Monday, August 09, 2010

Dreaming Beneath Trees

Photo by Ann Privateer, Davis

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

The trees were silver-tipped
in the moon’s unnatural light.

The silver road was a place
to follow them.

We went deep into the hills.
The night around us darkly shone.

The trees hung over us.
I could taste the silver of your kiss.

You gave me a ring
that was a silver stone.

After all these tarnished years
I still remember silver.


Some of you may have heard that Katy Brown's S.O., Robert, had an abdominal aneurysm removed last week, and that he remains in ICU. At this point, he's doing fairly well, but please keep both of them in mind as the week progresses. If you're "on" Facebook, Katy is providing updates.

A couple of deadlines coming up: Friday (8/13) is the deadline to register for the Cal. Poets in the Schools' Science Into Spirit Symposium in Petaluma. And Monday (8/16) is the deadline for the 91st Annual Ina Coolbrith Circle Poetry Contest. See the “Deadlines” section of the b-board for details—and while you’re there, double-check on the four deadlines coming up at the end of the month, including those for Tiger’s Eye’s winter issue as well as their chapbook contest. And of course check out the b-board for this week's other poetry adventures!

Also keep an eye on Kate Asche’s blog, Kate's Miscellany, that features writing news in our area: Kate is an associate director of Arts, Humanities and Writing at UC Davis Extension, which has some poetry classes you might be interested in this Fall: “Poetry Toolbox” with Greg Glazner, and “Reading Contemporary Poetry as a Writer” with John Allen Cann. Go to for info, or pick up one of the free UCD Extension brochures at newstands around town.

While you’re gathering brochures, be sure to pick up the free monthly Senior Magazine and turn to “Poetry Corner”, edited by Laverne Frith. Or find it online at, where you can read past columns as well as the current one.

Thanks to today’s poets and photographers! Ann Privateer is once again in Paris, where she says she is “nannying my 8-year-8-month-old granddaughter with time to indulge myself and her”. Hence the banana sandwich:

Photo by Ann Privateer


—Paul Lojeski, Port Jefferson, NY

Lately, I’ve been reading loads
of poems about trees, heartfelt
lamentations lucidly bemoaning

the cutting down of such celestial
beings, and who wouldn’t join
that emotional choir rightfully

celebrating their majestic
presence and tragic abuse?
But, oddly, none of the poems

sing songs of regret in the using
of those very same trees to make
the paper upon which their

gloriously sanctified stanzas are
placed in various fonts so exalted
and praised. How odd, indeed.


—Joyce Odam

This long path between trees, their shadows
criss-crossing in the last of the sunlight—

this long perspective into evening, this soft
intensity of light—how soon the darkness

will know itself and obliterate
the narrowing point the eye is fixed upon.


—Joyce Odam

(Based on "The Good-Morrow" by John Donne)

I walk with you through silent trees,
through golden grass,

through twilit air,
permitting love to ebb and flow

through who we are and who we were,
a grove of sadness

that we must repair.
Why such calm here—

only trees and more trees
in this place without a border,

the sky beyond our view,
one muted glow of light remaining?

Nothing moves, so nothing ends.
We are here in time’s lost moment

with its mourning—
taking back what we were given.


—Joyce Odam

. . . it was the burnished way
light shook itself from trees

and spilled into the red air,
closing down the day . . .


—Joyce Odam

In the book’s forest
live the bears of harmony
who dream beneath trees
amid the gold butterflies
and other wraiths of heaven.


—Joyce Odam

You hauled the tree up
from its fallen position by the skill
of leverage and stubbornness—

laid boards against its trunk,
tied ropes around, positioned jacks,
tied it off in stakes

and, inch by inch, you raised it
off the ground. It held.
You left it that way for a year.

We stepped around the ropes and stakes
until we were certain the roots
had grabbed again.

No wind has felled it since
though hard winds came. And rains.
It held. Its yield

was just as fine—and we think
even better—crop enough
for early jam and wine, we said.

Figs drop, there are so many now,
and birds destroy the largest and the
sweetest ones. You curse those birds.


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

These trees, upside-down in a

tremble of water—drowning sky—

what has happened to this world.



Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento