Tag Archives: history

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.

Friday Poem: A second Anglo-Saxon Riddle….

My home is not quiet but I am not loud.
The lord has meant us to journey together.
I am faster than he and sometimes stronger,
But he keeps on going for longer.
Sometimes I rest but he runs on.
For as long as I am alive I live in him.
If we part from one another
It is I who will die.

Can anyone tell me what is being described???  (No cheating online!)

If you are interested, the first riddle is at:

https://thecheesesellerswife.wordpress.com/2019/11/22/friday-poem-an-anglo-saxon-riddle/

YOU TALK OF SHAKESPEARE

A brilliant poem from Damian Garside (who blogs at ‘ best poetry blog in the cosmos ~ 4 out of 5 dentists recommend ‘) :-

best poetry blog in the cosmos

YOU TALK OF SHAKESPEARE

you talk of Shakespeare
as if you
know him

and you do
from flowery
pageants of history
and your coffee table
(or maybe that
is too much of an assumption)

you talk of Shakespeare
as if he were so
consonant with
your ideology
(I admit, so much
in common there,
down that
Lancastrian line

the greatest at-pain-
of-death trick
ever pulled

and true Tudor
beginning of British propaganda
those heavenly lies without
which Empire
a true miscarriage,
an abortion

no new world born
Cape to Cairo
sun
never setting
on its shade of pink)

yes
Shakespeare is
one part bedrock and
one part
shadow, pure
disavowal, anarchic subversion

he had the bravery to
flaunt before your faces
the life and energy of his characters

telling a truth you
would not believe

Mr Politician, most recent in that line
of hucksters and usurpers, connivers
and
men with…

View original post 61 more words

Winter Dance

The long dance of winter
starts slow as starlight
children stamping hard cold ground
cracking ice over peat

Slipping through fog’s silence
the women have donned heavy antlers
to creep around the trees
circle the swamp
clasp hands and spin
as the sun spins and turns
so do they

Men spurt from the longhouse
Pelts moist with sweat
Leap and cry out

Songs build to a crescendo again and again
until the true sun reveals herself
and we put out our puny fires
sit
eat
laugh

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

I haven’t written a poem imagining our pre-historic ancestors for a long while. Others on this blog can be found at:

https://thecheesesellerswife.wordpress.com/2019/01/30/crafty-eyes-see-the-deer-2/

https://thecheesesellerswife.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/the-aurochs-and-the-pink/

https://thecheesesellerswife.wordpress.com/2019/08/07/we-live-on-the-high-ground-2/

 

Bosworth Field

A gentle breeze billows the green barley
Sending waves shimmering from hedge to hedge
Elder and Herb Robert sparkle the field edge
Above the oak leaves do not stir

Near here a crown once hung on a thorn bush
Men struggled for cause, battle cries rang out
A King died alone fighting amid the foe
Violated in death, lost
Naked and broken the victors took him to town for display
Traitor they called him, an anointed King of England
Hunchback, wicked, perfidious
Name calling by the new regime
Murderer of children they whispered into the stream of history

A gentle breeze billows the green barley
Above the oak leaves do not stir

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Neanderthal

Was it the red hair
that so entranced us?
The strong nose
on a strong young man?
Or that capable stocky young woman
who didn’t moan at first frost?
Where did we get our blue eyes from after all?
In the snows of almost perpetual winter
and at the warm shores of the middle sea
we met them, loved them,
raised their children.
And left them behind.

 

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

First blogged in 2018…..

In the gardens and the fields

Over twenty years after the end
gardens still had hollow mounds
or curved corrugated tin domes half buried
some doing duty as tool sheds
many simply as they were
when the bombing stopped
full of the detritus of nights spent sheltering
while death flew overhead

Mounds and tunnels  riddled
our playing fields
dry brick-lined hiding places
against bombers seeking factories
and factory workers
to blast and wreck
we used them  for massive games of hide and seek

London streets had gaps, play spaces
festooned with stately spires of
purple flowers, amid mossy rubble
the occasional crumpled saucepan
so much broken crockery

As a child, our father collected bullets and bomb shards
watched fighters fall crashing out of the sky
and ran to collect souvenirs while the metal was still hot

I and my brothers knew wars last remnants
and played amongst ghosts

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

In Memoriam

Crow castle

The north east tower is crenelated
with argumentative crows
black scrawny scribbles silhouetted high
against an evening sky
scattering upwards as we ascend to the roof
swooping possessively while we linger
they are the true posessers of this place
winners after centuries of fighting

The monument below may celebrate
a Welsh warrior princess
but up here crows
celebrate the sky

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

To walk among ruins

To walk among ruins is to realize the fragility of life
To connect with those who came before
To observe commonalties,
To puzzle at differences
To marvel at ingenuity
To hear their voices echoed in stones that have stood for thousands of years
Inevitably, to misunderstand the message

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Re-blogged from 2016