The sudden way . . .

Blithe Spirit is the Journal of the British Haiku Society. Two of my tanka and one haiku were published in Volume 27, Number 23 (2017). I am most grateful to be part of this issue.

 

old shoes –
the challenge
of moving on

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plum blossoms—
watching you
struggle for so long
I remember how brief
a season is

stopping to study
fritillaries, tulips
and jonquils –
the sudden way
you take my hand

 

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(c) 2017, Mary Kendall
Blithe Spirit, Volume 27, Number 23 (2017)

Mask Maker

Who are we really? We can present ourself to the world in many ways, and we do. It’s been quite a while since I posted a longer poem on my blog, so today I offer you a poem called “Mask Maker.” It was written to an ekphrastic prompt on Rattle a few months back, but it was not selected. The two winning poems were brilliant and should have been chosen.

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What’s great about writing to a good prompt is how an image can pull all sorts of ideas from us. The prompt was a picture of several sets of hands modeling in clay. I toyed with the idea for quite some time and discarded two other poems until I settled on the one that grew into this poem.

 

 

 

Mask Maker

 

Do you like this mask, the one I made

so carefully, molding it to the contours

of my face so it looks just like me?

 

I wear it day after day, occasionally

slipping it off and refashioning it a bit.

It changes as I change.

 

I was four when I made the first mask—

out of mud from the bare earth in the yard.

It blocked my fear, and hid my thoughts.

 

I was invisible to the world, hidden behind

this new cover. No one noticed when I wore it,

so I kept it on, and it protected me.

 

Once it nearly shattered during that long fall

down the stairs that he never spoke about.

Dazed, I woke up and checked the mask.

 

It was the one thing that hadn’t been hurt.

After that I knew I needed it to keep me safe,

to keep me quiet, to keep me out of the way.

 

When I closed my eyes, I could imagine it was

no longer a mask but just me, unseen by him.

It made me look like a normal girl, a good girl.

 

After many years and many masks, I became

quite good at molding a mask so flawlessly thin,

so delicate, transparent as a butterfly wing.

 

It was easy to slip on, and no one could tell

what was real and what was not, even up close.

It worked, and that’s all I ever wanted.

 

There is a small secret I learned from making

masks and wearing them day and night:

You must believe it’s you and not a mask.

 

It is you, but a different you, a you that won’t

cry out or tell secrets or even cringe too much

when unexpected blows come (and they do).

 

Close your eyes now. Imagine yourself this

way—in control and protected from the world,

safe from everything you fear, hidden far away

 

behind this lovely mask where you can watch

what’s going on, where you can be vigilant,

and where you are the real you only you can see.

 

 

 

 

Words grow muted . . . (a tanka)

 

 

 

 

words grow muted
and hearing diminished –
I begin to tiptoe
along the lonely curve
of inner silence

 

arp-sculpture

Title Unspecified, by Jean “Hans” Arp (French, b. German), 1950s

 

This tanka was published in The Ekphrastic Review: writing and art on art and writing on September 13, 2016. The journal is edited by Lorette C. Luzajic as part of the Ekphrastic 20 Challenge.

 

To visit the site, please click on this link:  http://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic/a-tanka-by-mary-kendall

 

Sunday Morning

The Ekphrastic Review: writing and art on art and writing, has published my poem, “Sunday Morning.”

Let me give you a brief “back story” on this poem. Many years ago, I stopped writing completely for around twenty-five years. Total silence in my life. I don’t know why it happened, but it did. After what can only be be termed a spiritual experience on a trip to the Fijordland in New Zealand, poetry somehow magically entered my life again. I can’t explain this. It just happened, and I know it happened for a reason. This poem was the first complete poem I wrote when my poetic “voice” returned, and it’s only been read by one other person until today. It’s taken me about fifteen years to gather courage to submit it anywhere. My deepest thanks to editor, Lorette C. Luzajic, for publishing this piece.

Here is the link to the journal: http://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic/april-21st-2016

 

Rijksmuseum out the window

Rijksmuseum, Out the Window (c) 2013 Mary Kendall

 

Sunday Morning

 

Hymns unsung, prayers unsaid,
I sat by the window and prayed
for forgiveness one more time;
one more time I begged.

 

Holding the cup of coffee in my hand,
I hoped the warmth would fill me
where your words had left me cold,
but I knew nothing could do that—
fire can burn for hours and be unfelt.

 

Hymns unsung, prayers unsaid,
I lay down on the empty bed, pulling
the blanket across my cheek, turning
from the window, from the sky
and the sun, praying for some rest.

 

 

 

Note: The window in the photo is not, of course, the window of the poem. I love taking pictures of windows when I travel, especially indside looking out. This photo was taken in June 2013 when my husband and I were in Amsterdam, visiting the beautiful Rijksmuseum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silk Strands, a New Haiga

Fall's Footprints

This haiga appeared on Daily Haiga on March 23, 2016.  I would like to thank my dear friend, Sheppy Vann, for allowing me to use her beautiful photograph for this piece.

Here is the link to the original:  http://www.dailyhaiga.org/haiga-archives/1805/-fall-s-footrpints-by-mary-kendall-usa

 

 

silk thread**

Haiku…in Brass Bell

Another joy and honor this week–my first time having haiku appear in Brass Bell, a publication that is edited by the incomparable Zee Zehava. This issue was done with International Women’s Day (on March 8) in mind. In the editor’s own words:

 

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I urge you to visit Brass Bell (also here on WordPress) and subscribe to it. Be sure to read the back issues for some excellent poetry.

My three haiku in this issue are below:

 

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If you have a favorite, please do let me know. I’m always curious what readers think or respond to.

 

CallaGold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Love Poem…

 

 

tuileries chairs

Photograph (c) 2010 by Patti Chronert

 

Another Love Poem…

If you’d like to hear me read this poem, please click on the link below. Wait a few seconds for it to load. I hope you enjoy both listening and reading this love poem.

 

 Another Love Poem…

~ To my husband and partner of forty years ~

 

We walked along in the Tuileries
alone among the chestnut trees,

morning sky of crisp pale gold
so many paths we have strolled,

and still we wander, just us two,
my heart never very far from you.

We stop to sit and watch the birds
green park chairs, unspoken words,

plain sparrows chirp, so unadorned
no beauty lost, no beauty mourned.

Simple thoughts are often most true—
no man was ever loved more than you.

 

 

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Heart Stone by Mary Kendall