Tag Archives: humanity

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.

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Topiary

A map in a foreign language is a misheard story.
The path broken by translation. The betrayal of truth
That slips in, knife-quick, between the fireside and the forgetting,
Stripping the stones of all but cautions to take care
As you step between the constructed cracks, the topiary-shaded grass,
Of gardens grown from the bones of unremembered past.

The paper creases with the the grim grip of disappointment,
Lines bend and meld together, new tracklines between
The dead-living things. And so, new stories begin.

Time has slid away from you here,
Paths well trodden and unseen through the depth of years,
Local tales sing little of your legacy,
The trail an ephemeral, skin-thin thing;
Your mounds made a mockery, mirrored in suburban topiary.

Penelope Foreman

 

From her blog ‘Suspicious Mounds’

Source: Archaeopoetry #3 – Topiary 

 

Seal

Liquid eyes looking through time,  staring out from the wood
Lost possession,  unregarded litter, draft for a larger work?
It is treasure now
Seal eloquently sealed into timber
Sparse lines, rich artistry

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

seal carving

I’ve just discovered an interibfng wordpress arceological site amd was moved to write the above poem after looking long at a seal carving they have found.

https://nunalleq.wordpress.com/

https://nunalleq.wordpress.com/2017/07/26/artefact-of-the-day-july-25th/

Nunalleq is the name of an archaeological site in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region of Southwestern Alaska. The University of Aberdeen Department of Archaeology, in partnership with the village corporation Qanirtuuq, Inc. and the Yup’ik Eskimo village of Quinhagak, Alaska, is working to record archaeological sites threatened by rising sea levels along the Bering Sea.

Nunalleq means ‘the OldVillage’ in Yup’ik. Previous years excavations (2009 & 2010) reveal that this ‘old village’ dates back at least 700 years. It is a multi-period prehistoric (or precontact) Yup’ik winter village site.

 

Graveyard shift

Graveyard shift

In old Malay, draped in forest, lies heat swamped George Town
Where abandoned colonial mansions rot in new technological haze
Forsaken, cracked, diminished, atrophied
Yet evening jazz drifts from broken windows, lights flicker, shadows dance
New tenants, just for the graveyard shift

Old hotel, four square and white, now has modern facilities, pools, spa
The private beach, golden, secluded, is a long walk but a short drive
Courtesy coaches ply the mountain road past decaying  tombs
Extra guests take the last ride of the day, leaving the driver fevered
New passengers, starting the graveyard shift

Copyright © 2017  Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

….retold from anecdotes told to me by Nesa………. thank you……….

The teenage years

The teenage years

All bets are off in the teenage years
You still share your child’s hopes and fears
But they are a child no more –Can you hear that slammed door?
It’s a bumpy ride–Sometimes Jekyll, sometimes Hyde
You love them to bits, you can’t stand them any more
And there again is that slamming door
You glimpse a young woman, you glimpse a young man –Try to catch them if you can
Sometimes it seems they’re a toddler again –Needing to share some of the pain
Do you remember when this was you?
Now you know what your parents went through……

                 Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Re-blogged from 2015….

The other nations of this Earth

The other nations of this Earth

The other nations of this Earth live along side us
Misunderstood, undervalued, used and abused
So many of us not longer see them
We fortunate few may wilfully misunderstand
But many see the truth, see the power and strength
Even in a hen, blackbird or crow
Animals are the other nations of this Earth
Caught in the net of time
Travellers with us on this one green globe

Copyright © 2017  Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

“….the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
~ Henry Beston

Road to Nowhere

Road to Nowhere

We stumble along, believing we hold the map
Believing we guide our path or someone does somewhere
From the darkness to the light and back
The bird flies through the drinking hall and is gone
Leaving memories, echoes and silence
All we are is memories and echoes
All we can do is try to fracture the silence.

Copyright © 2016  Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Re-blogged from a year ago…..

Open Sky

Infall

Protons

Particles

Masses

Bathed

Photons

Neutrinos

Light is lifegiver and deathbringer
The open sky pretends to shield
But cannot fully

The vagaries of the universe
Plague our houses, peck out our DNA

Ozone and magnetosphere have allowed us to live
To evolve and think
Think ourselves safe

Knowledge is perhaps power
But it reveals destiny

Infalling rock
Or the next local supernova
And we are gone

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Loom weight

A loom weight lost these many millennia
Sits proud on heavy soil
Held in my hand, it speaks of loving toil
The spinning of fabric
To clothe a family
And a connection is made
She spoke ancient Greek
A colonist deep in Sicily’s heartland
I stroke the fingerprint left in once moist clay
And say Hello

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

loom-weight