Tag Archives: sicily

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.

Loom Weight

A loom weight lost these many millennia
sits proud on heavy soil
held in my hand, it speaks of loving toil
the spinning of fabric
to clothe a family
and a connection is made
she spoke ancient Greek
a colonist deep in Sicily’s heartland
I stroke the fingerprint left in once moist clay
and say Hello

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For Dverse

This loom weight was fund in Western Sicily, whilst I was working on an archeological survey many many years ago. It came home with me and I still look at her fingerprint and say hello……

Black Fig

Slumped in still hot shade
Cowering from the late morning Sicilian summer sun
We have walked the dry vineyards since dawn
Scouring topsoil for archaeology
For signs of Roman, Arab, Norman
Now we melt sleepily beside our haul
Fragments of pots and tiles
And peer out down the dirt road for our belated lift
A soft plop distracts us, causes us to look up
To realise that our shelter is a fig tree
With sudden energy we jump to shake the branches
Eager for juicy sweetness
When the car arrives, we are gorged on overripe black figs
Hot but content.

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Poems up at ‘Mediterranean Poetry’

I’m very happy to tell you that several of my poems are up on the website  ‘Mediterranean Poetry  (an odyssey through the mediterranean world)‘  , at https://www.odyssey.pm/contributors/kim-whysall-hammond/

Here is the description of this eclectic and very interesting site:

Our idea with this site is to be able to share our fascination of this world with others and let it be a place where one may read poems/short texts created by poets/authors that live (have lived/traveled) around these waters and, through their literary efforts, have captured the very essence of the Mediterranean world!

 

Do wander over there for a good read…….

Cochi

Deep ploughed grooves
reveal treasures between vines
broken pots, beads, loom weights,
amphora base inscribed with a name.
Burnt edges speak of conflagration,
terror, loss, pain.
Archeology of human fear.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Cochi was the term for pot sherds when we were Archeological Field-Walking in Sicily several years ago.

Gecko

Each siesta, my gecko came
Skittering across the mottled ceiling
Dancing over paint flakes
Lengthening his neck to peer down
At me

He would not leave his hiding hole
Until I laid me down to rest
In the Sicilian noonday heat
Then two sparkling gleaming eyes
Held vigil

Halfway between stick and snake
Sandy spiky little friend
Padded feet gripping to defy gravity
My curious Gecko watched over me
Literally

Once his powers failed him
And he plopped down onto my chest
I woke to see him face to face
And  find in those eyes
Understanding

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

gecko

Loom weight

A loom weight lost these many millennia
Sits proud on heavy soil
Held in my hand, it speaks of loving toil
The spinning of fabric
To clothe a family
And a connection is made
She spoke ancient Greek
A colonist deep in Sicily’s heartland
I stroke the fingerprint left in once moist clay
And say Hello

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

loom-weight

Dawn

Dawn

I have seen fewer dawns than sunsets
That grey wakefulness is a stranger
While the drowsy glory of evening is a long-time friend
Each dawn observed echoes memories of the others
Sicilian mountains echoing a watchdogs call
Gulls noisily surrendering a clay flat beach
Frost sparkled grass on a forbidden lawn

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Black Fig

Black Fig

Slumped in the still hot shade
Cowering from the late morning Sicilian summer sun
We have walked the dry vineyards since dawn
Scouring topsoil for archaeology
For signs of Roman, Arab, Norman
Now we melt sleepily beside our haul
Fragments of pots and tiles
And peer out down the dirt road for our belated lift
A soft plop distracts us, causes us to look up
To realise that our shelter is a fig tree
With sudden energy we jump to shake the branches
Eager for juicy sweetness
When the car arrives, we are gorged on overripe black figs
Hot but content.

 

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond