Tag Archives: lockdown

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

Friday Poem: Hope is the thing with feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

by Emily Dickinson

Thank you Bjorn for reminding me about this poem…..it is a good one to read at the start of another UK lockdown….

Walking in the Park

They have mown the grass in the park
Well, most of it
The scent is wonderful
It has been left long on the Bronze Age burial mounds
Where the wild grass flowers form a purpled haze
Behind, Foxgloves spike up from the drainage ditch  into the hedge
I walk up the southern mound to find the stone marked PEACE
Commemorating more recent dead from civil war
The sky is littered with clouds white and gray
As its blue darkens towards twilight
On this long June evening
After a day of rain
The scent of new mown grass says
Summer

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Friday Poem: Everything Is Going to Be All Right

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.
by Derek Mahon

 

With many many thanks to Bjorn Paige who brought this poem to my attention.

https://bjornpaige.wordpress.com/2020/06/09/three-sparks-of-joy/#like-7580

I have broken my own rules with this Friday poem, as it has not come from one of my poetry books. In my defence, I will say that

1/  This is brilliant, and very right for these times, although written several years ago.

2/ I am reading a lot of poetry online at this present time……  :)