Tag Archives: London

Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner……

This isn’t poetry, just me being indulgent on a Sunday night….

I was born in London, went to university in London and still love my home town, even though I will never live there again.

I also love Science Fiction.

So here is a lovely video of London as she has appeared in Science Fiction TV and Film, made a while ago to to promote the Science Fiction WorldCon in 2014:

London

Emerging from the Tube you clothe me
with dusty breath and ambient noise
I feel you living restlessly
lifeforce surging through centuries
pulsing through busy streets
I turn a corner and a garden churchyard
filled with lunchers and tourists
leads me to rest

Leaving you in a plane I reach down
pet your raised questioning head
sooth and smooth your black silky fur
I have run from you as you’ve
preyed upon my soul my heart
your begging eyes always
bring my return

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

My love poem to my old home town, lying quietly at present, but she will shake off the blues and arise……

 

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

Friday Poem: The River’s Tale

TWENTY bridges from Tower to Kew –
Wanted to know what the River knew,
Twenty Bridges or twenty-two,
For they were young, and the Thames was old
And this is the tale that River told:-

“I walk my beat before London Town,
Five hours up and seven down.
Up I go till I end my run
At Tide-end-town, which is Teddington.
Down I come with the mud in my hands
And plaster it over the Maplin Sands.
But I’d have you know that these waters of mine
Were once a branch of the River Rhine,
When hundreds of miles to the East I went
And England was joined to the Continent.

“I remember the bat-winged lizard-birds,
The Age of Ice and the mammoth herds,
And the giant tigers that stalked them down
Through Regent’s Park into Camden Town.
And I remember like yesterday
The earliest Cockney who came my way,
When he pushed through the forest that lined the Strand,
With paint on his face and a club in his hand.
He was death to feather and fin and fur.
He trapped my beavers at Westminster.
He netted my salmon, he hunted my deer,
He killed my heron off Lambeth Pier.
He fought his neighbour with axes and swords,
Flint or bronze, at my upper fords,
While down at Greenwich, for slaves and tin,
The tall Phoenician ships stole in,
And North Sea war-boats, painted and gay,
Flashed like dragon-flies, Erith way;
And Norseman and Negro and Gaul and Greek
Drank with the Britons in Barking Creek,
And life was gay, and the world was new,
And I was a mile across at Kew!
But the Roman came with a heavy hand,
And bridged and roaded and ruled the land,
And the Roman left and the Danes blew in –
And that’s where your history-books begin!”

by Rudyard Kipling

Flying

Flying over cities is glorious
London’s furnace reaching for the sky
The nested curving of Amsterdam canals

England on Guy Fawkes Night
Firework chrysanthemums blooming upwards
Colouring the belly of the plane

Shimmering ice dazzling in the cockpit
So many planes alongside
Taking the polar route

Diverting around a war zone
Noting shell bursts far to portside
Glamorously frightening

Heading out across the Atlantic
Passing over container shipping
Waiting for Azorean volcanoes on the horizon

The miracle of heavy flight
Watching Jumbos lumber into the air
Carrying hopes and dreams

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Tube Train

He stands, legs nonchalantly hooked
around the central pole,
clean pressed stovepipe jeans, battered Leather,
coloured spiky hair, life creased face,
lively eyes roving across fellow travellers.
We nod recognition, two observers on the night tube.
A tall Rasta joins at the next stop
dreadlocks tumbling from pirate scarf
drinking from a bottle swathed in paper
impervious to all.
Around us, Chinese teenagers sweet with Peter Pan charm
sated concert goers, weary tourists, glossy City traders.
These two self contained gentlemen rise above
embody the blunt London of my childhood.
Punk and Rasta.

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

The Colour of Dragons

The colour of dragons
Depends

Sweet green for new hatchlings
To hide in high grasses

Black and red for an Emperor
Or a burner of crops
Many turn as gold as their treasure
Perhaps part of ageing

What colour a city dragon
Lurking on rooftops?

In Paris, creamy white as the buildings
In Berlin and London
Perhaps a glassy hue
Criss-crossed

In Amsterdam?
Turquoise and purple
With scarlet undertones………

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

I’m at Eastercon (the UK national Science Fiction convention) this weekend, with paintings in the Art Show……..

P1220291

 

They looked and turned away

They looked and turned away
Londoners afraid to interact
With the girl sitting, weeping
On a stinkingly hot day in the city
Exclaiming that she had gone blind
Oversized suitcase abandoned near her feet
My feet
Someone pushed a cold drink into my hand
A woman’s voice comforted me
A stranger joined me on the step, asked where I was going
Told me that a long hot walk carrying a load
Had affected my sight
Sat until, miraculously, my sight returned
Then left
Pulling myself to my feet
I retrieved the offending suitcase
Slowly made my way to the Tube station
Continued my journey, moving from London to Oxford
Changing university, leaving friends and home city
Aiming for a Doctorate, I should have noted the omen
For I found loneliness and heartache

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Originally published by Silver Birch Press at

https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/they-looked-and-turned-away-poem-by-kim-whysall-hammond-when-i-moved-poetry-and-prose-series/

The Colour of Dragons

The colour of dragons
Depends

Sweet green for new hatchlings
To hide in high grasses

Black and red for an Emperor
Or a burner of crops
Many turn as gold as their treasure
Perhaps part of ageing

What colour a city dragon
Lurking on rooftops?

In Paris, creamy white as the buildings
In Berlin and London
Perhaps a glassy hue
Criss-crossed

In Amsterdam?
Turquoise and purple
With scarlet undertones………

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

I’m trying to paint a dragon in Amsterdam……….what colour???