Kindness

Fever 104

Death knocking at the door

And she gave the gift of kindness.

Caressed my burning brow

Spoke with soft and soothing tones

Let me know I was not alone.

 

Alison Jean Hankinson

January 2011 and I was extremely ill and with fever, there was this wonderful nurse who throughout the Saturday night as doctors came and went, cared for me, she put wet flannels on my head, and came every 10 minutes to let me know I was not alone, it was the middle of the night and all my family were gone and her kindness will always stay with me. It was at that point in my life that I think I really understood that the kindness of a friend or stranger is always one of the most bountiful and unexpected gifts.

The photo is from St Ann’s Square in Manchester today, I was struck again by this word. It will always have more power than hatred. A tribute to the nurse that cared for me and the people of Manchester.IMG_2244

 

The challenge tonight as d’Verse was to write about a gift.

Salford Pals

 

I have spent a considerable amount of time this weekend rebuilding the lives of my paternal Great-grandfather John Henry Mcclenan( McLanaghan) and my Great grandmother- his wife Frances Taylor/Skinner. It is a fascinating story of friendship, war, battles and lives lost, and love rising like a phoenix from the ashes to build what was to become a large and strong family. John Henry and his best friend George Skinner were to fight in the Boer War, George was killed and John Henry injured in the hip and returned to Salford to convalesce. On recovering he went to see George’s wife of 4 months Frances Skinner and over time they fell in love and were married on 14 December 1901.

Frances was 27 by this time but they went on to have 8 children, one of whom was my Grandfather Frank born in 1911(the one on the horse), and although getting on in years John Henry served with the Salford Pals 15th regiment from 1914-18, surviving a number of key battles including the Somme in 1916 and the siege of Thiepval July 1st 1916 and was awarded a number of medals. Frances and John’s fourth child was a daughter Hilda and her Great Grandson Christopher Finney went on to earn the George Cross for bravery in the Iraq war 2003. I think great things came from the broken fragments of John Henry’s Boer war broken-ness. He passed away in 1926 from amongst other things TB in the injured hip. I might not have fully complied with nature- but maybe war counts as the impact of human nature…

Bleak Boer War battle

John Henry lost George Skinner

Frail Fall brought Frances.

 

Alison Jean Hankinson

 

For d”verse our challenge is to write about finding beauty in the broken pieces or imperfection and/or the process of mending the broken pieces.- kintsugi. A “broken” object, cityscape or landscape, or personal experience of mending and embracing imperfections. Kintsugi means “golden rejoining,” and refers to the Zen philosophy of acknowleding flaws, embracing change, and restoring an object with a newfound beauty.

Stunned silence

The deafening silence of tragedy

the sound of pain beyond human comprehension

Stunned into silence a soundless

pause perhaps if we remain completely silent

maybe we won’t be noticed and it won’t be real.

Shrill sounds reveal that it is scarily real after all.

 

Alison Jean Hankinson

 

This is for d’Verse quadrille.

In 2005 I was in London with a group of school students when there was the second bombing, my students who were young and had never experienced anything like that before just wanted to get on their coach and go home immediately which just wasn’t possible, we left the following morning and the bus was eerily silent and remained so until we got beyond Birmingham. Silence is deafening in tragic circumstances. My heart and love to all to all who were touched by the Manchester bombing.

We cherish their footfalls

Geneology

we lived and died here

Names trickle by,

echoes of the past

Stories unfold

 

Startling revelations

In the stories we shared

Souls and mortal sins bared

 

We name our children in their honour

They will echo us forever

In their blood and bones.

 

Alison Jean Hankinson

 

This is for Quadrille with d’Verse.

Quadrille

Still young inside my head.

I think despite the generation gap Ed Sheeran must have had a similar childhood to mine. Earlier in the year I did a cover lesson at a local High school where we needed to look at song lyrics for poetic form, I hurriedly asked a kindly looking lad what he thought would be appropriate for the class so I could quickly do a youtube search and get this lesson in the bag. He suggested Castle on the Hill.  This week some kid in the playground whispered Grandma when I walked past…and I wondered who she was on about because even though I am 50 (I am still young in my head)… I am wiser…yes..but not old. So I have driven to work every day this week belting out Castle on the Hill with the window down. I defy you to call me Grandma. And then my smile becomes a grin…because I am home.

Remembering youth

Through your song my Summers’ surge

Dawn chorus wakens.

 

Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for Haibun Monday at d’Verse.

d’verse

The picture is from about 1979- I played trombone in the local band and summer was always full of festivals, concerts and walking days.

IMG_1756

 

A student’s lament

Third row back

never back chat

yet nobody knows my name.

I am the classroom ghost

Faceless to most

Silent learner lurking in the shadows.

 

Alison Jean Hankinson

 

I am putting this in for the open link night. I wrote this last week and yes it is/was inspired by my day-job…. Foe d’Verse open link

d’Verse

The inspiration actually came from a very lovely student who gave the description “lurking in the shadows” when asked what skulking meant. I sent a postcard home.

They sing for him.

It is the community singing that does it for my Dad every time,

Every rugby and football match those anthems for the common man.

They capture heart and soul, and bridge dreams and memories

And he sings with them, they become one voice,

one song, one breath-taking moment

of shared understanding and surrender,

of solidarity, stoicism and strength.

His heart was broken

In that shared moment he saw it and claimed it.

His grief, his passion, his anger, his will to live

all in the community singing.

They sing for him.

 

Alison Jean Hankinson

 

poetics d’Verse

This is for Poetics and the evening is being hosted by Paul Scribbles and the theme was community.

IMG_1005

His heart was broken is a play on the words from The Proclaimers song Sunshine on Leith which is the anthem for Hibernian Football club. It has become one of my dad’s favourites even though he is a Turf Moor fan at heart.

Here is a link to a rendition of it:

Hibs 2016