Monday, September 27, 2010

Autumn's Expectation

Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

Tonight I hear rain
as I have heard rain before.
I use a blue pen to say this.
I use a blue page to write upon.

Is the rain blue? Or only my blue thought
of rain? Or some blue memory that returns
with rain? My night window shines.
The street lamp wavers like a soft wet music.

The sound is a pleasant sound,
an October sound;
as yet the leaves have not left the trees.
Will they turn restless now or want to linger?

Must I always measure rain with words;
must I ever know what it says to itself,
or to glass,
or the other sound of things?

It has its own wet voice; it has its own silence
when it listens to my listening, when I stop
what I’m doing just to feel the experience of
first rain that evolves from Autumn’s expectation.

The news predicted it with a percentage figure,
as did my knees,
my hot eyes
upon the late and swelling evening skies.


Thanks, Joyce and D.R., for today's offerings!

Some of you may have seen a post on the b-board saying that Francisco Alarcón would be reading at La Raza this Friday. T'ain't so, I'm afraid; hopefully he'll be reading on October 29.


—Joyce Odam

(after a Max Tharpe photo)

The leaves are too many;
the boy’s hands
are too small.

There is
a slowness around him
that he tries to fill.

But the leaves will not wait. 
They say,  Now!  Now!
And they fall.

And the boys’ face
wears a gathering smile
for the leaves are

everywhere—just as he is,
with his swift evolution—
with the arrogance of

his joy and power, for he will
reach into the falling leaves
and catch them all.


—Joyce Odam

Smiling face
next to my smiling face
I have forgotten who you were.

Our arms about each other’s waist
show we were close.
Our free hands share a wishbone.

There is no background of house
to give a clue, only the uncut lawn
of someone’s yard.

A man’s long shadow
leans from the camera—so—
it was afternoon…

the tree says autumn, windy…
our skirts shape to our bodies…
we were pretty…

It saddens me that I
forget who you are, if your wish
happened, or if mine…

(first appeared in Harp Strings, l995)


—Joyce Odam

Behold me now in autumn.
Love after love
I drift through something golden.
Name it anything.
I die with the sun
and live again in leaves.
In the blue corners of my shadow
I wait for rain.

I fathom to your eyes.
You feel me dancing.
You would dance with me
but the light is hollow.
You ask if I am real
and I answer you with laughter.
You close your eyes
and I slip behind them.
You call me sadness.

I come to you again
when you are
tearing from the trees.
How faceted you are,
holding your corners up to the wind,
giving me the bright happiness
of your tears.

At last I know you.
You are the rain.
I tell you how it is to be
half golden—half blue shadow
and you keep breaking into
silver pain.
I turn my body into silence,
but you have found
where I keep my love
and you are singing.

(first appeared in The Small Pond, 1971)


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

One brief look and she is gone.
Try to follow and be lost

in a swirl of leaves
and scented breeze of autumn.

She is only what is thought
And you are turning into winter.

(after "Still to be Neat" by Ben Johnson)



Photo by D.R. Wagner