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:

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 9.21.14 AM

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:

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 9.33.29 AM

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 9.33.41 AM

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 9.33.51 AM

 

 

 

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

 

CallaGold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

My Mother’s Voice…a poem of loss

Today, my favorite haiga was published in a favorite journal, Gnarled Oak. It is a lovely home for this haiga. Here it is along with the link to Gnarled Oak (check out all the great poetry in this journal). The editor, James Brush, releases one poem a day, a custom I love. It’s always a joy to see what each day holds. My thanks goes to James for accepting this piece.

http://gnarledoak.org/issue-5/my-mothers-voice/

 

My Mother's Voice haiga

 

.

beautiful border for blog

 

This haiga was originally posted on this blog on June 14, 2015.

Some Small Poems for the Autumnal Equinox

autumn haiga 2015

This morning I woke up knowing a change was in the air. With intermitent gusts of wind, my garden feels different. From my porch where I sit writing this, I hear cardinals talking to one another in soft chirpy sounds, not full song. A nuthatch scampers up and down the tree trunks hoping to find a tasty insect for its mid-morning snack. What is clearer though is the background sound–the small insects that hum and buzz in notes I can’t clearly discern. All I hear is a constant high pitched sound–but it is a soft sound, not the commanding songs the cicadas sing. A chickadee now scolds someone, probably my dog who is suddenly interested in wandering in our back woods.

The breeze comes and goes. Wind chimes sing their beautiful songs. Leaves shudder and flow in the wind, then settle down to stillness. A large robin sits in the birdbath drinking in the water, probably for the last time before it makes its long migration down to southern Florida. Now a flock of crows jeers at something, most likely the red-tailed hawk that lives nearby. And since I’ve sat here long enough, a single butterfly sips from the last flowers of the purple buddleiah bush. It is a yellow swallowtail and probably the very last one I will see this year. There have been no others all week. A female cardinal visits the other bird bath. Luckily these beautiful red birds don’t migrate from here. They will stay all winter long, and I will put birdseed out for them each day. 

Autumn has always been my favorite season since I was a little girl. I grew up in the northern climate of Buffalo, New York where the lake winds brought the strong Canadian coolness and fall was often upon us in early September. Not so here down south. Here, North Carolina weather can change in an hour. We can have this first taste of fall and tomorrow might bring back the heat of summer.

Life in the United States changes with this season since children return to school, vacations are pretty much over, and everyone settles in. I find myself cooking soups once again. Last night I made Italian Wedding Soup, a perfectly delicious way to welcome the change in seasons. 

Fall or autumn? I grew up calling it ‘fall’ and with the obvious falling of leaves, that word makes good sense, but the poetic side of me loves the word ‘autumn.’ I love saying the word, hearing it, feeling it on the tongue. Autumn is delicious! And ‘autumnal’ is divine. Who can resist the beauty of this season? Not me.

Here are three other poems–two tanka and one haiku– to welcome this special season and day of the autumnal equinox.

Autumn-leaf-on-a-rock-960x640

daylight
and nighttime
in a slow dance—
tomorrow one
will lead

~

Gold Autumn Leaf

~

autumnal equinox…
the moment when day
matches night

~

leaves_texture4982

~

autumn’s equinox
when time is equal—
if only one day
people
could be like this

~

Red Leaves