—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
I have not been well.
I think I’m coming down
The bitter smile
that forced my lips apart
has let the poison in.
Now I must breathe
great, gulping efforts
And lately, when I
touch my throat,
my heart is there…
well… after all…
(first pub. in The University Review, 1969
Narrowing Mini-Chap, 2002)
CROW SINGS DEEP OF MELANCHOLY
his black voice harshly harmonizing
his sharp eyes sharply severing
the day apart
cutting the loud sky with his wing
so wide and dark
making a noise we cannot bear to feel
or hear—it breaks the heart
(first pub. in Acorn, 1999)
Your candle has burned down, almost
to the rim of the candle holder—
too short to light again;
yet I do not throw it away—
a death candle that I burned for
your life—however long, however brief.
IAMBIC DEATH ~
(for David Milnor)
Iambic death, with careful plod
through mud and snow and goldenrod,
tramples each poem and each rhyme,
goes where it goes in death’s own time.
Death, as iambic . . .
like a march
to a destination
of its own . . .
nothing as resolute as death.
Life offers grief, the way it must.
Sorrow cries: enough… enough…
DEATH'S LAST WORD
And now I face an ending not my own:
Today I saw a brown field full of crows.
And yesterday the sky was full of gulls.
I feel a contradictive undertone.
How can I be the one slow death abhors?
The crows were stark as sadness, huddled there,
the gulls just bright opinions of the air—
as life is full of never-ending doors.
I turn away from all but death’s own room.
You turn to say the crows are just a curse—
the gulls, for all their whiteness, are much worse
—that all will end that ever was begun.
(first pub. in Hidden Oak, 2004)
Okay, where were we? I'm so sorry for the second interruption, another two days where Medusa went "dark". Short version: Internet problems, fixed yesterday—and then another "blackout" this a.m.! As the technician on the phone said, the aether is an inexact science...
Thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poetry. She'll be reading this Thursday (12/1, 6pm) at the Sac. Poetry Center's Annual Fundraiser, once again at Mimi and Burnett Miller's home, 1224 40th St., Sacramento. Come enjoy food and wine and beautiful artwork—plus a raffle! $30 for nonmembers; $20 for members or for new members who join SPC that night.
Then on Friday (12/2, 7pm), Red Fox Underground and El Dorado Arts Council will present Suzanne Roberts at ArtSpace, 459 Main St., Placerville. Free! (For more about Suzanne, go to www.suzanneroberts.org)
The Sacramento Bee has a nice extensive article today about E-Legal Tag Team and their outreach to kids through their poetry. See the blue board at the right of this for a link to the article.
And Sac. Poetry Center is proud to announce the winners of the 2010 Quinton Duval Chapbook Contest: Denise Lichtig of Davis for her chapbook, Crystal Gods, and Janet McCann of College Station, Texas, for her chapbook, Carlos' Café.
It's Tuesday: we got back online just in time for our Seed of the Week: Shorter Days, Longer Nights. This time of the year, as we head toward the winter solstice and the Valley fog starts to pile up, we really feel the darkest days of the year. Send your poetic thoughts on the subject to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs; see Calliope's Closet under the Snake on a Rod (on the green board at the right) for previous ones to while away these long winter nights.
God is day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, surfeit and hunger.