Tag Archives: poem

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.

Magic happens

Those so small sisters
travellers with us on this one green globe
praying for the morning light
and the rush to school

move across the land
arc and wave hello
always beautiful, subtly threatening
fade into sunshine

magic happens
find it today
in defiance of the night
sun dogs all

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem is constructed as per the instructions over at Dverse today where everything is about endings:

– take the very last/final line from each of your most recent poems and re-write them as a poem
– choose at least 12 poems (for this 12th month!)
– keep each line intact, unadulterated
– you may add preposition, conjunction or change of tense if it helps the flow
– you may use enjambment to break a line
– the lines do not have to follow date order

Cold cold morning

November, and you stand in your mobcap
that hated worn black gown
look up at the big house, lit and warm
your tear-stained face pale as the mist
a mist cold as the employer that has told you to leave
leave the one job that feeds your family
family bereft of a father or sons to work
servant work you despised, literate girl that you are
work you so needed

Beggars can’t be choosers

But once the son of the house chose to court you
and you rebuffed him
your days there were numbered
have been sent home without a reference
on a chill winter morning
so you stand in your mobcap, your servant uniform
look up at the big house, lit and warm
weep for the hungry mouths at home
those so small sisters

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem has been written in response to a prompt at Dverse, where we are asked to respond to one of four paintings. I chose John Atkinson Grimshaws painting entitled A November Morning (1883). I looked at the painting (see below), saw the servant girl looking up and her story just came to me.

John Atkinson Grimshaw – Shipley Art Gallery. Title: November Morning, Knostrop Hall, Leeds. Date: 1883. Materials: oil on canvas. Dimensions: 61 x 86.4 cm. Source: https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/november-morning-knostrop-hall-leeds-35520. I have changed the light and contrast of the original photo.

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

From star to star

Nights pinpoints sparkle
home galaxy glows over
arcs and waves hello

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

It is time for the monthly poetry challenge at Fake Flamenco. Rebecca has asked us to write a Haiku about something that fascinates us in nature; an experience, creature or setting.

I’ve chosen to write about the night sky, specifically the glory of the Milky Way. I live in a town, so don’t often see our home galaxy, but when I do it’s like meeting an old friend. My university degree is in Astronomy, and the sky is certainly something that fascinates me!