Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Second Chances Make Good Gifts

Butler mini-carousel animals
California State Fair, 2011
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

(based on The Watering Place, Pablo Picasso)
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

The nude riders of sand-colored horses wait
while the horses drink from the grey water.

In a mirage of distance, heat-shimmer forms
where the sky merges into the brown hills.

Even the first shadow-touch of mauve
hesitates to be more than water-shadow.

The nervous horses whinny and stomp
as the pulling hour stretches like a path.

The distance recedes. The restless riders
wait to return—or to continue on their way.


(based on Boulevard by Gino Severini)
—Joyce Odam

It is almost scenic: a Rorschach-centered
boulevard, beyond it, the Village of Regret;
beyond that, the Mountains of Atonement.

On the boulevard
you mingle with the sorrowful
who are looking for windows to reflect in.

You find yourself among them
while the shuttered houses sleep
and the mountains do the same.

A cowl of lit sky holds to the illusion:
all is well here, everything caught in a swirl
of hurry, as if time will not keep.

Everything stays open.
Money never runs out.
Want barters with need.

Only restlessness keeps up with itself, movement
and light making patterns of satisfaction.
In the houses, the captive dreams keep dreaming.

Maybe something will release them—
something will be solved—
waiting will bring what they really wanted.


—Joyce Odam

tuneless traveling
past hills
and windmills—
ice cream stops
and recent reminiscings

now your singing,
smudging through
the freeway-humming
under wheels—
all the scenery blurring by.

Now your asking—now your
telling—little things to
ask and say, filling up
the homeward travel.
(Will we make it home today?)


—Joyce Odam

these levels of hills
beyond which reach the sky
and my yen for distance
one blue upon the other
shades of distance recede into the
pale-to-darkening sky
the hills come to me now with their
overlapping tones and shadows
old twilight hills that I am watching
a thin line of river flows up the mountain
leaving behind a small lake
upon which a small island is floating


—Joyce Odam

You remember, don’t you,
how heavy the world is—

on your shoulders—
bending you down, toward love,

which no longer knows you.
You know all the maps

of everywhere
you have been and will go—

your fingers
digging into the mountains—

as if time depended on it.
How else will you be useful?


—Joyce Odam

. . . as far as the cold white moon can see
that mountain range
that cold gray sea
that tiny ship
adrift in time
that endless sky
through which one final soul must climb

. . . what loneliness is quite as deep
what vow to break
what promise keep . . .
oh, human mind
that wants to stay
and wants to go
and dares not pray
to emptiness, or its rebuke

. . . what is the scope in such vast reach
beyond what eye and mind
can know . . .
one brilliant moon
shines like a clue
the mountains strain
horizon gone
the waves repeat . . .
time’s ship has vanished . . . far or deep


—Joyce Odam

let us go to the
wild hills
the whole world is a bed
regret is a word
I have put in a box
with the others
even in the middle of August?
you always feel happy
just to see the sun?
oh come now, you only
say that because it’s winter
and after we have gone
to the hills (excuse me) to
the wild hills
we will love better
second chances
make good gifts 

(first published in Out of Sight, 1972)


Today's LittleNip: 

While moon sets
atop the trees,
leave cling to rain.



—Medusa, with thanks to Michelle and Joyce for today's tasty stew. Speaking of Tesla (well, yesterday we were), Michelle reminds us of the movie, The Prestige, about him. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGPOq7fFahg for a clip.

Murmurous. I came across that word yesterday—what a gem! Don't you love it when words actually sound like what they mean? Murmurous: our new Seed of the Week. Cheap hotel rooms where you can hear through the walls? Low voices in a hospital, or a movie house, or a restaurant? Or remember when you were a kid: parents in another room, or in the car as you were drifting off to sleep? And of course people aren't the only murmurers—how about the wind or the trees or tall grass or livestock as they settle in for sleep? Send your murmurous murmurings to Medusa at kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.

Photo by Michelle Kunert