Tag Archives: family

Rat Trap

I tasted aviation fuel in your air today
Laundry flies in the dirty breeze
Overflying jets deafen your children
I still cannot hear at that pitch
Your rainbows are black, lacking imagination
Hillingdon
Rat trap, small town lost in a mega city
So glad to leave you at eighteen
So reluctant now to re-visit

Except perhaps to fly away….

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Note: Hillingdon is where Heathrow airport is located. And where I grew up in the huge suburbs of West London.

The best writing about such a dirty little place is Paul Simon’s, in the song “My Little Town”:

And after it rains
There’s a rainbow
And all of the colors are black
It’s not that the colors aren’t there
It’s just imagination they lack
Everything’s the same
Back in my little town

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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

For Tony….

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

This weekend, the 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,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Autumnal Slide

Autumn leaves colour lawns orange
Litter roads red
The long slide into the cold begins
Advent madness beckons
Like a siren
Calling us onto the rocks
Of family festivities, hidden lonelinesses, retail greed and envy
Soon rooftops will grow neon reindeer
Tinsel will be worn around necks at office parties
All too soon
It will be Christmas

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

I’m in Amsterdam this week, and so have left you this poem which rather captures my feeling about the next few months I’m afraid!

Guest Artist, Glenys Doull of New Zealand

A wonderful selection of poems from Glenys, otherwise known as ‘LifeCameos’ here on WordPress and a poet I always make time to read whenever she posts. Do visit and enjoy…..

Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books

It is my privilege to introduce Glenys as part of our Guest Artist Series.  I believe she is an important poet of our times and for the people.  Unencumbered by the literary judgements of intellectuals, she is part of the movement to return poetry to the people–where it rightfully belongs.  I hope you take the time to enjoy her wonderful skill of imagery and verse.

These poems are used by permission and copyrighted by Glenys Doull.

Sweet Peas

Heavily scented warm
summer air draws in
buzzing bees eagerly
seeking precious nectar.

Sweet peas swarm up
netting on the old shed wall
a perfumed rainbow
tapestry of many hues.

Pale pastels to bright
reds, purples, pinks,
blues and lilacs paint a
masterpiece on old timbers.

Rich pickings for the
school children’s flower show.

View original post 1,136 more words

Hidden Freedoms

Child of Empire, he freely starved in Valetta
Free to resent the many fat priests
Free to go
Desperate, hoping

Stowaway to Istanbul
Free to be beaten by the Ottomans
Sent back to hunger
Not stopped yet

Stowaway to Britain
Set loose in Imperial London
Free to prosper
Free to work

Free-diver repairing Brighton’s Pier
Freely volunteered in 1914’s Expeditionary Force
Free to marry, to be British
Free to stay

Forty descendants, freely British
Freely given gifts of a Maltese boy
Seven fought in British wars
Immigration can be a free gift

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Written for Today’s National Poetry Day, which this year has the theme of Freedom.

As usual, when given a prompt or theme, my mind heads off slightly askew. This poem tells some of the story of my Maltese Grandfather. He came to Britain as a stowaway with nothing, found welcome and work. We need to remember how many of us are descended from people like him — and to remember to allow others similar freedoms.

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

Conversation with a teenager, playing a computer game

Him: I have no idea what I’m doing
Me: Welcome to life.
Him: I was in a cave and now I’m not.
Me: Welcome to life. Just go and hug a hen, it often helps.
Him: I wish I could navigate by Crocodile
Me:  Don’t we all?
Him: Mum, why are you talking nonsense?

Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Re-blogged from 2015. This conversation really happened— and going to speak to or hug one of our hens is a proven family remedy for most of lifes burdens.

 

 

 

Beach

Crunching down the shingle
Drinking the sea breeze
Listening to your chatter
As you throw pebbles into the sea

Heat is no longer the enemy
Its relaxing powers repaired
Breathing salt essence
In gloriously cool sea air

Brothers gently bickering
Who threw the greatest distance
Your deep voices lift in humour
And how we love to listen

Chilling on the shingle
Hanging out with the family
Talking about almost nothing
Companionably

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

…we went to the beach with our sons to escape the heat, and I broke out in rhyme once more….