the chiming clock begins to wind down . . . five months of quarantine yet still the roses bloom and red birds sing
This tanka was published in October, but obviously was written in early summer. We are now nine months into this pandemic. Writing is a wonderful relief as we isolate ourselves. Like so many poets, I find my writing has been changed by the pandemic.
cattails: The Official Journal of the United Haiku and Tanka Society, October 2020 issue
Three tanka published in the winter edition of Gusts, Contemporary Tanka, the journal of Tanka Canada. It’s always a huge thrill to be included in this special journal of tanka. I’ll offer them one at a time.
Gusts no. 32, Fall/Winter 2020
lapis lazuli, delft blue and French ultramarine . . . the blueness of blue in these tired veins just won’t let go
One of two tanka appearing Eucalypt: A Tanka Journal, Issue 28, 2020
in the attic I find your small Wellies with little frog faces— oh, those happy puddles when you were only three
Note: We lived near Hampstead Heath in NW London for a full academic year, 1989-90, with our (then) three year old son, Adam. Oh, how he loved rain puddles and stomping in them in his little green Wellies. Getting exercise each day was never a problem with a child who loved the outdoors no matter what the weather. This poem is for him.
What a very nice surprise! I am one of the top contributors to Prune Juice, a journal every haiku and senryu/kyoka poet knows and loves. What a thrill to be included with such excellent senryu poets.
. Many thanks to the great editors: Brent Goodman (current editor); past editors are: Steve Hodge (2016 – 2018); Terri L. French (2013 – 2015); Liam Wilkinson (2010 – 2012); Alexis Rotella ( 2009)
Here’s a link to the whole anthology: pj-book-of-senryu
. The PRUNE JUICE BOOK of SENRYU celebrates 10 years of the finest English Senryu from around the world by 85 of our TOP Contributors, featuring 337 poems plucked from the journal’s first 29 issues by past and current Prune Juice editors.
Here are mine that they published:
. Mary Kendall – USA 12 issues
This tanka was published in Hedgerow, a journal of small poems ~ #130, Winter 2020
we turn away
from all we just can’t face—
the glistening red
of a vulture’s head
emerges from a carcass
Out of decay comes art and beauty. Look what artist Georgia O’Keefe created from a skull found where she lived in New Mexico. All is part of nature and is nature.
Deer’s Skull with Pedernal by Georgia O’Keefe (c) 1936
Where I live in central North Carolina, we have plenty of black vultures and turkey vultures. They circle and gather in the sky when there is carrion to be had. I chose this topic for the tanka because it’s a scene I’ve seen more than once. Yes, it’s not a pretty sight. Vultures, especially when eating a dead animal or gathering in a group in a tree or abandoned house do give you shivers. Something in us seems to respond with at least a momentary revulsion. However, I’m a bird lover and I try to see how a specific species fits into the scheme of things. Vultures and crows do eat carrion, the flesh of dead animals, often of roadkill along our roads and streets. They perform a good service by eating their meal and cleaning the mess up. Imagine all those dead animals left to rot. So these birds help us as they go about their business (albeit unpleasant business to us). They are birds we should appreciate for their useful role in nature. They also offer us a wonderful metaphor.
My thanks to editor, Caroline Skanne for being the one editor who chose to publish this poem.