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:

http://www.rattle.com/ekphrasis/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.

 

Two Tanka slip into Ribbons

I’ve had the good fortune of having two tanka published in RIBBONS, the journal of the Tanka Society of America: Ribbons–Spring/Summer–2015, Volume 11, Number 2.

IMG_8691

 

 

lost in the pages

of a book my mother loved–

a sly narrator

speaks volumes of truth

while skirting the end

 

Tanka Cafe, Ribbons–Spring/Summer, Volume 11, Number 2, 2015

 

what I thought was a bird

flew past

casting no shadow–

I wonder

if you are near

 

Ribbons–Spring/Summer, Volume 11, Number 2, 2015

 

It is always a thrill for any poet to open up a journal and find her/his  own poem nestled in among those of gifted writers. The truly excellent online journals of poetry in both tanka and haiku are really schools of learning for me. I go there to read, to fall in love with poems, and to learn from the very best writers. There is no better way to learn. Read, read, write. So, on the rare occasion, one of my poems makes it into those pages (paper or virtual), my heart is filled with joy.

IMG_8699

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June Haiku 1

weathered clapboards–

does the old barn ever dream

of being a tree?

Barn in Spring Creek, Tennessee ~ Photograph (c) 2015  by Michael Todd

Barn in Spring Creek, Tennessee ~ Photograph (c) 2015 by Michael Todd

Note:  My thanks to Michael Todd for allowing me to use his beautiful photograph of an old barn in Spring Creek, Tennessee. Pictures like this are always such an inspiration.

Small Poems of Grief

Grief, by iosatel, (c) 2014, The Obvious and Hidden blog: http://theobviousandhidden.com/2014/11/04/grief/

Grief, by Iosatel, The Obvious and Hidden blog, (c) 2014

1.

only the bereaved know
they needn’t speak in whispers,

grief is never
completely silenced

 

2.

rush of water
a broken branch drifts by
what will be left?

 

3.

Unending days of darkness
that never let you forget.

 

4.

Saturated, as if the clouds
had wrung themselves out
all at once, watching what
would then ensue

 

5.

sitting at the window
watching the rain
despondent days
of unexhausted sadness
trying to let go

 

6.

forgetting you
was never an option

 

7.

grief exhausts
but holds on,
rain continues
to fall

 

8.

thirty-five years and still I mourn you,
sometimes waking and imagining you there

 

 

9.

darkness deepens
into the black of night

lightning signals
thunder cracks,

but it is the loss of you
who took your life
that makes me ask
why it had to be

 ~~~

My Note of Thanks to the photographer, Iosatel, for his beautiful picture, Grief, which was first posted on his blog, The Obvious and the Hidden on 4/11/14. This photograph is copyrighted (c) 2014 by the artist himself.