Half-light (a tanka sequence)

Milkweed by James DeMers (pixabay.com)

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.

 

 

 

 

Half-light

 

August morning
just before the katydids
begin to sing . . .
the lake finally calm
with no ripples

 

milkweed seeds
scatter straight from
the cottony pod ~
such freedom to go
anywhere, everywhere

 

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
can count

 

half-light—
walking in fog
where nothing is seen
but somehow we trust
it’s still all there

 

 

Red Lights, Summer Issue 2020

 

 

Changing Notes (a Tanka Sequence)

 

My thanks to my friend, poet and editor, Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy for writing this tanka sequence, “Changing Notes,” with me. It was published in Kokako 29, a journal of the Poetry Society of New Zealand.

 

 Changing Notes

A Responsive Tanka Sequence

by

Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy (UK) and Mary Kendall (USA)

 

glass bangles
tinkling with laughter 
rice grains
strewn on the newlyweds
seeding a new dream

(SK)

 

such longing
month after month
turning to years
suddenly the emptiness
disappears

(MK)

 

the curve of his hand
cups the moon 
quickening
the one butterfly
aflutter in my belly

(SK)

 

watching
the fragile pulse
of his fontanelle
and those half smiles
in his milky dreams

(MK)

 

rocking horse
hither and thither 
the long curls
of sun-kissed memories
braided into birdsong 

(SK)

 

one day his son will chatter
in a different tongue
raven locks
eased into smoothness
. . . a new chosen land

(MK)

 

One frame at a time (tanka sequence)

 

 

 

aperture-art-blur-414781 pixabay

Photo: aperture art blur/Pixabay

 

My thanks to my friend and fellow poet, Iliyana Stoyanova
for writing this tanka sequence with me. 

 

 

Blithe Spirit, the Journal of the British Haiku Society, August 2018

 

 

ONE FRAME AT A TIME

A Tanka Sequence

by Mary Kendall (USA) and Iliyana Stoyanova (UK)

 

camera in hand
you tame the world
click by click …
living your life
one frame at a time

(MK)

the old album
asleep in dust
for all these years
the last two pages
stuck together

(IS)

so alike
everyone said
we could be twins
but then one day
a letter arrived

(MK)

through the open windows
spring wind…
by the ballerina box
my old ribbons tangled
like childhood memories 

(IS)

in my hands now
a forty-year-old picture
of an unknown aunt
a tiny birthmark
same as my own

(MK)

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-28 at 1.39.28 PM

Photo from Freeimages.com

 

Wild Strawberries (a responsive tanka sequence)

wild strawberries

 

Wild Strawberries

A Responsive tanka sequence

Mary Kendall (USA) & Hazel Hall (Australia)

 

around the turn
we come across a patch
of wild strawberries
. . . a sudden longing
for something left behind                                                       ​​MK

 

dividing
our harvest carefully   
the taste
of over-ripened fruit
lingers in the mouth                                                                     HH

 

searching everywhere
for that old blue sweater
one dropped stitch
and a secret hidden
in worn woolen strands​​​​​                                                            MK

 

unraveling
our future fears
. . . two sparrows
perched on the scarecrow
pull father’s scarf apart ​​​​​                                                          HH

 

somewhere in silence
lies an answer . . .
each spring the task
of double digging soil
before planting   ​​​​​​​                                                                     MK

 

wheel turning
I throw a new pot . . .
moulding hope
for the future,
a fragile process​​​​​​​                                                                      HH

 

 

Published in Ribbons, Winter 2018: Volume 14, Number 1

 

 

Between the Lines (a responsive tanka sequence)

This is the second responsive tanka sequence I’ve written and published with poet David Terelinck. A big thank you to editor Claire Everett for publishing this sequence in her beautiful journal, Skylark.

My thanks to David Terelinck for writing with me and guiding me all the way. You are the best mentor any poet could have.

 

Skylark Summer 2017, Volume 5, Issue 1

A responsive tanka sequence with Mary Kendall (USA) and David Terelinck (AUS) 

 

Between the Lines

the conversation
turned so quickly
that morning in Paris . . .
your disapproval palpable
as you walked away

 

despite phrasebooks,
maps and interpreters
how often
we still lose our way
to understanding . . .

 

you sketch
a stranger’s likeness
with such ease –
how I hoped you could learn
to read between the lines

 

days spent
rehearsing a response –
why do those
who direct my life
now want to write the script

 

your practised words
sound right, but feel so wrong . . .
sifting through
shattered pots and ashes
left in an empty kiln    

 

dementia steals
my name from her lips –
visiting hours,
relatives complete
the latest jigsaw

 

piecing together
from rumour and gossip
her final days –
I snake through minutiae
to make some sense

 

they contest
the unsigned will
. . . promises
we make to each other
but don’t intend to keep

 

© 2016 Mary Kendall & David Terelinck

Note: to my friends unfamiliar with responsive writing, David’s contributions are all in bold face type while mine are in ‘normal’ type.

 

Into the Wind (a tanka sequence)

castlerigg-stone-circle-2011-april-065

Castlerigg Stone Circle, near Keswick, Cumbria, UK

 

This tanka sequence was recently published in Ribbons (Journal of the Tanka Society of America), Fall/Winter 2016, Volume 12, Number 3:

 

 

Into the Wind

 

 

the sparrow hawk
swoops down in silence …
shiver of surprise
seeing death come
so quickly

 

 

from a distance
the boulders look small
. . . there were times
when you seemed
almost harmless

 

 

mountain colors
shift as rapidly
as the wild weather
deep shadows
of unexpected fear

 

 

on a barren plain
the stones are silent
… why did I surrender
when faced
with rage?

 

 

a lone pillar
stands so tall
. . . facing into the wind
I finally learn
about resistance

 

 

out of nowhere
two young kestrels
soar above . . .
my voice
can now be heard

 

 

 Mary Kendall,  (c) 2016

 

 

wallpapersxl-circel-castlerigg-stone-circle-270319-1920x1080

Castlerigg Stone Circle, near Keswick in Cumbria, UK