Arrowheads rise…

It is always an honor to have a tanka published in , the Journal of the Tanka Society of America. My thanks to editor David Rice for selecting this poem.

 

arrowheads
rise to the surface
in a newly plowed field …
old memories
can be unexpected, too

 

 

Published:

Ribbons (Journal of the Tanka Society of America), Spring/Summer 2016, Volume 12, Number 2 (page 37)

 

 

1-arrowhead 1

 

Brushing Your Hair

1-IMG_1141

 

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.          

 

1-IMG_1133

 

 

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

 

 

 

Mary, Mary…poem by Mary Kendall (SAME NAME Poetry and Prose Series)

A new poem just up at Silver Birch Press. Click at the bottom to get to the original on the SBP site.

Silver Birch Press

kate maberlyMary, Mary…
by Mary Kendall

Unwanted.
Unloved.
Shunned.
Spoiled.
Rude.
Aggressive.
Obstinate.
Outspoken.
Contrary.
Sour.
Gloomy.
Dismissive.
Shut away.
Alone.
Alone.
Alone.

Your attributes, little Mary.
A long list.
No one liked you.
Except for me.

Not true. There were others.
Your sweet Indian Ayah, who fed you,
washed you, dressed you, taught you,
tolerated your contrary ways, angry words,
miserable frown. She held you close,
rocked you after nightmares and dark dreams,
fanned you in the hot Indian summers.
She sang to you—mellifluous, soothing songs.

Your mother denied your existence, hid you away from view,
just as later, you’d find your cousin Colin, hidden away, too.

Denial.
What damage it did.
What pain it caused.
Like a plant held too long in a small pot,
its roots pot-bound and crippled,
Colin, unwanted and denied like you.

Unwanted.
Unloved.
Denied.

My family separated when I was just five,
I felt…

View original post 514 more words

Charlotte’s Story: Haiku for Wilbur by Mary Kendall (ME, IN FICTION Poetry and Prose Series)

Silver Birch Press

Charlottes-Web-Terrific-Garth-Williams1Charlotte’s Story: Haiku for Wilbur
by Mary Kendall

“My Words”

my words—
who knew what a story
we’d become?

“First Friend”

a friend—
something my kind
never knew

“The Unexpected”

new friend—
silken parachutes in spring wind
bestow surprises

“Silken Words”

silken words…
hearts woven together
in their own story

“Some Pig”

little did they know
how special you were—
some pig!

“Terrific”

a real friend
who accepted me as I am…
terrific!

“Radiant”

just knowing
you have a good friend…
this radiant heart

“I Told You”

out of nowhere
grows the best thing…
kindness of spirit

“Humble”

humble—
your kindness of heart
my friend

“The Fair”

harvest moon—
who knew how high
we’d fly?

“Templeton”

even a rat
can help a friend..
who knew?

“My Time”

time for rest
my voice a whisper
…alone now

“Good-bye”

no need to worry—
our memories will live on
in your heart

“Death”

View original post 261 more words

Kamakura Beach 1333: Artist’s choice in Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 8.35.28 AM

I am both speechless and honored by the selection of my poem, “Kamakura Beach, 1333” as the artist’s choice of the October ekphrastic challenge by Rattle, one of the finest contemporary poetry journals. The artist/photographer is Ana Prundaru. My thanks go to Ana for selecting my poem for this challenge. I am deeply touched by her very thoughtful and generous comments.

 

Artist's Comments.jpg

To read the poem or listen to the audio on Rattle, here is the link:

http://www.rattle.com/poetry/kamakura-beach-1333-by-mary-kendall/

Note: there is an audio of me reading the poem on the Rattle page but I’ll include it here as well:

~

Kamakura Beach, 1333                                          

 

The sea washed scarlet that night.

The tide rushed in—swelling and breaking—washing
all traces out to sea on the waves of Kamakura Beach.

You know nothing of this, you who long for adventure
and pleasure—youth who search desperately for meaning
in lives that are too rich, too busy, and still so poor.

Your small boats arrive in early evening, the carmine sunset
at your back, and you quickly gather driftwood, tinder, and
fallen black pine branches to burn. You light the fire.

A trail of smoke begins funneling up to the starry sky.
The fire burns hot and one by one, you feed it twigs, boughs,
pine cones bursting into streams of sparks and wild flames.

And in your wanton rambling, one girl grows silent—she alone
hears the hallowed chanting, the cries of battle, the shrieks
of arrows piercing skulls, the stench of life exiting too abruptly.

She wanders over shallow rocks, her hand touching stone,
knowing the pain hidden in the silence of eight hundred years.
The rest of you are unaware…you laugh too loudly, move

too fast, not noticing the shifting colors of the setting sun.
Listen and you will hear the shogun cries of warriors and farmers
that once shook the sacred sands of Kamakura Beach.

Can you smell the fierce fires, the burning buildings,
the blazing rafters crashing and lighting the darkening sky?
Can you hear the screams of those buried here long ago?

Time slipped by like swifts at dusk darting in the fading sky.
The fire raged on and on, and lives were ravished in a
single breath. It was our fate to die on Kamakura Beach.

With Samurai mind and clean, sharp blows, the sacred sword
was swift. One by one, we died…each of us choosing honor,
this bleak beach now strewn with bones, bodies and blood.

You who come to visit—feel the cool churning lapis blue water,
and see the late sun boldly brush red on sand, water and waves.
Remember us—we who lie buried on Kamakura Beach.

Let your fires roar, let them spark in comets to the stars.
Under the dark night skies long written in indigo and ink,
we will walk together here on Kamakura Beach.

Morning tide will come—swelling and breaking—washing
your presence out to sea— remembering our final night,
a night of fire and blood, bone and bodies on Kamakura Beach.

The sea washed scarlet that night.

 

~

Here is the broadside link:

Click to access EAOct2015.pdf

Rattle also posted a download of a broadside that includes poem and picture side by side. It is so beautifully done with the shadows of the boat creating a subtle image under the poem. Very appropriate to this particular poem, I think.

 

My Mother’s Voice…a poem of loss

Today, my favorite haiga was published in a favorite journal, Gnarled Oak. It is a lovely home for this haiga. Here it is along with the link to Gnarled Oak (check out all the great poetry in this journal). The editor, James Brush, releases one poem a day, a custom I love. It’s always a joy to see what each day holds. My thanks goes to James for accepting this piece.

http://gnarledoak.org/issue-5/my-mothers-voice/

 

My Mother's Voice haiga

 

.

beautiful border for blog

 

This haiga was originally posted on this blog on June 14, 2015.