—Robin Gale Odam, Sacramento
Last yellow December rose,
saved from frost, cut tenderly for
my crystal vase, for my loving heart,
for my inspiration, for my promise of
sugar water and a bright location,
and for companionship as we
awaken and turn the page.
December: January: Count of time.
The step from one into the other—
the last and first of something:
the new with its promise: the old with its regret.
Let’s be happy now…
confetti falling… balloons trapped at the ceiling…
embrace and kiss;
who you hold now is who you will hold forever.
Forever is now. Hold tight. It’s only a moment,
Make no promise. Or promise everything.
This is the one moment of the year you wait for.
It is here. Drink up. Say Happy New Year.
(First published in Joyce's mini-chap, Listenings)
The year comes trailing in like an innocent
bystander and finds me in the first hour
and we size each other up and take some
sort of stance to suggest intention.
So we greet each other carefully and ask
direction of one another,
and here we are at the same beginning—
dependent on one another, somehow,
to make it work—whatever we say
and mean. And we wander off together—
down the days—and become destined—
though the particulars are yet to be realized.
NEW YEAR’S MORNING
A leftover horn from some
stale celebration is bawling in the distance,
probably in the hand of some child—
loud in the morning.
I can see it now: crumpled on the end,
red foil peeling, three tassels dangling.
What a sad, old sound it makes—
over and over—
like some animal
trapped in quicksand,
or on barbed wire, or drought,
or winter—you know—a suffering.
She has hidden herself now
in a garden of threads
and melting colors—
the cloth of memory,
cross-stitched with stories,
textures and scents familiar—
and pale narcissus,
the seasons mingling.
Only the hours know how to fill
and renew. She waits for that renewal.
She waits and grow late with waiting.
THE SNOW GLOBE
It was summer, and there was no cause
to fear rumors of ice and snow—
old warnings of dire-predictors,
weather-people, people with charts
and ways to know such things.
The high sun glittered
on our bright horizon—
our longest summer ever.
But winter was quick with sealing
and we found ourselves locked in a
time-lost globe, being roughly shaken,
until small flakes of white
went swirling—as if to make fly
the six frozen birds in our winter sky.
THE ARTISTRY OF DOUBT AND HOPE
Feel the artistry / moving
through you / and be silent—Rumi
Impose your heart upon the silence,
what is beheld in thought and dreams—
the hope of doubt, and oh, the doubt of hope.
The art of understanding is beyond the mind
but not the heart—it’s in the silence—
not the blare of thought that so befuddles.
is something powerful and strained—
a shadow and a blow.
What is, that is not known?—mystery
its own—more powerful than clues
or any solving that will be.
Take up the trust again.
It helps you look where nothing is,
and helps you look again.
PRUNE ROSES IN DECEMBER
—Robin Gale Odam
Precious yellow flower, oblivious to the
rules of landscaping, lovely petals above
the silver curve of blades gleaming in the
last December sun.