Tag Archives: girlhood

What do I remember first?

Is it the blackboard where I learnt my ABCs?
The way I tripped over my own feet, scarring my knees?
Waking up from sleeping next to my Nan in her great bed?
How it hurt when plaits were pulled tight to my head?
My gnarled, grumpy, loving Grampee
Telling me stories as I sat on his knee
Of Susan the Officer-kicking Mule
Or perhaps my first day at school
One seat left, next to John Searle
Happy to be friends with a lonely girl
The teacher who was angry that I could already read
My joy at being there, suddenly free
To learn everything and to love books
In which no one cared about a girl’s looks
My heroes were always boys and men
Not many strong women in stories then
My friends the boys  were rough and poor
Never cared what dress I wore or tore
Quiet, pretty and sweet seemed to be the rule
But I learnt another way at my first school

 

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

……I was trying (at the suggestion of a friend) to write a short account of my girlhood for my sons, and this poem came bubbling out…….

Dance

By the door of the living room
away from the adults
a girl dances.
Lost in her own world
lost in shadows
dreaming unknown incandescent things
that even now she cannot fathom.
But the echoes of those dances
float across years.
Each subsequent dance
at a wedding or festival
evoking something
until she finds, in middle age
a need and urge to dance again
to feel the echoes, sense the incandescence.
Just once more.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Originally published at (along with Boy Migrant, Watercolour time  and The overwhelming sky)  at http://www.longshotisland.com/2018/01/26/bridge-poems/