Thursday, December 27, 2012

Terrestrial Park

 August 2012

The clouds straddle the flats high up like china clay;
five o clock feels warm and light as August might,
and the flats reach up towards the beckoning light
away from Earth like giant spikes, to head away.

Challenging space as if it needed to be fought,
young riders ride into the sprawling bushy park
on bikes, some paid for, some taken for a lark,
skidding and crashing, from game to impact sport.

The white car with the door wide open draws a crowd,
becomes a learning hub: a local Doctor Seuss
raps tall from a tower where trouble brews.
The car has pedigree, a secret whispered loud,

a half-told story’s well-known sequel, how for hours
it was driven round, returning round a certain bend,
not for a bad reason – just to help a friend.
There’s talk of pacts and treaties, the sharing of powers:

“…if one side can respect, the other understands.”
Now even younger kids have blades; one little boy
a blade that coils and uncoils like a toy,
a game of stick and scatter, for brain and glands

that boil with thoughts. The nerves send their orders;
the bikes skid, slide round; one hits the deck;
the rider smirks, jeans ripped, t-shirt newly wrecked.
Up in the flats a breeze helps a mother get their suppers.

Her thoughts simmer; she won’t go to money-lenders –
even before the doorbell rang she’d know the score.
Now she calls, “Supper” from the window, shouts, shouts more,
and her message is relayed by willing messengers

Kenneth Hyam Dec 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Reasons Why Not crack a Walnut…                      

Of all the nuts they say
are good for you, one wins
out in front by a whisker:
Nature’s tooled Netsuke
in the shape of your brain.

You may well need
its white squiggly crunch
of protein
glazed and shining,
like a Botticelli cloud,
reined in by a husk;
yet much more than its
memory enhancing,
artery-washing nutrients
you need the dream
of the walnut, the inside-
its-shell stage, where
a perfectly-formed
concert grand is waiting
for the femininity and lyricism
of Mitsuko Uchida.

You can't know
that that's not true:
or never have heard her play Mozart
just look a little closer
at the walnut
and see how it’s made
of two halves – a left
and a right side
you might say –
and how each is shaped
like a coracle, sailing
where two oceans meet.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Festival 51

To go with my photobook on the Festival of Britain celebrations of last summer on the South Bank, I have written this poem
Festival 51

I’m lost among these Londoners
and semi-Londoners I live among,
yet London stirs me whenever London stirs.

The silent losers and the real winners,
Enigma-breakers in the crowd, unsung,
were lost among these Londoners

who drank in tents to scientific wonders,
who danced on terraces where Skylon hung;
 London stirred them whenever London stirred,

and would include each bunch of foreigners
who came to stay. No matter how much stung
or lost among these Londoners,

new cohorts came to interleaving boroughs –
a hovel built on clay, mist-bank where sunrays clung,
when London first stirred, whenever London stirred.

Smoked rubble, lives peeled off in pastel layers –
the bomb-sites pollinated, bells were rung,
and each voice lost in other Londoners’ –
a climb of sound, a point where nothing stirs.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Foundry Gates

A pint of Broadside from Southwold got John reminiscing about his teacher training days in Manchester. He was walking past some gigantic gates of a defunct iron foundry and took a photograph. He also wrote a poem about the image which he took. All this was 20 years ago. He told me he could still remember the poem and would write it out now in the pub. I rummaged in my rucksack for paper to no avail. John went for some,  and came back WITH A PAPER PLATE. He then proceeded to write down his poem from memory without a pause or a single crossing out.

Please click on the image to read the poem. Thanks John for this poem, and the new genre of paper plate pomes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Please try clicking on the icon under the book and to the right with four arrows radiating out to see a preview of my new blurb book. This icon will give you the full screen version.The book came about as a result of a photography project I did on the South Bank of the Thames. Inspired by the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain I took a series of photographs on the theme of Fairground '51. I have included an introduction and some poems and captions, the idea being to tap into the spirit of that time, both in the sense of the actual Festival of Britain and also the rekindling of it in 2011 - I think the words help the reader to tune in. There was a strong and emotive atmosphere which made me feel it was not only OK to take photographs, it was somehow nesessary as the artifacts and installations - beach huts, photobooth, fairground attractions and the 1950s ice-cream vans - would soon disappear from sight. However, on the preview you will not be able to see much of the text clearly, even on full "Full Screen." The pictures are clear, which is a good thing, thanks to Blurb. Another reason I took the photographs was because of the joy of making them, just being there as an observer and participator. I hope some of this feeling translates to the viewer of the pictures.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Benches and Book Vaults

Benches and Book Vaults

The only company is the pigeons that fly at knee height and settle on the ground. He watches as a girl sits cross-legged to photograph her beau. He watches how shadows of birds climb walls in sunlight. He feels cold. The thought of toast just made from an old pop-up toaster, the sound the knife makes across its surface and how the butter…. He walks on through sunlight wondering if, to a ghost, it might seem a wall impenetratable. There are concrete towers, there were slums the concrete towers replaced.
The arrow to Scoob takes him down metallic stairs into a low-ceilinged basement where books are ranged in avenues of shelves. He listens to the dusty quiet in which pages murmur of someone close they’ve lost – History, Politics, Architecture, the film section open access – Poetry a little harder to get to, enclosed in a little room of shelves where two people must be conscious of each other. Up on Marchmont Street the man still smiles into the camera of his girl as she squats beside him on the sunny bench. No sunlight here exactly, in the little Poetry room with its walls of spines and titles – an older daylight reflects up from the open page, a light of rivers, reeds and orchards sunlight passes through.

Kenneth Hyam Jan 2012.
Urban Landscapes