Gusts ~ Tanka #1

Gusts Summer 2016

 

I’ve had the good fortune to have three of my tanka published in the latest issue of GUSTS,
NO. 23, Contemporary Tanka, Spring/Summer 2016 (Tanka Canada). This is the first time my work has appeared in this beautiful poetry journal, and I’m most grateful to the editor, Kozue Uzawa.

I’ve decided to post each tanka separately here on my blog.

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Without Light ~ A Tanka Sequence

My very first tanka sequence was published in RIBBONS: Journal of the American Tanka Society, Winter 2016: Volume 12, Number 1. My thanks to editor, David Rice, for suggesting to me that these three tanka would work best in a sequence.

 

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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/

My Attic is Full

AUDIO COMES TO MY BLOG!

It’s time to try something new on my blog now that I’ve reached the one year anniversary. I’m adding an audio version of this poem, “My Attic is Full.”

 

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This week’s poem was written in 2011 for a friend I worked/taught with, Jean Sotelo Coene. Somehow we got to talking about cleaning attics and about all the treasures hidden up there and how hard it was to part with things. Jean mentioned her grandmother’s handbag and all the stories it held and that was it…a tiny seed of a poem was planted. I don’t know how those things come to be while others never take hold. I wrote the poem and gave it to Jean as a little present. I love to gift poems to just one person. For that reason, no one has read the poem except for each of us.

Today I was going through some lovely photos from a trip to Cornwall in 2013. [See Bedford Square +2, my travel blog for the whole story of that visit if interested.] We had visited a small manor house, Lanhydrock. [http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lanhydrock/] Part of our wanderings allowed access to the attic. Of course it was beautifully staged as were all the rooms in the house, but seeing these pictures this morning was too hard to resist. I worked on the poem today, changing words here and there, adding in a whole stanza and then deleting it. In the end, I liked the first version best. Only a few words are different from the one I handed to Jean.

This poem is dedicated to the memories of all grandmothers who gave us so many wonderful stories to listen to, to dream about, and to share.

To hear the audio, simply click below. I am not much of a professional reader so please bear with me.

 

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My Attic is Full

The attic needs cleaning. It seems so simple,
but it isn’t easy to throw old things away.
There is always the worry we might forget
those we loved, the ones crossed over.

Old boxes hold memories and clothing.
Do you hear the stories held in the silence?
A flowery print dress of soft lawn cotton
holds the story of when it was freshly laundered
and worn in the days of the mid-summer sun.

An old leather purse might tell you where
she went and what she wore.
Inside, a handkerchief delicately edged
in tatted lace is tucked away.

How often she must have clutched it
in her hand to wipe away tears or sneezes,
stifle laughter or mop her brow.
Even now the linen is redolent of old
damask roses from the flower garden.

Beyond the piled boxes of her belongings
are clothes from her husband so long mourned.
She kept them up here all those years,
the only way to keep him near.

Don’t you wonder how often she came up
into this dark attic, pulled the light string,
unfolded a crisp white shirt
and held it to her nose, eyes tightly closed
longing for the scent
that had faded from his pillow?

Lovely tatted edging-22maids-of-honor22-by-mary-konior.jpg

Lovely tatted edging-22maids-of-honor22-by-mary-konior.jpg

Blood Moon (Tanka)

Blood Moon Tanka

A plea for ending hatred:

This week the news was filled with the grand and rare beauty of the appearance of a Blood Moon eclipse and the absolute horror and non-sensical murder of Christian students in Kenya by Islamic fanatics. When, oh, when will the world stop hating?

“Early Thursday five shooters from the Somali-based al-Shabaab terrorist organization swept through a university in the Kenyan town of Garissa, shooting Christian students. They knew who to kill because they ordered students to recite an Islamic prayer. Those who could were spared. Those who could not were shot dead, about 147 so far. Police killed four of the terrorists and captured the fifth.”    (from the Wall Street Journal)

Note: This beautiful photograph of the Blood Moon is not mine. I found it through a google search, but it’s exact origin is unknown. I thank the photographer whoever he or she is for creating such a beautiful capture of this event.

Wild Water ~ Three Tanka

wild water

 

Wild Water: Three Tanka

 

1.

throughout the long day

the wild water crashes

again and again—

memories of you silently

slip under water

 

 

2.

as evening comes

the tide begins to swell

in the empty sound,

one lone boat

longing to set sail

 

 

3.

foghorn rasping

deep and low—

a bleak song

of ships surrendering

to savage waves

 

 

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.