A New Page! All My Recent Publications on One Page

 

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I’ve added a new page to this blog: POEMS RECENTLY PUBLISHED

It is part of the main menu of my blog. I will update it as I publish poems. Here is a link as well:

http://wp.me/P4PYsb-A7

but the simplest thing is to go right to the top of the blog and click on the new page!

I hope this will let readers find what they are looking for. A number of people have privately asked me what and where I’ve been publishing work. This new page answers the question. One note: if a main entry to a piece isn’t in the main part of my blog, I will always add the poem on this separate page.

Questions? Just ask!

 

Salted Feathers

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To listen to an audio of me reading this poem, just click on the link below. Give it a few seconds, and it will start.

salt shaker

Salted Feathers

I was four when you told me the story
that if someone wanted to capture a bird
they must sprinkle its tail with salt.

We went outside, salt shaker in hand,
not sure what we really planned to do.
In the end, it was a tiny sparrow foraging

for fallen seeds or tiny insects on the other
side of the chain link fence at the back
of the yard. You told me to go ahead and

sprinkle it. My hand would not fit through
the opening link square with the shaker.
Blindly I tossed a spray of salt that landed

more on you and me than any place else.
The little bird was spared, and he continued
rummaging around in the grasses, indifferent

to the plans made by two small girls who
had no real idea what it was to take away
the gift of flight. No salted feathers for him.

All I remember now is that I felt something
happen inside when the little bird looked
at me and, in the way of all birds, off it flew.

1-chain link 1 (1)

Is Mythology More to Your Liking?

Now that it is early autumn, we tend to stay inside more and even read more (at least that’s my experience). Someone recently asked me if I would do the audio recording for some of my mythology poems on this blog. I had done one already, so it does seem natural to now do the others. I hope you like them. My style of reading isn’t dramatic, and I do try hard to avoid “poet voice,” something I dislike very much. Hopefully my readings are pretty natural, maybe too natural for those who do like more drama. I guess it’s all a matter of taste.

By clicking on each link, you will be directed to the original posting for the poem but with the audio now included. I hope you like them.

Grief

                     Grief

The First Lamentation of Demeter:

https://apoetintime.com/2014/11/01/the-first-lamentation-of-demeter-poetry-and-myth/

The-Abduction-Of-Persephone-By-Hades

The-Abduction-Of-Persephone-By-Hades

Second Lamentation of Demeter:

https://apoetintime.com/2014/11/04/the-second-lamentation-of-demeter-poetry-and-myth/

feather-lake-russia_71645_990x742

Icarus I

https://apoetintime.com/2014/10/10/icarus-i-poem-by-mary-kendall-mythic-poetry-series/

dark-lake

Icarus II

https://apoetintime.com/2014/10/12/icarus-ii/

And, while we are at it, here is one other poem on this blog linked with mythology:

Orpheus and Eurydice by Rodin, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Orpheus and Eurydice by Rodin, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Broken Promise: Orpheus and Eurydice

https://apoetintime.com/2014/11/26/the-broken-promise-orpheus-and-eurydice-poem-by-mary-kendall-mythic-poetry-series/

Summer’s End

Photo by Gary Brichford, (c) 2015

                                                Photo by Gary Brichford, (c) 2015

Today’s poem is a slight detour down the road that leads to summer’s end. I’ve chosen to present an acrostic poem, a form I always enjoyed using when writing with children during my years of teaching. Acrostic poems are delightful and often funny, but as shown here, they can be serious and even tender.

You can hear me read the poem if you click on the link below and patiently wait a few seconds for the recording to begin.

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Summer’s End

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Sunflowers bloom tirelessly all summer long

Unwavering in their deep devotion to the sun

Multiplying day by day, the fields grow yellow

Making everyone stop to look

Elegant with their tall, swaying stalks

Regretting nothing, they give themselves to this season

Surrendering ripe seeds to the redbirds and finches that gather round

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Photo by Betty Risotto, (c) 2015

Photo by Betty Rizotti, (c) 2015

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Even summer must come to a close

No one is ever spared the final moment

Depleted of seed, sunflowers begin to bow their heads in sleep

Photo by Jan Monson, (c) 2015

     Photo by Jan Monson, (c) 2015

Photo by Gary Birchford

Photo by Gary Birchford, (c) 2015

Photo by Gary Brichford, (c) 2015

Photo by Gary Brichford, (c) 2015

Photo by Gary Brichford, (c) 2015

Photo by Gary Brichford, (c) 2015

Several photographers are responsible for the beautiful sunflower photographs in this blog. The two with the goldfinches are shared by Betty Rizzoti (middle right photo) and Jan Monson (middle left photo). Many thanks to each of them for these great captures. All the rest of the photographs are by Gary Birchford whose photographs, when posted on FaceBook last month, inspired this poem as a goodbye to summer. Thank you Gary for your ever generous heart in allowing me to use these pictures.
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Photo by Gary Brichford, (c) 2015

Photo by Gary Brichford, (c) 2015

One final note: Gary Brichford took this set of sunflower pictures from an interesting source. They were on the side of a major highway in central North Carolina as part of a government project. Please see the picture below for details. Isn’t it great to know that our Department of Transportation is involved in Pollinator Habitats. What better place could they find. Imagine how many people drive past and smile at the ever beautiful sunflowers.

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Photo by Gary Brichford, (c) 2015

                             Photo by Gary Brichford, (c) 2015

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On the fence

Fence ~ Photograph by Randy Baker (c) 2015

Fence ~ Photograph by Randy Baker (c) 2015

Randy Baker is a friend who loves the southern countryside and captures it beautifully in his photographs. Like many, he considers his pictures to be “just photos” and not art. He is modest about his talents for capturing beauty in a split-second shot. To me, this is art at its best.

I’ve held on to this picture all summer. It’s such a simple picture, and yet it is a perfect picture. Its subject is straight-forward–it’s a photo of a fence in the countryside. Yes, there are lots of fences. But look closely at this picture. The most noticeable feature is the upright stake, but it’s not just a pre-milled wooden stake. It’s a section of a tree still covered in bark. It also has a section that once was part of a limb and now appears to be almost a mouth sharing its thoughts with us on this cloudy summer day. The texture, the color of the bark, and then the color and texture around it in the grass and the wild flowers to the right and the cut and fallen grasses in front–all of these make it a photo you want to study for a long. I have certainly done just that.

This picture also made me want to re-read Robert Frost’s wonderful poem, The Mending Wall. I spent a whole morning reading and rereading that magificent poem and then reading some critical interpretations of it. I left refreshed and in still very much in awe of Frost’s brilliance. No wonder everyone remembers that poem or at least the famous lines it has given us. So this picture also gave me this–a little detour into rereading one of the great American poems that I hadn’t picked up in decades.

But Randy’s picture is not of a wall in need of repair or mending. It is a wall made of air, wire and wood. An entirely different type of barrier from a stone wall. The purpose is the same–it demarcates land ownership, and it keeps something out–or in. That is what got this poetic mind going.

What does a fence really do?

Here are my responses to the question of what a fence is or might be. I’ve looked at this picture so many times, and this single picture has inspired quite a few poems. These are very brief poems–sketches in verse, plus there is one poem about fences as a metaphor for our own need to be guarded at times.

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the only real fence is in my head

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on the fence—
am I in
or am I out?

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Clichés abound
when it comes
to fences.

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And here is a poem for all of us who guard our hearts so closely:

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My Fence

 

What do they —or you—
know about my fence,
and how carefully
I chose to build it?

Can you guess
how long
it took to build it?

A lifetime of habit,
carefully constructed
and often hidden habits,

a life spent half in fear
of being judged
unkindly, unfairly,

with malice
in another heart.

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Note
: I would like to thank Randy Baker for allowing me to use this beautiful photograph that he took in the beautiful mountains of Virginia. It is a picture I would like to have framed and hanging near my writing desk. Randy, your pictures are always inspiring and bring a clarity to both the mind and heart. Thank you so much.

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One Year of Blogging…Some Thoughts

Clock Room in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France

Clock Room in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France

This week marks the one year anniversary of this blog, A Poet in Time. I began it at the end of July 2014 after much thought. My goal at the time was very simple. I wanted a way to discipline my writer’s mind into producing a passable poem each week. They could be brand new, reworked lines shaped into a new incarnation, or experiments in new forms for me. Yes, I hoped someone would read them, otherwise, why use a blog? I’ve never had expectations that many people would read my writing. I’ve been too reluctant to submit many of my poems for submission. I’m too thin-skinned to deal with the rejections that come with the publishing game, so I’ve just gone about with writing on my own terms and in my own way. A blog seemed like fun. I like writing in general. A blog could showcase a poem, but it could also help me move in the direction of a community of poets who, like me, liked reading poetry.

Now that I’ve made it through a year of blogging, I guess I need to decide if it was worth it. Did it meet my goals? Did I discipline myself enough to post a poem a week? Did I meet other writers? Find other interesting blogs?

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I discovered right away that the world of blogging is immense. On Word Press alone, there are hundreds of thousands of blogs. Poets all over the place! I’ve spent a lot of time reading many of the blogs. Some held little interest for me. A few really intrigued me and I readily subscribed to those. I learned the proper blog etiquette:  it’s always polite to acknowledge when someone comments on a posting. If someone follows you, you should at least go and visit their blog, read through a good number of their postings and perhaps leave a comment or two. Following another blogger is harmless enough. It doesn’t obligate you to anything. I quickly learned that some people “follow” you simple to get you to follow them back. I guess I was too old not to realize that the world of young bloggers is a competitive one where numbers count. I read a few postings on why this was important, and then I went back to my quiet ways of reading blogs I felt had excellent writing and ideas.

