When the Light Departs (a responsive tanka sequence)

snow-drops-public-domain-picture

 

Earlier this year, Australian poet and friend, David Terelinck, invited me to create a responsive tanka sequence with him. David is a poet I greatly admire, so it was a real honor to write with him. It was the first time I’d attempted anything like this, but under David’s very gentle and skilled tutelage, our sequence grew and grew. In creating this piece with David, I learned as much about trust as I did about the nuances of writing tanka.

When we finished our sequence, David asked, “Now where shall we send this sequence for publication?” I was dead silent, being a bit in shock that he felt this piece should be published. At his suggestion, we submitted it to Skylark, a Tanka Journal edited by Claire Everett.  Claire is one of the world’s finest tanka poets and editors. She herself has written responsively with David, and he has provided the forward for her last book. Two of my favorite poets alive discussing publication and minor edits. What a wonderful thing to happen.

This month, Skylark, a Tanka Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, Winter 2016 was published.Here is our tanka sequence, When the Light Departs. My thanks to you, David Terelinck, for being my teacher, mentor and friend.

~

[Note: David’s verses are in regular font and mine are in italics.]

Responsive tanka sequence between David Terelinck (AUS) & Mary Kendall (USA)

When the Light Departs

 

this alloy
of clouds & winter light –
it’s not what you said
but how you looked
as you said it . . .

 

still unable
to explain why the world
seems darker now . . .
all the frozen buds
on the camellia bush

 

days and days
of endless rain that swells
the window sills –
only two weeks left
in her first trimester

 

a sudden
knowing of what
may never be . . .
the silence of snowdrops
pooling on the lawn 

 

not the way
she expected to wear
all white . . .
the greying of her thoughts
following sedation

 

winter storm,
a young dove lost
in a sea of mist
. . . my empty arms
grow heavy

 

she spends the morning
filling freshly turned beds
with crocus bulbs –
what else can a woman
of a certain age do?

 

when the light
departs, I put down
my paintbrush . . .
this world of colour
between earth and sky 

 

 

© 2016 David Terelinck & Mary Kendall

Published in Skylark, a Tanka Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, Winter 2016

flower_spring_snowdrop

Note: both photographs are from the public domain

6 thoughts on “When the Light Departs (a responsive tanka sequence)

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