I am so excited that Mary Kling, who blogs In the Corner of My Eye, is here with me today. She is a rose in the poetry community, and so let’s start with this gorgeous poem she penned.
Life Among the Roses
by Mary Kling
I am jubilant today
hidden here among the rose bushes.
Though the thorns pierce my skin
like sequential porcupine quills,
it is for absolute love that I bleed.
I remember when I planted these bushes
so small then, no flowers at all.
I cared for them as my children,
watered, nurtured, pruned, watched them thrive.
The red roses for love, white for loyalty,
yellow for warmth, lilac enchantment and desire.
Such a sultry summer day to be surrounded by roses.
Often I despise the intensity and heat of the sun
on Summer Solstice as it scorches skin and ground.
Georgia O’Keefe painted roses inside and out.
I am as loyal as White Rose with Larkspur
as I bask now in the summer sun I love
I have often dreamt about this sanctuary
surrounded by the beauty that I cherish.
Now I can almost feel the warm ocean waves
of Waikiki Beach soothe my mind and soul.
-Tell us a bit about yourself.
I spend a lot of time with my two grandchildren who are 10 years old and almost 6 years old, however not quite as much time as previously. This year I am going through the “empty nest syndrome” big time because my granddaughter is off to kindergarten. She has spent her days with me for years now, a pretty constant companion, so this will be a bit hard. I will miss her. Of course, I did this with my grandson before he was in school too. It really is hard to see the young ones grow up.
I have three dogs who are the joys of my life. They are toy fox terriers; and the heaviest weighs 6 pounds. The oldest is Violet (8) and she is kind of an independent loner, but she can command the others with her growl IF she wishes to. Tulip is 6 years old, and a really sweet dog, with the exception of really liking to bark. The youngest is Basil, the only boy, and perhaps the sweetest of all three (even though he is a boy). He is my constant shadow. Where I am, he is. And when I take walks with him, everyone oohs and ahhs because, first of all, he is so small (4 1/2 pounds) and he is so very personable and cute. They really enrich my lives, and I couldn’t imagine life without them.
-How long have you written poetry, Mary?
Since I was in high school, but mostly just for myself as a way to deal with my thoughts and feelings. There were a lot of teen-aged and early twenties angst poems, love poems to unattainable young men, poems trying to figure out life in general. I did not share my poetry with anyone and had no intention to. I wouldn’t have been confident enough to. I looked on poetry as my private thoughts. People didn’t even know that I wrote poetry.
-Well, now we do. What changed about ideas about sharing your poems?
When I was a freshman in college, I did gain enough confidence to submit a poem to a college magazine. I was amazed and thrilled when it was accepted. It was titled “After the Departure of a Friend” and was written about a college roommate who left college after her first semester. I continued to write poetry after that, but really did not do it for anyone except myself.
-How did you branch out?
Within the past 15 years, a group of us formed an online writing group called the Skywriters (which still exists), women from all over the United States. We would meet online every week; submit poetry for critique, etc. We also met in person several times, having our own writing workshops for several days in succession. Somewhere during this time I began to blog poetry (2008), but I still knew nothing about the greater poetry blogosphere. I put poems in my blog because they looked nice there.
-So how did you learn about the support garnered through participating in the poetry community?
I discovered Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides blog, and I began to take part in his challenges and even began to link my poems so that others could comment on them. This was a major leap of faith, but I found that poets were nice people; and I sought more and more of this kind of interactive experience.
Eventually I started writing for various weekly sites & loved the interaction with others about poetry. I gained confidence in my work, and it began to feel all right for others to read my poetry. This brought me to early sites like We Write Poems and Writer’s Island & later to sites including Poets United, Poetry Jam, and dVerse.
There is so much inspiration out there. One really has to pick and choose.
Look to the Clouds
by Mary Kling
I painted an ocean in many shades of blue,
then bounded into the waves to look for you.
I painted a river that flowed toward the sea,
then wandered the shoreline, wondered where you’d be.
I painted a waterfall descending from a mountain peak,
then searched for your reflection in the accepting creek.
I painted a lake surrounded by a stand of trees,
then tried to hear your voice whistling in the breeze.
I painted a puddle just before the water cleared,
thought I discerned your image, then it disappeared.
I painted and painted from morning until night
then beheld you in the clouds, an angel in white.
-Who are your favorite poets, Mary?
At the moment it would have to be Gregory Orr who is a professor at the University of Virginia. I have two of his books, How Beautiful the Beloved and Concerning the Book That is the Body of the Beloved, that I look at least once a week. Orr accidentally shot his brother to death when he was 12-years-old; and this really has affected him for his entire life & is strongly felt in his poetry. In most of his poems one will find the word ‘beloved’ which sometimes refers to one who has died or sometimes to something else. I would really like to be able to share a few of his poems here, but I don’t want to without permission. There are a few available online, but I am not particularly fond of them. His writing, I think, would be writing that Victoria and Kelvin would like. Check him out, both of you.
Another favorite poet is Leonard Cohen. He is, of course, a singer; but he sings poetry; and the words move me greatly. A few of his poems that come to mind are “Hallelujan,” “Democracy,” “Everybody Knows,” and “Came So Far For Beauty.” I own every single album (in CD form) that Cohen ever put out.
Another favorite poet is Naomi Shihab Nye. I own and enjoy Words Under the Words. A favorite poem of hers is “The Art of Disappearing.” The first two lines are:
“When I say Don’t I know you?
And it gets better from there.
Stuart Dischell is another poet I like. He teaches in North Carolina. I own and love his book Dig Safe.
Then there are both Mary Oliver and Billy Collins, who need no introduction.
I really believe there are a lot of good poets out there; and it is always fun to discover a new favorite. My personal preferences at the moment are living poets rather than the classic dead one, even though I can appreciate the beauty of poems by Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, John Keats, etc.
-Do you have a preference for free verse or form?
As far as forms I write, I would say that the majority of my poems are free verse, but I love the Form For All prompts where we are challenged to write using different forms. I do very much enjoy writing triolets, quatrains and haibuns.
I would say that, though I greatly enjoy interacting with others, I think of my poetry as a personal legacy. I believe my words will be one of the most important things I leave behind for my children, niece and nephew, and grandchildren. I believe that my poems will express just who I am in a special way. And I hope someday my grandchildren will know me through my poetry when I am no longer around to tell them things or to teach them lessons.
by Mary Kling
If you want me, I will be there; if you breathe life into me
I will wait for you in the shadowland of your dream.
So before you awaken walk fast as you can in my direction;
I’ve been thinking of this moment longer than you can know.
You will recognize me by my smile, and I will wear blue,
and I will wear rings on my fingers as a sign it is me.
As you gaze into my blueness you may perceive the tears
that fall as I try to touch your hand which reaches for mine.
I cannot bridge the gap though you seem so close
I can almost hear you breathing. I know I am phantom,
no real essence except for what you want to see, life
you breathed me to be, mere movie screen projection.
Trapped within your imagination, envisioned by mine,
who can know the line where reality begins or ends
on the evening I cross the great chasm on a moonbeam
to experience a few special magical moments with you?
-You touch our hearts, Mary. Where can we find more of your poetry?
I have self-published four poetry books so far. The first one was In My Mind, which included all of my poetry written before 2008. It was published by Xlibris Publications. Since that time I have self-published a poetry book every year or two, using Lulu Publications. I now have 3 Lulu-published books, and the most recent one, Yellow Brick Road, was published in August. There’s also In the Corner of My Eye and Just As I Am. I personally have no aspirations for greatness or to be discovered. I just enjoy writing poetry and reading others’ poetry. I still consider myself a private person, so sometimes I look at all of the connections I’ve made throughout the world and all the poetry I’ve shared with people and am truly amazed.
-You are an amazing poet, Mary, and we appreciate your dedication and support. Thanks so much for spending time with me here today. I can’t wait to see what kind of questions come up in the comments.