These tanka were written during the quarantine of Covid-19. My thanks to editor/poet, Marilyn Hazelton, for persuading me to combine some tanka into a tanka sequence. A really good editor is priceless. It’s always an honor to have poems included in Redlights. Click on the link below if you care to hear me read it.
just before the katydids
begin to sing . . .
the lake finally calm
with no ripples
scatter straight from
the cottony pod ~
such freedom to go
a spoon slowly stirs
cream into coffee
those quiet moments
when we lose
all sense of now
arm in arm
we walk together –
forty years & more miles
than either of us
walking in fog
where nothing is seen
but somehow we trust
it’s still all there
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.
Depression is not very pretty. Nor is it very kind. It has many faces, and it comes and goes as it pleases. It can affect almost anyone. If you are someone who has struggled with depression, you know it never goes away completely but hides, waiting for the right moment to reappear. It isn’t something to be lightly dismissed in yourself or in others who suffer from it. Who hasn’t seen the devastating effect it can have on a vulnerable person? I’ve struggled with it, and I’ve certainly known many others who were also affected by it.
Watching someone you love battle depression is never easy. It isn’t easily “fixed,” even in this age of modern medicine. Therapy and medicines are there, and for some people they help so much, but for others, less so. Compassion, patience, unconditional love and presence are the lifelines we can offer…to someone else and to ourselves.
To listen to me read this poem, please click on the link below. It will take a minute to begin.
Taking on your pain was something I tried to do, like slipping on your jacket, pushing an arm in and then another, pulling it tight around myself, hoping that by feeling what you do, it would diminish your pain.
No matter how hard I tried, it wasn’t a fit. Your depression fell around me in loose folds, the sadness sagging around my heart. Besides, it would leave you cold, open to the fickle winds that blew your way.