Tuesday, January 10, 2012

And Then...

—Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

I go to the vast window
with its scenery that falls away.

I have no cat—even though
birds avoid my gaze and disappear.

I hold the curtain back with my shoulder
and watch the day—how it shortens

and grows chill. I should turn away,
but something holds me here . . .


—Joyce Odam

Turning to my small window, I see the view:
a boring wall for me—a scrap of sky for you.
From what bleak difference now do we stare—

I, at shadow creeping over brick—
you, at night that comes down thick.
What do we care, Love, what do we care?

Wall is for safety—sky is for roam;
you at your distance—I, at home
with brick and shadow. I don’t cry.

In this division, why compare:
you in your nowhere—everywhere—
only one of us left now, tending this goodbye.


—Joyce Odam

Ah, light, you have found me, caught me
dreaming out the window, distracted,
with a moody, non-look on my face.

You have caught me
dangling by my threads—
mobilic in your warm and tender strands,

you have found me dancing to myself
in pleasant echo
of your flickerings,

swaying to the light… swaying
to the light… yearning
to be drawn right through the glass.

Oh, light, you have saved me from
the pulling of these rooms
with their deep corners.

I have come to your bright window
to be done with winter
with its cold shadows and dispiriting intent.


(based on Sir William Orpen's
"Sunlight", c. 1925)
—Joyce Odam

What has adoration to do with a woman
in muted window light—pulling her
stockings on, or pulling them off:

It is the pose of her body in that light—
the mystery of her attention to
her own beauty,

as though disregarded, as though no one
is watching: not the artist:
or the reader of this:

or the brooding man in a dark room’s chair
who thinks of her, as if she is real
to his thinking.

She is only in the slow, seductive art
of dressing—or undressing—leaning
back—one leg lifted in the air—

the soft light approving and lingering.
And she will do this for as long as
anyone is watching.


(based on G. H. Rothe's “Bougainvillea”)
—Joyce Odam

Sensitive to light, you stare through
the crimson leaves and reddened flowers

on the window. Your eyes refuse
to withdraw from the eyes

of your reflection. You put your hand
to your mouth and kiss the scent

at your fingertips. On which side
of the glass do you exist?

Your shoulders merge with the
crimson-lighted leaves—even the sky.

You float within yourself
and all but disappear among the flowers.


—Joyce Odam

This window full of stars, and gray clouds
moving, and shift of prayers—or perhaps just
angles of old light, still fading into the end of
itself—this long day, taken like the others into
slow eternity.

Why do I mourn it as if it were the last one. . . . ?

Soon the window becomes black, and I tire of
looking through it into such a cold dark sky, and
I turn back to my dark room—turn on the lamp,
and become a small and equidistant square of
light to the immense, unnoticing night.


Thanks, Joycey, for today's tasty stew! (Poets lie, you know. She really does have a cat, despite what it says in her first poem.)

Our Seed of the Week is And Then... What happened next? Did the pirates get away? Did the baby go to sleep? Is this a story, or a tone poem, or just musings about life? What comes after "Then"...? Send your SOWs to kathykieth@hotmail.com; no deadline on the little suckers—and see Calliope's Closet up under the Snake on a Rod in the green box next to this one for previous SOWs. And while your browsing the green box, check out our Form to Fiddle With this week: the Septolet. Hm...


Today's LittleNip: 

—Joyce Odam

a window,
look out upon
the moonlit hour—
wish you were not stricken
with mundane obligations . . .
the night floods in with sympathies.
You are released . . . into what power?



Last Leaf
—Photo by Joyce Odam