Early Morning at Bagnegrole (Photo by Yolanda Litton)

Early Morning at Bagnegrole, France  (Photo by Yolanda Litton)

I also discovered the world of art here in WordPress. The number of artists and photographers is also very large. Excellence is there, and I fell in love with a number of photography sites. I found early on that a beautiful photograph was not just great art in itself, but some seemed to inspire poems. It happened quite spontaneously and it began with a professional photographer on WP who always kindly gives me permission to use his breathtaking black and white photographs to a wildlife photographer on FaceBook who is equally generous at letting me use his work. Then, it moved to people I know. I’d see friends’ photographs on FaceBook and very quickly I could see who posted pictures I found irresistible. That was an unexpected bonus. Some were people I knew well. Others were people I worked with but never got to know. It made me realize how complex people are. Everyone has gifts that are there, but often they aren’t visible. I began to really enjoy FaceBook simply because it now gave me much more insight into people I’m acquainted with.

Old home in Eland, North Carolina, photograph by Gary Brichford (c) 2015

Old home in Efland, North Carolina,  Photograph by Gary Brichford (c) 2015

I also discovered that FaceBook has its own private poetry world. There are hundreds of poetry related sites, most of which never interested me. I’d subscribe for a while and then get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work that just didn’t do much for me. Everyone is different of course. My work isn’t flavor of the month for many people. (Even that metaphor would turn off many poets who only live on the ‘edge.’) But gradually I found there were private FaceBook writing sites that were full of excellent poets all of whom have the same purpose of learning to write better. Prompts are frequently presented and people respond in posts. You can ask for advice or guidance and you get it. I fell in love with three such sites all focused on small poems and English versions of Japanese forms of poetry such as haiku and tanka. I then found a number of the poets had their own blogs, which I follow whenever I can. I did learn that most poets who have made their names in the published poetry world use blogging more as a vehicle for presenting what has already been published. No one seems to use it as I do, but that’s ok.

Now, as the one year anniversary is here, I’ve been trying to rethink my goals and how I’d like to continue on from here–or whether or not I even wanted to blog. I looked at all my postings. I certainly did meet my quota of a poem a week. Sometimes more than a week would pass and then I’d post several poems. That was fine in my book.

I took a lot of the narrative around a poem out as I went on. I felt I didn’t need to tell my readers what a specific form was unless it really was something my closer friends (who aren’t writers) might like to know. The poems generally speak for themselves, as they should do.

I’ve toyed with putting some separate pages on the blog, separating poems by genre where it applies. Right now I lack the technical know how about the best way to do this.  Obviously, I have some homework to do.

I’ve also toyed with the idea of a separate page on which to post poems by other people that I’m reading and whose work I absolutely love. I’m not sure about this–it might wander too far away from my simple blog.

As for followers, I have gotten exactly 7,600 views as of today. I know those aren’t all ME, so I guess people are reading. I don’t have a huge following, but I never expected to have that. I quickly learned that the majority of visitors never leave comments or even hit a ‘like’ button. Perhaps they visited and didn’t find anything they liked. Perhaps they just never bother with ‘likes.’ No matter. I’m just glad people do wander around and read things here and there. Perhaps my only regret is that new visitors tend to only read the latest postings. They rarely wander back a year. I loved my first poem I posted about a trip to Edinburgh and the Scottlish Highlands I’d just returned from. But those early poems only have three or four likes at most.

Occasionally someone will repost a poem and then I’ll get a slew of visitors on a period of a few days. That’s always a surprise that makes me smile. A few become followers.

Of the people who leave comments, it tends for the most part to be the same people, but those are all people i love. I love their blogs. I love their thinking. I appreciate the time they take to make a comment. Who doesn’t love knowing your words speak to someone on some level? I do love it…a lot!

I will, for now, continue as I began. The need for a poem a week is no longer needed. I write a lot now. I choose only to post what I feel is my best.

Chapbook 2

In the past year, I published a chapbook with Finishing Line Press. It is called ERASING THE DOUBT, and the whole experience has been very satisfying and exciting for me. Working with professional editors, seeing the typed poems be turned into a very pretty book–and then there is the cover, the beautiful picture by Christine Ellger, a photographer from Dresden who let me use her picture just like that! Amazing how kind people can be. It was such joy to send her a copy of the completed and published book.

Time-Can-Wait

So, where do I go from here? i’ve come up with a few goals to carry me through the next year.

  1.  Post poems I feel are my best work that I want to share with others.
  2. Perhaps separate poems by genre (if I can figure out the way to do this).

  3. Get a few more followers who genuinely like poetry.

  4. Be a good fellow blogger and visit other blogs consistently and leave them some feedback.

  5. Hope that my friends and family will venture over to my blog now and then.

  6. Sharing posts–add some postings that aren’t poems. These will be my ideas about writing or something I’m reading, etc.

  7. Continue to use photography and art in my blog. I would be thrilled to have someone submit a picture to me to use as an inspiration. Will that day ever come?

  8. Continue to be inspired by just about everything in life.

If you’ve read this far, you are probably either a close friend, my husband or me. Thanks for taking time to read this posting today. I hope you’ll come back again soon to browse around.

Mary

Dove photo by Merlune

Dove photo by Merlune