Frozen Moments

Frozen Moments (c) 2015 Harald Illsinger

                                             Frozen Moments (c) 2015 Harald Illsinger


It doesn’t matter that your words were shouted
In a peal of sparking anger, anger spewed
In moon-white flames tinged with flicks—
Sapphire blue and poppy red and yellow.

Burning so hot and fast, those thoughts
Consumed themselves and all
Nearby, including what remained
Of hope
For change…
Your change,
Your transformation.

And when the fire burned down,
All that was left were the ashes of your anger.

Small chars of memories…
Frozen moments of who you were…
Long Ago.

Unable to forgive—even yourself,
You are locked in the ice of stagnation,
The ice of inner struggle.

Frozen fire—
No thaw,
No shift,
No change.
No redemption.



Note: Many thanks as always to Harald Illsinger for the use of his exquisite photograph, Frozen Moments (c) 2015. His work always serves as such wonderful and unexpected inspiration.

Dark-Eyed Juncos, a Tanka

I’d like to share a tanka that is currently appearing in Ribbons, Tanka Cafe, Winter 2015

Junco, photo by Kathy Adams Clark

Junco, photo by Kathy Adams Clark

winter light 

shadows linger low

behind us—

dark-eyed juncos

scurry past our feet

Juncos, photo by Brian Cunningham

Juncos, photo by Brian Cunningham

This poem appeared in Ribbons, Tanka Cafe, Winter 2015
This is the publication of the American Tanka Society,

Spring Equinox (haiga)

spring equinox kendall haiga

Haiga by Mary Kendall

This was written for a prompt on the spring equinox for a favorite small poem poetry group I belong to called “seize the poem.” I’m enjoying creating this mix of haiku and photography, and I think I finally got the words correctly balanced on the picture, so I’m sharing it here as well. The photo is my own taken in the sculpture garden of the Rodin Museum in Paris this month.

Sounds of Summer Evenings by Mary Kendall (Where I Live Poetry & Photography Series)

I’m so excited to have a poem of mine included in the “Where I Live Poetry and Photography Series’ by Silver Birch Press. They have published two other poems of mine in other series, and It is always an honor to be included among their marvelous poetry selections. Thank you, Silver Birch Press!
Wherever you live, no matter where you might be, nighttime in summer reveals a very different world of sound. During the day we hear birds, breezes, people, mowers, airplanes, cars or sometimes just bees and hummingbird wings. At night, however, we must totally rely on our hearing to grasp all the different sounds that play out in the night chorus. Here in the south, in North Carolina where I live, summer nights are especially noisy. From frogs and owls to whipoorwills and katydids, there are times when it is absolutely deafening. I wish I had the expertise to identify all the different frogs our small garden pond must be home to. There is one frog that sounds much like what I imagine an alien creature would be like—high-pitched, very shrill and almost dizzying in its persistent song. It’s irritating enough to go inside.

Then there are the “call and response” night singers. I love those most of all. I can sit a long while listening to them. Occasionally I hear an owl, but lately it seems there are fewer around. I remember when we regularly had barred owls nesting in our woodland garden. Catching sight of one was always impressive, but hearing one in the middle of the night was truly haunting. I love to sit outside in our screened-in porch when it is dark. The dog often comes and sits with me listening and keeping me company. She makes no sound herself, knowing that we are the polite and attentive audience to this vast chorus of night.


Here is an audio recording of me reading this poem. Just click on the link below, wait a few seconds, and it will begin.






Silver Birch Press

Sounds of Summer Evenings
by Mary Kendall

Sometimes at night I sit outside
In the screened-in porch out back.

In the darkness, the rustling leaves
Of the tall beech trees are blowing.

The katydids call to one another,
An evening of antiphonal refrain.

On nights when a heavy rain falls,
All you can hear are the tireless frogs

Chorusing in the garden pond.
The deep lone bass, the shrill soprano,

This diverse and discordant choir
Seems to be one of rhapsodical joy.

And then there are times when an owl
Soundlessly lands in a nearby tree

And startles me with its resonant call,
Letting me know it’s now on watch.

Two times more it calls, low and deep.
I rise and go, time now for me to sleep.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Northern by birth, I have lived for more than 35 years in North Carolina. Our summer nights are…

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Meditation on the Moment

The following poem of mine, “Meditation on the Moment” was originally published in a book called, True Belonging: Mindful Practices to Help You Overcome Loneliness, Connect with Others, and Cultivate Happiness (c) 2011 by Jeffrey Brantley, MC, DFAPA and Wendy Millstine.

Dr. Jeffrey Brantley was my first meditation teacher in the Duke Integrative Medicine MBSR program. His wife, Mary Brantley, introduced me to the practice of Metta (Loving Kindness). Through both of these teachers my life was forever changed in a most beautiful way. I wrote this poem for Dr. Brantley and he first used it in meditation classes and later asked to publish it in his book. This was an honor I will always hold very close to my heart.


Meditation on the Moment

When I am ready,
I close my eyes
and focus on the breathing;
awareness of air
passing through the nose
down through the body;
the belly rises, falls,
rises again ~
its slow rhythm
setting the tone.

Next, focus on the body,
accepting it for once
as it is right now,
here in this moment,
for the moment
is all we have.

Breathing in,
breathing out,
shoulders soft,
no striving
to get somewhere
for there is no place
to be but here.

No judging of self,
simply letting it be
in the moment
for the moment.

Rain pounds against the glass
this February evening.
The image begins with sound
transforming into a thought.

Raindrops falling,
each one perfectly formed
but then releasing,
allowing itself to lose
what it was alone,
becoming instead
part of something more.


Poem by Mary Kendall, 2007

Sky the color of hyacinths…

waves swell then break

~ ~

I’m still very new as a haiku poet, so it is with caution that I’ve ventured out to try an actual haiga. A haiga combines art and a haiku. Since I lack all painterly skills, I’m combining my haiku with a photo that I love. I’ve done this in a slightly similar way on my blog with tanka and some autumn haiku. However, I consider this to be my very first true haiga.


What is Haiga?  

Haiga is a Japanese concept for simple pictures combined with poetry, usually meaning haiku. In Basho’s time, haiga meant a brushed ink drawing combined with one of his single poems handwritten as part of the picture. In our day and age, haiga can be watercolor paintings, photographs or collages with a poem of any genre that is integrated into the composition. Sometimes the poem is handwritten or it can be computer generated, depending on the artist’s taste.”  (This definition of haiga is by the poet, Jane Reichhold on her website,  Ah Ha! Poetry.)


Note on Photograph:

This beautiful photograph is by an Icelandic photographer known to me only as KariK on Flickr. It was posted and thus copyrighted in (c) 2011. It has been posted thousands of times online and almost never with an attribution to him. By doing a ‘backward’ image search I was able to find him on flickr. His photographs, most of nature, are magnificent.  This is what he wrote for this particular picture (translated from Icelandic):

Reykjanestá:  This location is unique for the fact that there can see the ocean ridge walk on 1 and, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which separates the prefabricated North America and Europe.

KariK, (c) 2011