Faded numbers… (haiku)

 

faded numbers
tattooed on your arm
I slip back in silence
.

~Mary Kendall~


Published in Presence 58 July 2017
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Back story on this tanka. In 1972 I visited friends in Israel. As a tourist, I was eager to see the historical sites, one of which was Masada, site of a group suicide where a Jewish community was surrounded by Roman soldiers. The Jews chose suicide rather than be taken as captives. As I stood high up on the hilly site with other visitors, it was very, very quiet. It was after all a sacred place. An older man stood next to me, and I happened to glance at him also looking out at where the soldiers would have been waiting, hoping to starve out the isolated Jewish community. I noticed on his arm, faded numbers–numbers, of course, indicating he’d been captive in a Concentration Camp. The poignancy of him being there has stayed with me for over forty years. Never again, please Lord, shall we do such things to our fellow men.

Both pictures are from travel sites to and in Israel. Masada is located in the Judean desert, very close to the Dead Sea. Visiting these sites is like stepping back two thousand years. I am so grateful for having had this opportunity to visit.

In Memoriam: Maya Lyubenova

 

 

benediction tanka art

 

Last year I posted a request in a Face Book haiku/tanka writing group asking if anyone had a photo of Lily of the Valley that they were willing to share and allow me to use for a piece of tankart I was working on. A very quick response from the poet/photographer Maya Lyubenova gave me the perfect picture. I never really knew Maya. We’d never met, and we chatted only a few times on FaceBook in poetry groups and on Face Book Messenger. I was certainly a real fan of hers. Bulgarian by birth, Maya could compose gorgeous haiku in English. She could also pair her poems with her equally exquisite photographs to create haiga — visual poetry of the highest quality. I was touched by her generosity in allowing me to use the photo she had sent.

 

Only recently did I learn that Maya Lyubenova had passed away on December 30, 2016. Like so many, I mourn her loss as a person and as a poet and artist. I wish I had known her better, but I cannot change that. Her work still remains for us to look at, to study, to learn from and to be dazzled by … that will not end.

 

I’d like to dedicate my piece of tankart to Maya Lyubenova — our single connected piece of art. Thank you, Maya, for bringing so much beauty into this world. May you rest in peace.

 

 

Maya Lyubenova’s website:  

http://mayalyubenova.wixsite.com/maya-lyubenova

The link to her amazing haiga:  

http://mayalyubenova.wixsite.com/maya-lyubenova/haiga

 

 

Trying hard to hold on … (two tanka)

 

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Red Lights, Volume 13, No. 2, June 2017

 

 

peeling an orange

in one long strand –

trying hard to hold on

to all I remember

of those now gone

 

 

 

a wooden pew

empty and waiting . . .

colored light

from stained glass

cupped in my hands

 

My thanks to editor and poet, Marilyn Hazelton, who published these tanka in the most excellent Red Lights.

Unforgettable…

 

I’ve had two haiku and one haiga included in the newest edition of Wild Plum, a haiku journal, 3:1 Spring & Summer 2017.

 

unforgettable—
the taste of zinfandel
on your lips

 

 

forgiveness
the new year’s moon
lights the way

 

 

mourning-haiga

 

March brings lots of wonderful poetry journals. Another favorite of mine is
Wild Plum, a haiku journal, 3:1 Spring & Summer 2017. The journal is edited by Gabriel Sawicki. This journal is based in Poland, and it has a very international group of readers and contributors. The haiga editor is Maria Tomczak. I hope you will go to their journal directly and read it in full. It’s a very beautiful journal (lovely cover art by Azi Kuder. I’ve added a link at the bottom of this posting.

 

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Here’s a link to the complete version of this  lovely haiku journal:

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Wild voices . . . an anthology by women poets and artists

 

It is very exciting to be part of a collection of poems and art by so many women I admire. Thanks to editor (and poet), Caroline Skanne, I have a haiku and three tanka included. The title and theme of “wild voices” was given to us to interpret in any way we chose. I urge those of you who love poetry to purchase a copy of this anthology for yourself and/or for a gift.

wild-voices-cover

 

Wild Voices, An Anthology of Short Poetry & Art by Women
edited by Caroline Skanne, February 2017

 

 

 

 

***book available:https://wildflowerpoetrypress.wordpress.com/current-titles/
This title is also available on amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

 

 Here are my poems that appear in this lovely anthology:

 

 

the softness
of a raspberry
on my tongue…
I remember our long
first kiss

 

 

wild honeysuckle
heady and sweet—
your hold
on me
just as strong

 

 

a softness of spring
flecked with apple blossoms ~
the morning you died
darkness swept in
lost and wild

 

 

 

foxglove—                                                                                
danger hidden
in such beauty

 

foxglove

Foxglove, also known as Digitalis purpurea

 

Orion stands watch… (tanka)

If you choose to hear this tanka read aloud, simply click on this link:

 

orion-stands-watch

I am so pleased to be published for the first time in Red Lights. Edited by Marilyn Hazelton, Red Lights is one of the quality tanka journals.

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.