Moonbathing 22, Spring 2020
a faint train whistle
passing by at 3 a.m.
. . . the only normal thing
in these pandemic nights
that makes any sense
This tanka was published in Hedgerow, a journal of small poems ~ #130, Winter 2020
we turn away
from all we just can’t face—
the glistening red
of a vulture’s head
emerges from a carcass
Out of decay comes art and beauty. Look what artist Georgia O’Keefe created from a skull found where she lived in New Mexico. All is part of nature and is nature.
Where I live in central North Carolina, we have plenty of black vultures and turkey vultures. They circle and gather in the sky when there is carrion to be had. I chose this topic for the tanka because it’s a scene I’ve seen more than once. Yes, it’s not a pretty sight. Vultures, especially when eating a dead animal or gathering in a group in a tree or abandoned house do give you shivers. Something in us seems to respond with at least a momentary revulsion. However, I’m a bird lover and I try to see how a specific species fits into the scheme of things. Vultures and crows do eat carrion, the flesh of dead animals, often of roadkill along our roads and streets. They perform a good service by eating their meal and cleaning the mess up. Imagine all those dead animals left to rot. So these birds help us as they go about their business (albeit unpleasant business to us). They are birds we should appreciate for their useful role in nature. They also offer us a wonderful metaphor.
My thanks to editor, Caroline Skanne for being the one editor who chose to publish this poem.
This tanka is dedicated it to all who have dealt with the trauma
of childhood sexual abuse.
of so many children
dissolved in a moment
Eucalypt: A Tanka Journal,
Issue 25, 2018
It’s a great honor to have had this tanka published in Eucalypt. My thanks to editor, Julie Anne Thorndyke for selecting this particular poem.
Published: Failed Haiku, a Journal of English Senryu, Volume 3, Issue 31,
Guest editors: Lori A. Minor and Chase Gagnon
Primary editor: Michael Rehling
Note: I’d like to thank my dear friend, Christine M. Kalke for her permission to use her beautiful photograph that was taken in Scandinavia during one of her visits. The digital art work was done by me.
GUSTS, NO. 24, Contemporary Tanka, Fall/Winter 2017 (Tanka Canada) This is the third of three tanka published in this issue of Gusts.
Note: I have added the picture of dark water here on my blog. The original tanka does not appear with the picture in Gusts. The original water picture is called, “Dark Water”and is by (c) LeandrasStock.
Where do poems come from? Anyone who writes poetry asks that question and has that question asked of them by others who wonder how a poem comes to be. There are many articles and books on the subject, but still there is no single answer. Every poet writes differently and often in a lifetime writing patterns and habits might change, too.
To show you how oddly this can happen, I’ve decided to post a poem that appeared in my chapbook, Erasing the Doubt (published 2015 by Finishing Line Press). “Walking Away” is a poem that has its own style, its own cadence and its own meaning. If I were to read this somewhere, I think I’d say it feels very much like an old fashioned poem, as if it echoes a voice from long ago. How did that happen? There is an unusual story behind this poem and how it came to be. It came to me as a whole poem when I was up late writing and suddenly became very, very tired. It appeared almost dreamlike to me. I typed it up quickly, read it once and went to bed. When I read it the next day, it didn’t feel or sound like me, but obviously I had written it. Strange indeed. This experience happened only once in my life.Was another poet speaking through me? Or was this merely a side freed from regular consciousness because of fatigue?
I’d love to hear your comments on this poem and what it means to you when you read it. Feel free to leave a message
I’ve recorded this poem if you care to listen as well as read. Just click on this link:
When you go, where do you wander?
When you leave me, do you look back?
I sit here, book in hand, not reading.
The wind blows fiercely through now.
They asked how long you had been silent,
And I answered with a lie, which
Was not the truth but might have been.
The wind blows silently through now.
Did you hear me whispering to you?
Did you hear what I had to say? Or did
I turn away and only mouth the words?
The wind blows piercingly through now.
Where do you go when you wander?
Tell me what you see. When you look
At me, I feel you walking away.
Lamenting the darkness, the wind blows softly now.
“Walking Away” was published in Erasing the Doubt by Mary Kendall (c) 2015, Finishing Line Press.