Only Exmoor by Kim Whysall-Hammond


Only Exmoor
by Kim Whysall-Hammond

Only Exmoor stretches out to embrace the whole sky in its immensity
Reflects its moods and colours, its nurture and destruction
Only the moor is as fickle as the sky

Today the moor is swallowed as clouds subsume the uplands
Yesterday it shed water like the clouds themselves
Tomorrow it will shimmer with heat, dry and unforgiving

Trees hide in hollows, afraid to stand in the open
Sheep bones litter the spring hillsides
Peaty silty bogs nestle with gorse, bracken and heather

Only Exmoor reaches out to bleed the very rain from the sky
To lie seeming gentle with its folds and billows, green fields abutting the heather
Then to gladly accept the gifts of deadly snow, killing floods, baking heat

First appeared in Peacock Journal in 2017.

PHOTO: Exmoor, England. Photo by Julia Schwab, used by permission.

NOTE: Exmoor is an area of hilly open moorland in west Somerset and north Devon in South West England. The terrain supports lowland heath communitiesancient woodland and blanket mire which provide habitats for scarce flora and fauna.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Exmoor is the place of many happy holidays with our two sons. It can be bleak and softly beautiful all on the same day, has several herds of wild ponies roaming free, and is littered with lovely villages with cosy tearooms. Beware, though, people die on the lonely moorlands even in summer. 

kim headshot

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kim Whysall-Hammond is a Londoner living in a country town in Southern England. She has been published by Ink, Sweat and Tears, Amaryllis, Allegro, Fourth and Sycamore, The Blue Nib, London Grip, and Crannóg among others.  She has two poems, “Winter in Concrete” and “Glimpse,” in the anthology New Towns edited by Robert Francis,  published by Wild Pressed Books.  She shares poetry on her blog,

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