Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When You Listen

Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

What a gift—this plaintive
sound from your imagination—
this little crying,
heart-shape, heart-size,
growing larger as you listen.

You have heard it before,
when you were a child
in another season.
The sound was lost
and you had to find it,

save it,        hold it.
And it seeks you now,
as if you were its mother—
like grief—and remembrance
of grief, having found each other.


       (after “Coming Home at Twilight in Late Summer”
        by Jane Kenyon from her book, Otherwise)
—Joyce Odam

It was simply this—as simple as
simple is—as slow and careful
as procrastination—almost
deliberate, the way we

drifted away from tedium
and went out into the
cool sad dusk to let our shadows
touch the shadows there.

It was something we would
remember and care about—
our little deviation from duty . . .
from clock . . . from need to do . . .

we took a walk—
it was as simple and easy as that,
not caring what piled up
behind us, or out-waited our return.


—Joyce Odam

This is the all of it, the resistance,
the surrender,

when all argument is done and each value

the purity of all that is given in return
for what is taken.

All of this.
All is all. And enough.

Nothing disproves this.
The balance is held, and still is tested.

It is where reason goes
when there is fear—

some dim, unreachable place full of shadow,
full of following light.


—Joyce Odam

What is in the box of silence
that echoes so thinly—
little less than a whisper

but louder than a shadow—
a word that comes back to you
with all its meaning—

still insisting—but silence
has been laid-away for good
and cannot be resurrected now.


     (after “Goodbye” by Robert Creeley, in
      American Poets Say Goodbye to the 20th Century)
—Joyce Odam

Say it simply. Say it softly and sadly.
It is the longest word you will ever say.
Give it a black border for the death it imitates.

Let it go freely.
You cannot call it back.
It is a word without meaning.

A quick word. A spondee word.
It will come of its own volition.
You cannot regret it.

Let it take everything it needs.
How you hoarded it.
How you refused it—keeping it

longer than necessary.
Let it have your regret, that baggage of doubt,
that second thought.


Thanks, Joycey, for whipping us up such a tasty stew today!

Be sure to have a look-see at the new stuff posted in the green box at the right of this column: this week's Form to Fiddle With (the Tyburn); a couple of new Kool Thing(s) of the Week; and our Seed of the Week: Our Feathered Friends. Are we talking about birds? Icarus? Angels? Feathering our nests? Featherbrains? Send your mighty SOW musings to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWs, though—see Calliope's Closet in the green board (under the Snake on a Rod) for all we've tackled throughout the ages...

While you're scrolling around, take note of the gradual increase in poetry readings in our area, now that the holidays are over. Those are on the blue board under the green board.

And if you didn't catch it yesterday, Michelle Kunert has the current album on Medusa's Facebook page, this one of the Sac. Poetry Center's Writer's Brush event for Second Saturday. Check it out!


Today's LittleNip: 

—Joyce Odam

Come to my light, says the dark corner of love—
shadow outstretched, like an arm, a glow in the middle,

like an eye. I will promise you whatever you need,
says the lie. And the other enters—enters to be held,

since one has a need of the other—and they meld.



Photo by Joyce Odam