Tag Archives: nature

Winding Road


The winding road I walk
wanders through country hedges
stuffed full of brambles and bomb-weed
across hay meadows to where
gauze mist veils distant hills.
Rust red cows huddle by a gate
tails swishing away flies
and rooks shout from their rookery
hurling bird banter from tall tree to tall tree.
Later the Sun will lower down to the west
shadows will merge and meld
owls will hunt. But now
rabbits nibble in golden light
and a peace settles deep inside.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

The weird font is due to my struggles with the new block editor. 

Chalklands

Chalk undulates across Southern England
Hills, gentle yet steep
Can be overtopped by clay peppered with flints
So treasured by the old folk

As old as the hills is true here
The chalk is a two hundred million year ocean
Stiffened and folded over time
By our living planet

Several human species
Have hunted  in these valleys
Have dug into and sculpted these hills
Have left their ghosts for us to trace

The ancient monuments we treasure
Hill forts, stone circles, long barrows
Are but modern remnants
Compared to the first folk

My hills have deep roots

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Friday poem: Blackberry picking

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.
By Seamus Heany

Across the road

Was a whole different universe,
of course the road was the A40
or the Western Avenue as we called it then.
One side urban west London
the other a seemingly limitless sprawl of brambles
riddled with paths sized for squeezing small children
as if the local mothers had arranged it so
that adults could not blackberry but only
give instructions from the edges.
Everyone brambled in summer
red stained children limping home
at days end with huge leaking bags of berries
and a future full of pies and jam.
The real magic of that place was a stream
clear and sparkling, running over pebbles
in places deep and wide, where
baby brothers could be washed
and drinking cups filled.
The shallows were my solitary joy in spring when
armed with a net and an empty jam jar I searched for
blushed red male Sticklebacks, to bring them home
and watch them, marvelling at
their writhing sinuous shapes,
those outsized blue-green eyes
the sharp stickles on each back.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Taking part in Sarah Connor’s challenge over at Earthweal.

Here’s Sarah’s prompt:

“So, for this prompt, I’d like you to think about how you first felt connected to nature – maybe as a child, or as an adult. Some of those lost words may inspire you, or you may have your own lost word (or world?) that gave you a sense of wonder at the natural world around you. Maybe you collected caterpillars, or watched birds on a bird-table, or squatted down to watch beetles, or looked up to see squirrels in the treetops.”

Climbing a beech tree in your parents’ garden

A truly wonderful poem from Sarah Connor. Enjoy!:

Fmme writes poems

You will come to a place
where you can stop,
back pressed against the trunk –
a place where you can feel
your soft limbs branch and stiffen,
and the sap pulsing under
your skin, and all your thoughts
are nests and breezes,
and the taste of sunlight,
and the tree holds you here,
like a father holds a child –

Or maybe
your father hoists you up
onto his strong shoulders,
so you can peer through
the green leaves of his hair,
over the fence to where
next-door’s cat lolls in the sunshine
and the old lady jabs
at her flowerbed

and now two butterflies
spiral up towards you
and a bird swoops in
to land upon a twig

and no-one else can see
the tree-ness of you.

I’m hosting at earthweal this week, and asking you to think about how children connect with nature. Or adults, I guess. 

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The winding road


The winding road I walk
wanders through country hedges
stuffed full of brambles and bomb-weed
across hay meadows to where
gauze mist veils distant hills.
Rust red cows huddle by a gate
tails swishing away flies
and rooks shout from their rookery
hurling bird banter from tall tree to tall tree.
Later the Sun will lower down to the west
shadows will merge and meld
owls will hunt. But now
rabbits nibble in golden light
and a peace settles deep inside.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond Last week the new block editor allowed me to select a font for my posts. this week, this is not possible. I'm stuck with this weird typewriter font!

Standing on Dunkery

Any hill will do
They all are sacred, but
Dunkery at twilight
As mist seeps up from
Purple heather
Horizons broaden out
And valleys settle into shadow

Sheep bleat, asking for their land back
But we walk the broad path
To a scattered mound of stone
Skirting nervous wild ponies
As the sun paints them golden

Ponies never ask, it is always theirs
As it belonged to the mound builders
Five thousand years ago
As it belongs
And doesn’t belong
To us all
But especially tonight
To me and mine

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Written in response to this weeks EarthWeal challenge “Sacred Landscapes“. Exmoor is very special and it’s highest point, Dunkery Beacon, even more so.

A Fox Crossed Barley Lane

A wonderful tale of foxes and people over time:

lifecameos

A fox crossed Barley Lane at dusk
trotting from his den on the heath
towards the scattered Essex farms
to hunt for a springtime dinner of hens
ducks, geese with newly hatched young.
He passed a farm labourer plodding along
the rutted track to a meagre dinner.
The fox would dine better than he tonight.

A fox crossed Barley Lane at dusk
trotting from his den on the heath
towards the prosperous Essex farms
keenly seeking a poultry dinner
from their large abundant barns.
He briskly rounded the loaded wagons
creaking along the potholed track.
His mind was on his dinner.

A fox crossed Barley Lane at dusk
trotting from his den on the heath
to seek his dinner at Essex farms and
backyards along the High Road
crossing Barley Lane as it followed
the new railway with its deafening trains.
It took more work to extract his dinner
but…

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