private in the Royal Scots Greys 2nd Dragoons. The photo is of a Royal Scots Greys  dragoon in Boer War kit.

I do not, as yet, know Charles’ birthday, but he was christened at Snargate Church in Romney Marsh on 17th February 1866.

It’s all geek to you

Sixty six thousand miles an hour she spins us around her
yet a layer of grey moistness
stops the Sun’s nuclear furnace from warming my bones
as I lie here on the garden deck
wrapped old lady like in fleece blanket
and suburban birdsong

Five hundred thousand miles an hour we all turn around
the black maw at galactic central
that swallows worlds and never enough
lunching on stellar archipelagoes
leading me to think of  Schwartzchild radii
and equations I once manipulated.

Faster than both, you fall through the front door
laughing over the factorisation error you made
in today’s school test.
Functionally innumerate, mathematically gifted,
golden, green eyed geek son of mine.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For my youngest son, 19 today, still a geek, soon to be an aerospace engineer.

This poem was written when he was still at school.