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

Moments of Gold

(Photograph © 2014 by Harald Illsinger)

(Moments of Gold  © 2014 by Harald Illsinger)


five times twice

he hovers

over the pale swans

in a shimmering dance

golden feather 10

My thanks to photographer Harald Illsinger for the use of his beautiful picture, “Moments of Gold” (c) 2014

Dining with the Woodpeckers

pileated suet

While visiting my brother and his wife this summer in East Aurora, New York, we experienced a truly wonderful and unexpected visit from three pileated woodpeckers at the suet feeder Jim had filled. His wife, Paulett, said the woodpeckers were frequent visitors to their lovely back garden. This was a first for me. Although I’ve been an on again, off again birdwatcher for most of my adult life, I’ve only seen one pileated woodpecker in person before. Seeing three at the same time was simply brilliant. Watching their acrobatics as they fed on the suet, flew back and forth to peck at a tree, and generally manoeuvered their rather large bodies in amazinglying agile ways was pure delight. After a feeding frenzy, they flew away and it felt amazingly still and empty where they had been. Much like a visit with beloved family and friends, the ‘after’ part comes all too soon and leaves a void in our hearts. This poem is dedicated to Jim and Paulett, two of the kindest and most caring people I know. Thank you for sharing your home, your family and your amazing woodpeckers with us.

pileated 5

Dining with the Woodpeckers

In the late August garden
The quiet afternoon now

Comes to a languorous close.
Out of nowhere, a flash of red,

Bright scarlet crests crowning
Zebra-patterned feathers.

Three Pileated woodpeckers
Begin to feast at the suet feeder,

Fluttering, flying tree to tree,
Tree to feeder, alternately

Pecking at thick maple bark,
Then shifting to soft silky suet.

The youngest, now the size of its parents,
Joins in to grab his share, and father

And mother dutifully give way.
For a few Cirque des Oiseaux moments

All three woodpeckers hang right side up
And upside down, their brilliant red heads

Flash like stop lights in the early evening sun.
We sit around the table eating an early supper

And sipping local wine. Conversation drifts
As we watch in these avian acrobatics.

Just as quickly as they arrived, so soon are
They are gone. More wine is poured,

Seconds of hot buttered corn and fresh
Heirloom garden tomatoes are passed

From one to the other. Like the birds,
We share this meal together, enjoying

The richness of what the day has given.
A light wind blows the leaves outside,

A beautiful evening for us to be together
Knowing that summer will end all too soon.

Picture by Beth Brandkamp

Picture by Beth Brandkamp

The First Coyote

The First Coyote

Shadowed by trees, it was alert,
Watching those on the porch.
Tall, thin, a knife sharp gaze,
This coyote knew its way around.

The startled man cradled the cat
And called the nervous dogs back
Inside the house, far away from
This lurker in the evening woods.

Was it waiting for a squirrel or
Rabbit? You couldn’t tell this far
Away, yet clearly it was patient
And after tonight’s dinner.

How else could it survive
If not for foraging here and
There, waiting for a quick
Capture, meat for a day or two.

This was the first coyote seen
In the neighborhood, and now
I open the window late at night
To listen to it sing to the moon.


Daybreak (1)

I have included an audio clip of me reading the poem, Daybreak. To hear it, simply click on the link below and wait a few seconds for it to begin.



Early Morning at Bagnegrole (Photograph by Yolanda Litton)

Early Morning at Bagnegrole (Photograph by Yolanda Litton)


The garden at daybreak.
Before the sun dares
to unveil the dawn.

Clouds and birds.
Dew glimmering
on grass.


Blurred trail of bats
filing into the attic
for rest.

Clouds bloom.
Birds now singing.
Morning shadows lead the way.




My thanks to friend and photographer, Yolanda Litton, for her beautiful photograph from the south of France. Seeing it inspired this poem after bringing back memories of my own travel to Provence.