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.

 

When the Light Departs (a responsive tanka sequence)

snow-drops-public-domain-picture

 

Earlier this year, Australian poet and friend, David Terelinck, invited me to create a responsive tanka sequence with him. David is a poet I greatly admire, so it was a real honor to write with him. It was the first time I’d attempted anything like this, but under David’s very gentle and skilled tutelage, our sequence grew and grew. In creating this piece with David, I learned as much about trust as I did about the nuances of writing tanka.

When we finished our sequence, David asked, “Now where shall we send this sequence for publication?” I was dead silent, being a bit in shock that he felt this piece should be published. At his suggestion, we submitted it to Skylark, a Tanka Journal edited by Claire Everett.  Claire is one of the world’s finest tanka poets and editors. She herself has written responsively with David, and he has provided the forward for her last book. Two of my favorite poets alive discussing publication and minor edits. What a wonderful thing to happen.

This month, Skylark, a Tanka Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, Winter 2016 was published.Here is our tanka sequence, When the Light Departs. My thanks to you, David Terelinck, for being my teacher, mentor and friend.

~

[Note: David’s verses are in regular font and mine are in italics.]

Responsive tanka sequence between David Terelinck (AUS) & Mary Kendall (USA)

When the Light Departs

 

this alloy
of clouds & winter light –
it’s not what you said
but how you looked
as you said it . . .

 

still unable
to explain why the world
seems darker now . . .
all the frozen buds
on the camellia bush

 

days and days
of endless rain that swells
the window sills –
only two weeks left
in her first trimester

 

a sudden
knowing of what
may never be . . .
the silence of snowdrops
pooling on the lawn 

 

not the way
she expected to wear
all white . . .
the greying of her thoughts
following sedation

 

winter storm,
a young dove lost
in a sea of mist
. . . my empty arms
grow heavy

 

she spends the morning
filling freshly turned beds
with crocus bulbs –
what else can a woman
of a certain age do?

 

when the light
departs, I put down
my paintbrush . . .
this world of colour
between earth and sky 

 

 

© 2016 David Terelinck & Mary Kendall

Published in Skylark, a Tanka Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, Winter 2016

flower_spring_snowdrop

Note: both photographs are from the public domain

A different kind of love poem … (a tanka)

It has always surprised me that the few love poems I’ve posted on my blog have the most “hits.”  Word Press very kindly shows statistics of which postings are most frequently read and invariably the love poems are always at the top. This makes me smile since mine are not traditional love poems but simply poems for my dear husband who has been the most important person in my adult life.

 

In Skylark, a Tanka Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, Winter 2016, Edited by Claire Everett:

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-12-44-11-pm

 

My thanks to Claire Everett for including this tanka in Skylark. It is always a great honor to be part of this brilliant journal.