Mary Kipps writes poetry for all age groups, in traditional forms as well as in free verse. Her work has appeared regularly in poetry journals and anthologies around the world since 2005. Mary is also the author of three humorous paranormal Kindle books: All in Vein, A Sucker for Heels, and Bitten: A Practical Guide to Dating a Vampire.
She is as different from our Ben as a child could be,
this girl in combat jacket, distressed jeans,
and ruby heels. There are Kool-Aid blue streaks
in her hair, a silver stud through one brow.
Her eyes take in our anally manicured yard,
the pristinely painted house, the rusted metal
and weathered net of the hoop above the garage.
Her face releases nothing.
When the woman from Child Services
places a hand lightly on her shoulder,
she steps aside with a fluidity born of practice.
For the umpteenth time, I question the wisdom
of the course we have chosen.
I move forward, hold out my hand, unprepared
for what I feel when she takes it.
Me with You
I find the album lying on your bed,
forgotten Kodak moments, trips we made:
a close-up – twinkling eyes, a Mouse’s head,
the backdrop of a magic-lights parade;
those Belfast hills, and us in trekking gear,
one person’s weary gaze, one’s sullen look
that underscored an adolescent year
of fruitless and unending donnybrook;
our smiles, returned once more, outside Beijing,
the greatest wall the one behind us now;
two barefoot women, sundress-clad, on shoestring
getaway from snow to Curaçao.
I touch the face of one who’s now a ghost.
In friends and mothers I’m more blessed than most.
Rite of Passage *
Another swell surges in, crests, and curls.
An amateur, more foolhardy than brave,
vanishes inside the whitewater whirls
of the planet’s most notorious wave.
He’s pulled ashore, to the beach crowd’s relief,
by a vigilant lifeguard’s skillful save.
The vicious surf renders many rides brief,
and more than once a promising career
has ended on the shallow lava reef,
each maim, each death instilling healthy fear
in those who watch and those who dare compete
in hopes of earning recognition here.
Breaking from the pack of North Shore elite,
dropping into a wave, a bona fide
Pipe legend rises steady to his feet,
his perfectly timed set-up, his swift slide
into the green room of the Banzai whorl,
his triumphant shoot out the other side,
the dream of every surfer, boy and girl.
In his wake, Pipe turns into cauldron swirls
as one more swell surges in, crests, and curls.
* The Banzai Pipeline, or simply “Pipe,” is the name given to the surf reef break located off Banzai Beach on the North Shore of Oahu. It is the steepest and most powerful tubular wave in the world, and the wave every serious surfer wants to ride.
Year of Rain
Days of shadow, multiplying,
thunder, unrelenting rain
render every underlying
sunny outlook all in vain.
Optimism wavers, fades.
Little left to keep me sane.
Dismal forecast soon abrades
any starry expectation
in this room of pressing shades.
Final desperate incantation.
Sound of rain intensifying.
Trapped inside, such isolation,
tending you as you lay dying,
even Heaven can’t stop crying.
When my time has come, let the ram skin wheeze
and pipe me to rest with Amazing Grace.
I’ve only a wee bit of Scots, but please,
when my time has come, let the ram skin wheeze.
Send ashes and dirge on a fairy glen breeze,
dispatch me to heather and thistle’s embrace.
When my time has come, let that ram skin wheeze
and pipe me goodbye with Amazing Grace.