Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Where There's Smoke, There's Mom
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
The boys play baseball inside the fence
while the field next to them is on fire.
Half the crowd is cheering the ball game
from the bleachers;
the other half is at the field-edge
watching the fire.
Smoke curls around them. The crowd yells.
The cars are shimmering in the swift dry grass.
(first published in Swamproot)
ON LOVE AND LOSS
As trees through blue fire
sputter and moan,
their branches tangling,
their roots in a lessening hold,
grasping for blue,
which may be sky or dream:
blue fire and red sky.
Oh fiery love and loss,
held together through all destruction,
what have you got to lose
but life and its memory?
—wild music rushing through
nothing so pure or useful
to love’s balance
in all its harmony and discord
—like all that music never written.
HARPO AND BURNING GIRAFFES
based on “Portrait of Harpo Marx” by Salvadore Dali
Harpo looks out at me
nothing unusual is happening;
but the giraffes cluster about him,
maned in flames
and silently burning.
Amusement in Harpo’s eyes
intensifies Dali’s tribute,
and from the eloquence of art
implies: such fire
is not for easy discerning.
SMOKE IN THE AIR
the sun this
morning, how round
and red in the charred
tree, as if snagged
there . . . .
(first published in Brevities, 2008)
this morning the red sun came up
hung above two trees
created the new day
we took chances
we rescued a silver dog
but it was blind and deaf
or was it just a silver dog
of our kindness
tonight the red sun will lower
into the black trees
through wide clouds
made famous by forest fires
where it will bury the last howl
of our sadness
(first published in Acorn, 1995)
SMOKE AND FIRE
We squander the light with our dull eyes.
How can we bear the result of shadows?
Shadows are part of the ruse: you at the window
with your cape on—with your spread arms.
Arms hold and carry, now convey weariness
by hanging limp—have their own messages.
Messages rustle—they whisper—they nag,
so smug with being right, what they believe.
Belief is where there’s smoke, there’s fire—
fire of truth—in the smoky air of the believers.
TODAY I FEEL LIKE DUSTY BLUE
My mother had a long blue dress
she said was dusty blue—
a not-quite blue—an almost gray;
and when she moved,
it moved with her
like smoke across the floor.
Thanks to Joyce Odam for all the "where there's smoke" poems. We'll have more of them tomorrow, as more of D.R. Wagner's UCD class chimes in with their responses. And Joyce's LittleNip segues us nicely into this week's Seed of the Week: Moms (in case you haven't guessed it from today's photos, and yes, I'm going for the obvious, given that Sunday is Mother's Day). Send Momisms to email@example.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726; no deadline on SOWs.