Saturday, July 03, 2010

Something Quickens—Makes Rumors

Pop! Out Flew the Moon
—Artwork by Kay Nielson, from
Tales from the North (East of the Sun, West of the Moon)

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

In the sweet green air of night
late summer winds rise up—play at dance,
tease the fluttering wings of leaves—
blow the curtains in through open windows.

The cat sits by the screen door,
looking out—
watching the motion of shadows—
the nocturnal mysteries.

The green trees
flicker under the street lamp—
approve the spotlight—
shimmer and preen.

Name it what you will,
there is
a change in the air;
something quickens—makes rumors.

The waves of the sea-painting seem to move,
you watch the motion of the water—
the wet color of the moonlight on the wall
—something you’ve never noticed before.


—Joyce Odam

Tonight the wind
shakes everything around

the heater fidgets
off and on

the rain
splatters hard against the house

the cat
is restless

and I keep getting up and down
for one reason or another—

the storm so loud
with its clatterings and thumpings—

and I wish the wind would stop and
let me settle back to my quiet book of poetry.


—Joyce Odam

It was a town of windmills
but there was no wind to cross the wide flat land,

the monotonous yellow roofs,
the sinister lack of trees,

the wavering dark shapes of birds that circled in,
then slanted off and disappeared.

The shadows came
in one wide mass at sundown. Feeble lights

came on at windows—here and there
a thin trickle of music, a muted laugh, a cry.

The moon had the whole sky all to itself.
It swept the night—

no mountains to impede—no trees to tangle in.
Whatever claimed the morning came on time,

shook out its dusty cloth of new ambition
and surveyed the landscape with indifference.


—Joyce Odam

White moth in moonlight, fragile as a dream,
white jasmine under a window, summer at its longest,
a path into darkness where the dream is lost.

The dream taking over the dreamer—
a white dream-figure trying to awaken,
the white moth in moonlight beating at the dream.

Summer will not surrender. Summer is all.
The white moon burns the night with its fullness.
The lit path darkens where the dream is lost.

Jasmine wafting through an open window,
white jasmine in a shaft of moonlight—
the moth made of moonlight, or the dream.

The white moth flailing under its own heaviness,
too far to the moon itself—its wings too frail;
the path of darkness closing where dreams are lost.

A white moth fluttering in a white direction:
Love is like that . . . effort against reach . . .
a white moth in moonlight, fragile as a dream,
a path into darkness where the dream is lost.


—Joyce Odam

I mutter to the wind
and it
mutters back.

A certain wrack of something
strains against the tether
of our life.

All that we share
is told and retold
in a dreamlike tone.

The wind snags
on a stubborn shutter
with a little howl of pain.

I wince against
a shoulder-ache
and offer a little laugh.

All winter we do this:
endure and complain and know
that next year we will do the same.


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

bush-shadow shudders
against white siding
rattling the wind’s name
under loose windows



Mary Pickford
—Photo by Nelson Evans, 1917