Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No Longer Mountain

Shadow Talk
—Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

(for Robin Gale and Asia Soldana)

A child
in her.

in a life.

Small as
a sonar sound.

Vibrative, and
old as a moment;

as tiny as a beginning.
A girl child, maybe.

a girl child.

She will evolve in the womb
of her mother.

A new child.
This is her first prayer.


—Joyce Odam

Small pieces of light
flit everywhere,

some turning color
as if made of crystal,

some staying at the corner of my eye
to pretend I only imagine them.

Who tells me this
if not you, O my mother?

I know you tease me—
this familiar game we play.


—Joyce Odam

To pity something so small
and get away with it,
watch daylight form at the window,

wear sound, like glass, around you,
that breakable.
Nothing is as easy as love,

or as harmful. Everything
is risk, with or without rules.
Go for the tremble,

like tree-shadow on a wall at night.
Night comes early.
When it does, call it winter.

Save your sympathy
for something worthy.
Even the ant in its tiny struggle.

Lost is lost
for which there is no direction.
Then you’ll know why a map

is useful. Even life as it unfolds,
crease after crease
from so much folding.

Consult the stars.
They too have a reason for being.
Even the darkness mourns,

then surrenders.
Uphill is the only way to go
that is worth the effort.

After words upon words
upon words.
see how small the page is?


—Joyce Odam

Eating a white dessert, all by myself,
with small red bites of strawberries in it

—rich as a sugar—disguised in many
ways. I savor

the treat, melting against my tongue.
Outside: the threat of rain—

not here yet—at this gray window
with its ominous gathering of clouds

and glassy blur of people. Sated, I linger
over my cup of lukewarm coffee.

Every day I try to diet. When I am thin
again, I may forgive the obesity of tears.


                After “The White Waterlilies”
                                 by Claude Monet
—Joyce Odam

Here is a bridge over quietness—
this brief arch above a descending stream
bearing petals off from some dense garden

where soft limbs of willows bend to the water
and deeper shadows stay farther back.
If no one comes to linger it will not matter

to this frail bridge that has no history to prove
in this overgrown place that is not for the
hurried—that is its own now—safe as

a picture: a small bridge over quietness—
a sun-brushed arch over a rippling stream,
bearing petals and shadows over the stones.


—Joyce Odam

Old music is as sweet as young.
Old music laughs and cries and grieves
and lets the bow get caught in sleeves.
Old eyes remember, smile, and close.

Old music wavers and is wrung
from anything the heart believes
—some ragged violin that weaves
the music out of joys and woes.

Old music is of life that’s sung
in discord and in melodies
—past all regrets and agonies—
with life’s sustaining tremolos.

(First published in The Lyric, 2006)


—Joyce Odam

There must have been some reason to climb
this small hill, the one you called
a mountain.

It had
a tall tree;
it had the sun;
it had the sky
all around.
It had all
the distance
which was
It had the view
you wanted;
it had the dare.
There was
this praise to earn
and who to tell it to.
It would be

this climb
for need or vanity—this old
crumple-of-a-mountain, shrunken to a hill.


Today's LittleNip: 

The pleasures he had failed to have diminished the ones he had had.

—Stephen Dobyns



Thanks to Joyce, Robin and D.R. for today's soup of poetry and photos. Joyce's last poem segues us into our Seed of the Week: Mountains and Molehills; see the b-board for Cynthia Linville's photo of Mt. Shasta (thanks, CL!). Send your thoughts about mountains, molehills (and which are which?) to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.


the daylilies savor their one sunset
as I contemplate tomorrow

    —Robin Gale Odam, Sacramento