Tag Archives: lockdown

Locked away

It was too quiet in those weeks
no cars rumbling past
no children singing their way to school.
The fresh smells and colours of Spring
reclaimed streets and towns
birds popped into view, posed on lampposts
dawdled on warm car roofs
sauntered across unbusy roads.

Fear has a taste and it is this
the dread of an invisible invader
the unwelcome peace of a street.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Another memory of the first UK lockdown in March 2020

Remembering Lockdown

It was almost a living thing, large and smothering
that pinned us down and
which seems to have shed hairs everywhere,
I’m still finding them, clearing them away.

Days melted into each other
alone in this vessel of a house
plunging deep depths of fears and anxieties
climbing swallowing waves to see clear skies.
Gradually ending more and more days with a muttered
“That was a good one, wasn’t it?”.

Absorbing ourselves in the minutia of gardening
seedlings as companions, hope for some future
and canny planning for food supplies.
A returning shopper asked what is it like out there
as they washed clothes, hair and body
and we wiped clean all they had brought back.
No eggs this time.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Remembering the first UK Lockdown, in March 2020, an unsettling frightening time.

We are not out of the woods yet. This past week we have been isolating with a sick adult son who was in contact with a confirmed Covid case. We are waiting for test results, but the labs are slow due to 1.6 million poeple isolating this week and getting tested!

At least in full lockdown we were allowed to leave the house for exercise — I’m feeling very confined.

Fret not too much — so far, the effects are light.

linked to – earthweal open link weekend #75 | earthweal

Dreaming of seeing you again

You tread on the tail of my eye
carving crosswise through the crowd
that flows into the station
we greet with hugs, kiss cheeks
talk of our priceless opportunity
of a week together
after so long apart

Later, rinsing sorrow away
we linger out
a hundred glasses of wine
the clarity of close friends filling small talk
a lucid moon keeping us awake
and after we’re drunk, we’ll sleep
all heaven our blanket, earth our pillow

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Inspired by Chinese poetry, this one is for our best friend, away in Amsterdam. Our first trip abroad will be to see him, but we do not know when that can be….

Boames Lane

Stark morning light
etches lanky dogroses scrambling in hedgerows
as we tramp the lane once more

Scrabbles of bright
flowers grace grass edges
the blues and yellows of Springs panoply

Another troubled night
has left us weary, needing solace
in this our morning walk

Then into sight
floats a Red Kite, peering for prey
her elegance lifts us

And we delight

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Thursdays 2pm in Lockdown

I grab my pencils, mostly old and blunt,
scramble for a sharpener, my sketchbook
then connect to Zoom
run hands through unruly hair,
so long now in lockdown,
clean my glasses with my clothes.

The class begins. This week it’s
Maxine from Greece, his lithe body
first reaching and arching upwards
back turned coyly to the camera
we have ten minutes only to capture
the length and proportion of limbs,
that pert bottom,
not that I notice it,
the way every knee has a front, a face
and it must be drawn right.
Use the light and shadows to
give heft and bulk, says our tutor in Germany,
embolden key lines to make your drawing stand out.

The pose changes, now he drapes himself across a chair
one leg stretching out to the lens
and I grimace at the challenge of foreshortening
making his leg look as if it is coming out of my page
I try to see the shapes, the curve of his torso here
a triangle of negative space there
how his knee is on the same level as his nose.

All too soon, Maxime bids his farewells as we clap
then we show our various efforts to each other.
After each class, I am always tired
drained with the effort of trying to
achieve a human body on my grubby page.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

All in the Family

Raging against the rest of us
she calls us feeble sheep
doltards, retards, connivers in
our own imprisonment
bitter enemies of freedom

Freedom being, apparently
the right to party
to go down the pub
drink yourself insensible
and to then post photos of your creative craziness
as you throw up in the gutter

My freedoms are different
yes, I long to see and hug
but I need more to stay alive
to walk in fresh air, to read, to think
in peace and in health

Freedom , as always, is mutable

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

I am listening with my eyes closed

I am listening with my eyes closed
bees bumble in flowers
wasps sharp buzzing near my head
bicycles spin past in the lane
I smell the lycra
I am listening with my eyes closed

I am listening with my eyes closed
to walkers stepping around
keeping the distance
people anxious and wary
soft breezes and hot sun
in a trapped season
I am listening with my eyes closed

I am listening, listening, feeling
cool air under trees
folk chatting as they pass
voices subdued
always the news, always the count

I am hoping, hoping, wanting
Fear washes us all clean
I am remembering
embracing, kissing friends
laughing

I am listening with my eyes closed
air moves, shivers leaves above
traffic burrs along a distant road
something clangs nearby
life persists, hopes, loves
I am listening with my eyes closed.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

My response to earthweal weekly challenge: The Unsayable.

I am describing last summer in lockdown in this poem. Apart from the change form summer to winter, there is no material difference in my daily life between then to now.

Of course, we do now have safe and working vaccines!

Front doors

I met so many people
painting our first front door
but it wasn’t just painting
it never is.
First chipping away rotten wood
and then an artful working of filler
to recreate the simple mouldings
a grey undercoat that smooths
before, finally
a loving coat of shiny navy blue.

It took all of a long day
on a very busy street
first the postman gave advice
then the guy delivering newspapers
to the shop three doors away
commented on how few women
paint front doors
our roofer stopped to say hello
and discuss the precarious roof
a new neighbour introduced themselves
complimented my work
offered friendship
finally my parents arrived
unexpectedly
and made tea.

I remember this, as I hide behind
another front door in another house.
We wipe its UPVC surface with alcohol
to remove virus, and
don’t touch the mail until it’s a day old
no live virus on it then.
This front door isn’t elderly wood
but hidden steel within shiny white
when we lock it, nine bolts
shoot from its interior
into the strengthened frame.
In its centre a double glazed
stained glass window
made from a drawing of mine
a Red Kite wheeling in sky
looking for the windpath
my bird of prey guarding me.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem was first published by Silver Birch Press:

https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2020/04/06/front-doors-by-kim-whysall-hammond-my-front-door-series/

it was also published in‘Can you hear the people sing?‘ an anthology from Palewell Press, published November 2020:  https://palewellpress.co.uk/#People-Sing