Moral Monday (a tanka)

 

This tanka was published in Skylark, a Tanka Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, Winter 2017:

 

The following tanka is dedicated to the courageous people who participated in the “Moral Mondays” in my home state of North Carolina. They risked arrest for gathering at the State Legislature to protest unfair and discriminatory legislation being passed. These protests were non-violent and led by the Reverend William J. Barber.

 

Moral Monday –
arm and arm linked
you choose to step
into the darkness
to find the light

 

 

 

 

 

Wild voices . . . an anthology by women poets and artists

 

It is very exciting to be part of a collection of poems and art by so many women I admire. Thanks to editor (and poet), Caroline Skanne, I have a haiku and three tanka included. The title and theme of “wild voices” was given to us to interpret in any way we chose. I urge those of you who love poetry to purchase a copy of this anthology for yourself and/or for a gift.

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Wild Voices, An Anthology of Short Poetry & Art by Women
edited by Caroline Skanne, February 2017

 

 

 

 

***book available:https://wildflowerpoetrypress.wordpress.com/current-titles/
This title is also available on amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

 

 Here are my poems that appear in this lovely anthology:

 

 

the softness
of a raspberry
on my tongue…
I remember our long
first kiss

 

 

wild honeysuckle
heady and sweet—
your hold
on me
just as strong

 

 

a softness of spring
flecked with apple blossoms ~
the morning you died
darkness swept in
lost and wild

 

 

 

foxglove—                                                                                
danger hidden
in such beauty

 

foxglove

Foxglove, also known as Digitalis purpurea

 

Walking Away

Where do poems come from? Anyone who writes poetry asks that question and has that question asked of them by others who wonder how a poem comes to be. There are many articles and books on the subject, but still there is no single answer. Every poet writes differently and often in a lifetime writing patterns and habits might change, too.

To show you how oddly this can happen, I’ve decided to post a poem that appeared in my chapbook, Erasing the Doubt (published 2015 by Finishing Line Press). “Walking Away” is  a poem that has its own style, its own cadence and its own meaning. If I were to read this somewhere, I think I’d say it feels very much like an old fashioned poem, as if it echoes a voice from long ago. How did that happen? There is an unusual story behind this poem and how it came to be. It came to me as a whole poem when I was up late writing and suddenly became very, very tired. It appeared almost dreamlike to me. I typed it up quickly, read it once and went to bed. When I read it the next day, it didn’t feel or sound like me, but obviously I had written it. Strange indeed. This experience happened only once in my life.Was another poet speaking through me? Or was this merely a side freed from regular consciousness because of fatigue?

I’d love to hear your comments on this poem and what it means to you when you read it. Feel free to leave a message

I’ve recorded this poem if you care to listen as well as read. Just click on this link:

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Walking Away

 

When you go, where do you wander?
When you leave me, do you look back?
I sit here, book in hand, not reading.

           The wind blows fiercely through now.

 

They asked how long you had been silent,
And I answered with a lie, which
Was not the truth but might have been.

          The wind blows silently through now.

 

Did you hear me whispering to you?
Did you hear what I had to say? Or did
I turn away and only mouth the words?

          The wind blows piercingly through now.

 

Where do you go when you wander?
Tell me what you see. When you look
At me, I feel you walking away.

          Lamenting the darkness, the wind blows softly now.

 

 

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“Walking Away” was published in Erasing the Doubt by Mary Kendall (c) 2015, Finishing Line Press.

 

 

 

 

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:

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

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Reflections on a new year…

2015 year's ending