Tag Archives: Life

Flower

I held a flower in my hand
Delicate, whole, perfect
A small world within itself
And, as we searched for a gate.
A stile, by which to leave the field,
I crushed it.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

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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 2016

Photographs by Ivor Gurney

Lying in dug-outs, joking idly, wearily;
   Watching the candle guttering in the draught;
Hearing the great shells go high over us, eerily
   Singing; how often have I turned over, and laughed
With pity and pride, photographs of all colours,
   All sizes, subjects: khaki brothers in France;
Or mother’s faces worn with countless dolours;
   Or girls whose eyes were challenging and must dance,
Though in a picture only, a common cheap
   Ill-taken card; and children—frozen, some
(Babies) waiting on Dicky-bird to peep
   Out of the handkerchief that is his home
(But he’s so shy!). And some with bright looks, calling
   Delight across the miles of land and sea,
That not the dread of barrage suddenly falling
   Could quite blot out—not mud nor lethargy.
Smiles and triumphant careless laughter. O
   The pain of them, wide Earth’s most sacred things!
Lying in dug-outs, hearing the great shells slow
   Sailing mile-high, the heart mounts higher and sings.
But once—O why did he keep that bitter token
   Of a dead Love?—that boy, who, suddenly moved,
Showed me, his eyes wet, his low talk broken,
   A girl who better had not been beloved.
       one of my favourite poets.

Cave

Deep in a volcanic sea cave
crimson crabs hang from the ceiling
scuttle along walls, clattering  pincers
gather in their hundreds
in affront
as our boat noses in,
engine stilled.

We have raced across open ocean
slamming over waves
to be claustrophobically  enclosed
looked down upon by crustaceans
never before have I felt
such an visitor to my own planet
insignificant in the face of the whale and the dolphin
and now these outraged crabs.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

The lives I have lived

“If I live to be very old, all my memories of the glory days will grow vague and confused, till I won’t be certain any of it really happened. But the books will be there, on my shelves and in my head – the one enduring reality I can be certain of till the day I die.”

Helen Hanff

 

The lives I have lived

My sons, I have tried to give you gifts for your lives ahead
Standards to live by, skills to help earn your bread
But the greatest gift I can give
Is the lives I have lived
And the ability to live them too

The world of words I have shown you
Filing your young ears with stories each night
Weaving your own world into a fantasy one
Showing how to do things right
The gift of reading and living lives in stories
These are the lives I have lived
And they are my gift to you

Even when I am old and frail
I will still have these lives to live
Don’t let them tell you my life is worthless
When there is all that stories and dreams can give
I am living a wonderful life in the real world
And I trust that you will as well
when life is not what you want, remember my gift to you
Copyright © 2016  Kim Whysall-Hammond

Re-blogged from 2016.

Commuter grind

Does anyone write of the commuter grind?

Of the early risings and the dark returns
The unseen children and missed bedtimes
The chances taken on rain slick roads
The risk of dreadful  collision
As bleary eyed drivers zoom and hurry
The agonies of  thousands crammed into tubes and trains

Does anyone sing of the commuter’s plight?

Commuter belts were planned around cities
To give encircling green spaces
A commuter belt encircles my life
Tying me in
Constraining, tightening, giving no relief

Does anyone tell  of the commuter as hero?
The journeys survived, the meetings won?

I am  the voice of the lone commuter
You talk of food miles, of recycling
Of saving the planet
I counted my work miles
Those I have journeyed to earn my crust
They take me to the Moon and back
Oh to be free of these surly bonds

Recycle my life, give it to me back
Refreshed,  remodeled
New and mine once more
And you will save the planet
And us all
But the car beckons, there on my drive
There stands my steed waiting
This cowgirl has to go.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Since the writing of this poem, this ‘cowgirl no longer goes’ as ill-health prevents my working…..so I’m taking my life back…..

Being English

Show no emotion, hold everything back
Say ’I think we need a bit of support’ when you are under fatal attack
Go about your business as the world falls apart
Hiding the fear deep in your heart
Delight in the odd, the strange and the weird
Live beside the newcomer, even if they are feared
Chicken Tikka Marsala is our national dish,
An island nation that rarely eats fish,
Throw flowers under a princesses hearse
Life may be difficult but it could always be worse
Marry the outsider, swallow them whole
Quiet, loving and different is the English soul

Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

First blogged in 2015 and it seems a bit appropriate this week. I admit that both people in the photo not actually English….but its a great photo!

1939

She did not weep,
nothing so soft or poetic,
my grandmother sobbed long and hard
remembering war-crippled brothers, war dead father.
She had nursed soldiers, married one,
spent recent years in dread.
A few words on the Wireless,
a husband mustering with his gun,
and the nightmare returns.

As a child, thirty years later,
I saw hunger in her old eyes
a longing for security from fear
that she never lost.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For Ethel Maude Wellsted Brown (known as Maude), orphaned by the Boer War, Pharmacist during the 1918 Flu pandemic, wife and mother to Airmen and Airwomen. My beloved maternal Grandmother who married a poor boy from Malta and, despite the attitudes of the time, danced with black GI’s in Wiltshire  as they waited to fight in D-Day and the liberation of Europe.

The photo is of her and her children in the mid-1930’s. The little girl in white grew up to be my mother. The three larger children were all in the RAF or WAAF in World War 2. They and their father came through the war unscathed.

According to my mother (who was eleven at the time), Maude sobbed for hours after the declaration of war was broadcast in September 1939..

Recluse

People drain, push through
boundaries, demand attention.
Childhood reclused with book after book
reading to the exclusion of most else,
an interior life but for the
vibrancy of a sunset, the thrill
of abstraction in flowing water
and then, at seventeen,
the bright blue art of your eyes.
The world and you, my love, stimulate
refresh, make me whole
give me myself once more.

 

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Stone in the water

Deep plunge pool in the heart of the moor
Centred in spring time unfurling of bracken
Shadowed by a twisted thorn tree
Water pours in over a mossy lip
Large pebbles line the sloping
Glowing colours in crystal water

Something falls
Breaks the surface
Circles upon circles radiate
Contours ripple to a point of disappearance
Sparkle in the dawn light
Stone in the water

 

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Re-blogged from 2016.