Tag Archives: memory

Homer and his ilk

The teachers pets sat at the front, had all her attention
the boys and I languished at the back
where three long bookshelves were stuffed full
with books not intended for a primary school
here poetry and myth seeped into my being
as I dodged paper airplanes

Here I met Achilles, Agamemnon, grew up in Sparta
saw the first marathon run
lived deep in primeval forests
loved slightly dippy Thor, discovered Loki
Kokopelli and Coyote
wanted a trickster god of my own

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Weather Forecaster

On the graveyard shift, we chase weather
parse our charts, work the numbers
issue warnings, brief pilots
wait for our relief to turn up
and then that blessed walk outside
into whatever we had been predicting

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For just over one month many years ago, I worked shifts as a Weather Forecaster at Birmingham Airport…..

And I do not remember her name….

She was older that all of us, she
had her own office, her audience chamber, she
could spot your coding error from a great distance.
Clever, charming and funny, she
had programmed the first computer
when it was over a Lyons Corner Shop and
bugs were real and flew. She
was our hero and we worshipped her. She
never married despite numerous proposals
as marriage meant the end of a womans career back then.
I remember her smile, her joy in teaching, her lack of regret and
oh, so much, her knowledge that we all used to
build computer code to model and understand climate.
I remember so well
long to tell you who she was.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Shared at the EARTHWEAL Open link weekend:

https://earthweal.com/2021/05/07/earthweal-open-link-weekend-68/

White China

It glints in the sun
pure unalloyed
breakfast in the garden
with a silver spoon

Our unexpected stay
with an unexpected aristocrat
who served us food and stories
Wedgewood and old England

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

A poem prompted by Twiglets, telling of a weekend long ago when we drove west on a whim and, at dusk, found Bed and Breakfast in a Thatched cottage. Our hostess was very grand, very friendly and completely charming.

Breakfast was served with old Wedgewood crockery and solid silver cutlery that we will never be able to afford to buy. “Oh it came from GrandMama” she said, “from the big house. Don’t worry if you break anything my dears, I have thirty of each. There used to be more…..”

Storage issues

Images of distant snowmen
long melted and gone
haunt my eyes.
The heat of other summers
warms my skin
as my feet try to kick through
thirty year old fallen leaves.
It seems my memories are filling my senses.
Is this what is means to grow old?
I have many years yet to go
much more time to forge more memories.
This storage crisis needs to end.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Going to school

We are all three children
ready for school at last.
But who can go this morning?
Mum sits on the stairs crying
railing against our tardy ways.
She complains of our constant
losing of gloves and hats
not to mention sports kit
and of how hard it is to get us all ready.
My little brothers stand open-mouthed
frightened by this collapse of motherhood.
Older, I am far more worried about not
getting to school on time.
I’m still not allowed to walk there on my own
although the neighbour’s girl my age can,
and I’m wary of shepherding two
wayward little boys across the road to the school.
But, as Mum raises her voice in yet another wailing moan
I decide this must be done.

I pat her on the hand, and tell her
that I’ll do it today, then
I open the door.
Suddenly, I’m slapped, shouted at
called a little madam.
Suddenly, it’s fine for Mum to take us.
Crying, I hop from foot to foot
impatiently as she gets ready,
her ‘face’ needs to be put on which
always takes forever.

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

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