Tag Archives: nature

Winter God

Tall, lean, feline, black eyed Winter is aprowl
high-shouldered, haughty, she
swirls through branches that strain to catch her
bleaches an expansive sky
watches for lonely bones

This night a god will sing in the storm
lay her glitter cloak over all
reveal a power and deadly glory
to make you question your beliefs
as she slithers under doors to embrace you
gnaws your bones with cold
takes you

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

‘Winter God’ was first published in March 2022 by Milk and Cake Press in the Dead of Winter 2 anthology

Posted for Earthweals weekly challenge. OK , so a bit of a cheat, but we are predicted temperatures of -10C (14F) here in England – I fear that the Winter god is taking up residence.

Up the Volcano

Chickens roam the aisle, having burst
from their basket, but it’s only a problem when
we stop to let more people on.
The driver pulls us rounds tight curves
blasts his horn at slower traffic
squeezes between them
and a sheer drop onto smoking fields.

It’s 1983 and we are climbing Etna the hard way
in a local bus. Someone is praying in a low voice and
there’s nothing to hold onto except each other
and perhaps God. Certainly not the chickens
who squawk at every bump and swerve.
Three villages later we get to the hotel.
It is empty, embraced by a tall curve of still glowing lava.
Hailing a battered Landrover, we pay its owner to take us further
see the bus turn to descend to Catania once more.

Up once more, at a steadier pace, until the driver stops.
We walk over hot ground, to a raised snake of rock
which we climb, until I realise it is a lava tunnel and dangerous.
As we climb down you pause to take a photo
and the mouth of the volcano explodes.
Our terrified driver flings his vehicle around
we chase after him, get in, race down
past the deserted hotel
down further to find the bus in a village.

We sigh with relief at the safety of the bus,
Enter, find seats together. A chicken pops onto my lap
You stroke her gently and
a goat puts her head in yours.

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Memories of a long ago trip up an erupting Mount Etna in Sicily.

The other nations of this Earth

The other nations of this Earth live along side us
Misunderstood, undervalued, used and abused
So many of us not longer see them
We fortunate few may wilfully misunderstand
But many see the truth, see the power and strength
Even in a hen, blackbird or crow
Animals are the other nations of this Earth
Caught in the net of time
Travellers with us on this one green globe

Copyright © 2017  Kim Whysall-Hammond

“….the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
~ Henry Beston

In Rough Waters

Dogger, Fisher, German Bight
on the North Sea in the night
Force Nine gale, rain in sight
praying for the morning light

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

The poetry of the BBC Shipping forecast, broadcast late each night, has filled my adult life from my university days using telescopes, via night feeding babies to now, when I often can’t sleep until well past midnight.

A typical forecast for several sea areas might be;

“Dogger, Fisher, German Bight. Southeast veering southwest 4 or 5, occasionally 6 later. Thundery showers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor.”

What this is telling us is that the sea areas Dogger, Fisher and German Bight are forecast to experience a SW wind direction blowing Force 4 or 5, sometimes F6 later. ‘Later’ is specifically at at time over 12 hours from the time the forecast was issued.

For those of you wondering what the first line of this poem refers to, here is a map of the sea areas covered by the forecast……

Sharing this poem in the Open link Night over at Dverse!

West London, 1970s

Every morning the Tube
trains sparked their way across points and
through grubby fields
off to plunge deep into London

Every morning, a deafening of birds
massive dawn chorus
rambunctious, full, above all loud
louder that the traffic on an infant A40

Every morning, the sound of garage doors opening
bicycles and mopeds eased quietly out
Fathers heading off to shifts
in the factories two miles south

then back to sleep, to dream
teenage longings
waiting for the alarm
and the rush to school

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Pico

Dawn breaks the sky
raw light floods island & ocean
All birdsong ceases for just the moment
when day is painted over night
colour returns to us
a breeze slowly lifts
the sun soars, reaching for this speck of land
in ocean immensity
 
Pico, veiled in high cloud
crenulated by sister cones
looms soft purple & charcoal across the strait
diva of the skies, demanding attention
holding the gaze
stately hot tempered grand dame
always beautiful, subtly threatening

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Another poem about the Azores, I must return soon……

Rabbits

Walking the Ridgeway track
in a dripping autumn
rabbits scatter away
lollop towards the grassy mound
of Waylands Smithy
an ancient tomb
haunted by a Norse godsmith
here in troubled England
but I have no horse to shoe today

Simply rabbits to shoo away

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem was written in response to the Quadrille (44 word poem) prompt over at dverse.

Boundless

The taut freedom of my swimming costume
in choppy ocean swell
water embraces me, breeze strokes
I float in a bath of sunlight

Boundless blue ocean surrounds
as I plunge into its secrets
the only sound the bubbles
of my breathing
in and out of the snorkel

A furious scrum of fishes
contesting over I know not what
eagle rays glide above
Atlantic swell buffets
dolphins sway and swerve
deep below

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond