Fear of dark water

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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.

Walking Away

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:

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Walking Away

 

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.

 

 

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“Walking Away” was published in Erasing the Doubt by Mary Kendall (c) 2015, Finishing Line Press.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Morning

The Ekphrastic Review: writing and art on art and writing, has published my poem, “Sunday Morning.”

Let me give you a brief “back story” on this poem. Many years ago, I stopped writing completely for around twenty-five years. Total silence in my life. I don’t know why it happened, but it did. After what can only be be termed a spiritual experience on a trip to the Fijordland in New Zealand, poetry somehow magically entered my life again. I can’t explain this. It just happened, and I know it happened for a reason. This poem was the first complete poem I wrote when my poetic “voice” returned, and it’s only been read by one other person until today. It’s taken me about fifteen years to gather courage to submit it anywhere. My deepest thanks to editor, Lorette C. Luzajic, for publishing this piece.

Here is the link to the journal: http://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic/april-21st-2016

 

Rijksmuseum out the window

Rijksmuseum, Out the Window (c) 2013 Mary Kendall

 

Sunday Morning

 

Hymns unsung, prayers unsaid,
I sat by the window and prayed
for forgiveness one more time;
one more time I begged.

 

Holding the cup of coffee in my hand,
I hoped the warmth would fill me
where your words had left me cold,
but I knew nothing could do that—
fire can burn for hours and be unfelt.

 

Hymns unsung, prayers unsaid,
I lay down on the empty bed, pulling
the blanket across my cheek, turning
from the window, from the sky
and the sun, praying for some rest.

 

 

 

Note: The window in the photo is not, of course, the window of the poem. I love taking pictures of windows when I travel, especially indside looking out. This photo was taken in June 2013 when my husband and I were in Amsterdam, visiting the beautiful Rijksmuseum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gusts ~ Tanka #2

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Missa Solemnia Mss

Brushing Your Hair

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Brushing Your Hair

In the last month you ask me a favor.
Will I brush your hair when you have passed?
You seem to want to greet whatever comes
looking your best. I give my promise.

Each day when I come home, I offer
to brush your hair, but you say no,
maintaining the independence
you have always shown.

Later, in hospice, I no longer ask.
I hold your hands, rubbing lotion in,
skin so fragile, like a butterfly wing.
It is time now to make the last ablutions.

I clean your face and brush your hair,
your sleeping eyes flicker
under paper-thin lids, pale blue veins
tracing their course across them.

I imagine your mother tenderly holding you,
stroking your cheek, watching you dream
in her arms—her newborn daughter
with milky breath.

Ninety-one years separate us, your two watchers.
One joyously bringing you into the world;
the other sitting silently in the dim-lit room,
keeping watch over you through the night.          

 

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The poem, “Brushing Your Hair” is from my chapbook, Erasing the Doubt (c) 2015, Finishing Line Press.

 

 

 

Fly me to the moon…haiku for the season

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Full Moon of the Winter Solstice (c) 2010 Martin Liebermann

 

As I post this, it is the morning of the winter solstice of 2015. Where I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the winter solstice officially happens tonight at 11:49 pm, EST. Wherever YOU are, it will happen at a different hour or perhaps the same. Readers of this blog come from all over the world–one of the joys in blogging is seeing the list of countries of readers–and I love imagining the moon going through its magical phases for each of you. Tonight, the solstice. Later this week, a full moon. What more could we want?

 

 

 

These are some of my earliest haiku:

 

WINTER MOON HAIKU

First published on Poets Online (c) Mary Kendall

Later used as lyrics in “Winter Moon” by Paul Carey, a piece for women’s chorus in (c) 2011.

 

night snow
boughs dreaming
of first blossoms

 

Fog filled woods~
even the winter moon
has lost its way

 

a winter walk
footprints
tell no tales

 

the blue moon
silently closes the door
upon the year

 

 

The Starry Night

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, 1889, Museum of Modern Art, NYC

                       The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, 1889, Museum of Modern Art, NYC

The Starry Night

It is silent tonight.

In the ever flowing
river of the night,
a boat of darkness

sails by
as wave upon wave
of stars flow,

then crest,
then
fall,

and silently subside,
consumed by another wave
until nothing is left,

just flickering light
of celestial glowworms
that hang

in the cave of night—
languid star strands
from the heavens.

The moon
could tell stories
if it chose.

It is silent tonight.

Van Gogh Moon