Tag Archives: Ghosts

Lilbourne

The dead linger in some places.
At old Lilbourne they gather in hill folds
saunter through the churchyard
wander down paths behind cottages.

Their chatter settles in my ear
wriggles into my mind unsettlingly
until I find myself talking
to a dead shepherd.

Up at the Giants Grave,
misnamed ancient tomb
on chalk escarpment edge,
the dead are different.

Amongst lean faced hide-clad mourners,
Clutching stone tools, flint tipped arrows,
others lumber whitely, ungainly in bulky suits,
helmeted and dumb.

A wiry dog snuffles at my feet
petted by a curly haired woman
with a wide American smile.
A man unscrews his lid, chatters in Russian.

As one, old and new, they all look up
excited, wondering,
exchanging gestures
as the ISS streaks overhead.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

‘Lilbourne’ was published by Milk and Cake Press in  the  anthology  ‘Dead of Winter’, February 2021, available here.

Something Follows

We walk in winterbare sunbright woods
a winding path that skirts fallen trees
sprawling bramble thickets
and forms its own linear ponds
where frogs protest our passage

I hear a clinking
high pitched, sharp, intermittent
and somewhere behind

Nothing in our gear is metallic and loose
I hear the noise, but he doesn’t
when I stop to listen, he is confused
stumbles into me
our path follows a millennium-old ditch
and I begin to suspect the noise comes from there
but the ditch contains only brown beech leaves

When we stop, the clinks stop
When we walk once more
clink clink clink after a small wait

Sun shafts through clawing branches
strange rustles lurk under leafdrifts
our pleasant walk reforms
mutates
into else and other

The clinks are always there
as long as we are beside the ditch
always
something follows

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

A real-life ghost story, shared for the open link weeked at Earthweal.

Great Orme

On the north Wales shore a fat rock serpent
coils out to sea clasping copper tightly
within as a Dragon clasps gold

Deep in his gut lie human bones
children who delved into the dark
hunting the shine with hard flint

In tunnels too small for adults
troglodyte children crawled and twisted
lived and died alone in darkness

Bats explode from a cave entrance
sprawling tourists like scattered chaff
the dead come for their vengeance
three thousand years they have lain here
the daylight is theirs at last

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Graveyard Shift

In old Malay, draped in forest
lies heat swamped George Town
along tree lined avenues
abandoned colonial mansions
forsaken, cracked, diminished
irrelevant to today
they rot in new technological haze
yet from shattered empty windows
evening jazz drifts across warm night air
inside, lights flicker
shadows dance over damp walls
slim couples flirt and smoke
your exploratory visit
brings silence
reveals vacant rooms
missing floors instead of lively dancers
they were the old tenants
hantu partying on the graveyard shift

Old hotel, four square and white
now with modern pool and spa
and the original private beach
golden, secluded, sunlit
it’s a long walk
but a short drive
a bus plies the mountain road
past green country and
decaying tombs behind
collapsing walls
the last ride of the day
is often full
today extra guests board
quiet individuals
some tall and lanky
a woman in a green qipao
halfway back, the bus empties
although the feverish driver
can’t remember stopping
his new passengers have
truly started their graveyard shift

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

‘Graveyard shift’ was first published at The Insignia Series: https://insigniastories.com/2019/11/21/instincts-2-graveyard-shift-by-kim-whysall-hammond/

In loving memory of Nesa who told me the stories in this poem. We miss you Nesa.

Dead of Winter

I have two poems (Lilbourne and Summer Queen) in this great Anthology from Milk and Cake Press. It examines the dark, the supernatural, and the uncanny of a long, cold winter. As we move from the depths of winter toward spring, and from pandemic isolation to a more normal life, these poems may be the perfect companion. Please buy a copy now!

Lilbourne is a poem about ghosts who linger in and near Milton Lilbourne in Wiltshire, while

Summer Queen retells Rumpelstiltskin in a prehistoric setting.

Too hot, too hot

Like tracks in the snow
Little lives go
In our melting

 

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Not the poem I thought I was going to write, but the one that came. Another is brewing, but this one is for all the small lives lost in forest fires everyhere…..

Written in reponse to Earthweals challenge ‘Ghosts’ at

https://earthweal.com/2020/01/13/weekly-challenge-ghosts/

Please go and see what else is there!

The Funeral

There is a ghost at your funeral today
a face so familiar, still loved
my friend, your wife
gone these twenty years
now you too have left us
we all stand stunned
grieving
missing your expansive
presence in our lives

Looking over the crowd
I see eyes, cheek bones, jawline
the image of her mother
your much loved step daughter
wiping away fond tears

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This summer we lost Martin Hoare. A great presence and a good friend. We were standing-room only at the funeral, his coffin was a TARDIS and the committal music was the Dr Who theme tune — which turned out to be quite moving. At the end, we all sang ‘Always look on the bright side’ and we all had tears running down our cheeks.

….and then as we left, I saw the ghost…..