Tag Archives: poetry

The Teenage Years

All bets are off in the teenage years
You still share your child’s hopes and fears
But they are a child no more –Can you hear that slammed door?
It’s a bumpy ride–Sometimes Jekyll, sometimes Hyde
You love them to bits, you can’t stand them anymore
And there again is that slamming door
You glimpse a young woman, you glimpse a young man –Try to catch them if you can
Sometimes it seems they’re a toddler again –Needing to share some of the pain
Do you remember when this was you?
Now you know what your parents went through……

Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

I thought this would resonate with all those living with Teeenagers in Lockdown…..

Listening

I am listening with my eyes closed
bees bumble in flowers
wasps sharp buzzing near my head
bicycles spin past in the lane
I smell the lycra
I am listening with my eyes closed

I am listening with my eyes closed
to walkers stepping around
keeping the distance
people anxious and wary
soft breezes and hot sun
in a trapped season
I am listening with my eyes closed

I am listening, listening, feeling
cool air under trees
folk chatting as they pass
voices subdued
always the news, always the count

I am hoping, hoping, wanting
Fear washes us all clean
I am remembering
embracing, kissing friends
laughing

I am listening with my eyes closed
air moves, shivers leaves above
traffic burrs along a distant road
something clangs nearby
life persists, hopes, loves
I am listening with my eyes closed.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

My response to earthweal weekly challenge: The Unsayable.

I am describing last summer in lockdown in this poem. Apart from the change form summer to winter, there is no material difference in my daily life between then to now.

Of course, we do now have safe and working vaccines!

Friday Poem: Human Family

note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

By Maya Angelou

Vaccination Day

I could see his wide welcoming smile
even a mask couldn’t hide it
as he waved me through the door
to the tempearture scan.
At the entry desk, a familar face
my diabetes nurse, eyes lit
everyone was bouyant, so
pleased to be there
to be part of something grand.

A short wait, wearing a sticker
with name, birthdate, NHS number
then a doctor beckoned
such a light jab in the arm
and then out to sit fifteen minutes
chatting to strangers, laughing
finally back out to bright sunshine.

Every thing was bright today.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Today I got my first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Data shows one dose reduces the risk of catching infection by more than 70%, rising to 85% after the second dose. Yippee!

Thank you to all the volunteers who are making this fast rollout such a happy success.

The Times he Cheated Death

As a baby, birthweight three pounds.
Swaddled in cotton wool, wrapped in tinfoil
tucked up by the steaming kettle
his mother bringing both twins to ruddy health.

In the Coventry bombing, a taxi driver sped
Mother and sons out of town, to sleep among trees.
They returned next morning, found their father
weeping by the flattened house.

That time he nearly didn’t come back
the anaesthetic would not release him
and his twin collapsed on the Parade Ground
could not be roused.

Fighting back from the unfathomable stroke
that took his right side and so his running
his special joy yet also
gave him his art back

The final summer, pneumonias repeated pulmonary attacks
when he saw new dawns after doctors had given him up.
Suddenly to be gone, after an evening laughing with my little boys.
Grandsons who barely remember him now.

After Amanda Topping

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

A poem about my Dad, Trevor Whysall.

Friday poem: London Rain

London Rain

The rain of London pimples
The ebony street with white
And the neon lamps of London
Stain the canals of night
And the park becomes a jungle
In the alchemy of night.

My wishes turn to violent
Horses black as coal–
The randy mares of fancy,
The stallions of the soul–
Eager to take the fences
That fence about my soul.

Across the countless chimneys
The horses ride and across
The country to the channel
Where warning beacons toss,
To a place where God and No-God
Play at pitch and toss.

Whichever wins I am happy
For God will give me bliss
But No-God will absolve me
From all I do amiss
And I need not suffer conscience
If the world was made amiss.

Under God we can reckon
On pardon when we fall
But if we are under No-God
Nothing will matter at all,
Adultery and murder
Will count for nothing at all.

So reinforced by logic
As having nothing to lose
My lust goes riding horseback
To ravish where I choose,
To burgle all the turrets
Of beauty as I choose.

But now the rain gives over
Its dance upon the town,
Logic and lust together
Come dimly tumbling down,
And neither God nor No-God
Is either up or down.

The argument was wilful,
The alternatives untrue,
We need no metaphysics
To sanction what we do
Or to muffle us in comfort
From what we did not do.

Whether the living river
Began in bog or lake,
The world is what was given,
The world is what we make.
And we only can discover
Life in the life we make.

So let the water sizzle
Upon the gleaming slates,
There will be sunshine after
When the rain abates
And rain returning duly
When the sun abates.

My wishes now come homeward,
Their gallopings in vain,
Logic and lust are quiet,
And again it starts to rain;
Falling asleep I listen
To the falling London rain.

By Louis MacNeice

(The rhyming scheme is a b c b d b – with a repeat end word in lines four and six of each stanza).

Surround yourself with beauty

Surround yourself with beauty
Look at what you own
Is it beautiful or loved?
Does it give you pleasure?
Does it embody a memory?
Keep it
Possessions need to work for you
Need to lift you
Need to remind you who you are
Designer labels? Latest high tech? Do you need to follow the herd?
I sit in a room with books I love and want
With photos of those I love
With objects and art that say something to me
All bought on a shoestring
Possessions do not define me, they cannot say who I am
My poetry attempts that
But my possessions comfort me

my attempt to surround myself in beauty.

Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Statue of limitations

With eyes that cannot meet mine
you appear meek, yet she
who breathed life in you
was out for the kill
I am stuck
frigid as you
held by your
harsh metallic
lines and wrinkles
pegged down
suspended
stopped

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem was in response to the artwork below. It was written for the Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge last December. The current Challenge can be found here.