Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring Fever

—Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

The shadows conspire to hide the children.
The children laugh, we cannot find them.

We look behind trees.
Muffling wet leaves sound like whispers.

The timid flowers blend away
in a misleading direction.

The whole garden

We hold our breath,
until we know

there never were any children,
and there never was such a garden.


—Joyce Odam    

Here at the owl’s eye
I walk around
look through the trees at trees
for the children who came
to play in the leaves and the shadows.

They got lost in the wavery green.
Now they are lost in the black.
The forest is too deep for them.

Now it is too deep for me.
I go in,
my eyes widening with night-suns
and the owl’s eye turns and turns.

I can hear the children
beyond the next depth
laughing and calling to each other
in the night.

I can see wisps of them
float through the
disappearing centers.
The owl’s eye contains them
and deepens when I enter.

(first pub. in Yankee, 1974)


—Joyce Odam

There is a woods that keeps its wilderness,
a fallen tree-log stretched over a stream
where children like to cross. Swift water
glints beneath. Trees fleck golden in the air.

The tree-log settles above the rushing stream.
Nothing sinister here.
Gold trees dapple the air.
The sky is blue. Leaves drift down.

There’s nothing sinister,
the daylight lasting from dawn to dusk
with sky that’s blue forever, leaves drifting down,
and nothing but play to do.

The brimming daylight lasts from dawn to dusk,
the children serious, centered, alone,
with nothing but play to do.

The brimming daylight lasts from dawn to dusk,
the children serious, centered, alone,
with nothing but play to do—
exploring time, and life, themselves—

serious children.  Centered.  Each alone

on the log-bridge, the gurgling water close beneath
as they enter time—and life—themselves,
the small, still woods keeping its wilderness.

(first pub. in Song of the San Joaquin)


—Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam

Somewhere trees of dark design
droop into sorrow to refine
the art of losing leaves and time . . .

the art of losing leaves and time
drooping with sorrow to define
the dying trees of dark design.

—Joyce Odam

In brand new trees the starlings dart
among the branches—black as
polish—darkly shining—

small energies of busyness,
quickly following each other
from one small tree

to another
in the parking lot—over
the parked cars and the cars

that muscle into and out of
each tight space, one tree for each,
as if put there for starlings to claim.

And in one tree, a small finch rests
a moment, then flies off,
as if slow eyes release it.

Cars come and go—glad for the trees
—glad for the parking spaces,
busy with busyness.

And overhead, two seagulls soar in slow,
broad circles, not disturbing
the flat blue sky, unbothered by

their silent glide. How easy it all
seems—this spring day,
tempered by rain—

intermittent—hard and soft rain—
with occasional far thunder rumblings,

The new trees are beginning
to turn a tremulous, soft green
and are full of starlings.       


Thanks, Joyce, for today's fine poems and photos! 

It's Spring, so what are you going to do about it? Sleep on a park bench? Clean out your house? What does the young man's fancy turn to? Our Seed of the Week is Spring Fever: Tell us all about how this infirmity affects you. (I'm on a crusade to clean out every weed in the garden—spring always brings out the Mother Earth in me.) Send your spring poetry sprouts to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWs, though—check out Calliope's Closet under the Snake on a Rod in the green box to the right of this for all the many past SOWs we've tackled; see if any of them tickles your spring fancy. 

Thursday is Poem in Your Pocket Day, and Trina Drotar has written about it for Sacramento Press. Go to www.sacramentopress.com/headline/66892/How_to_celebrate_Poem_in_Your_Pocket_Day


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

The trees are turned deep with wet light.
It has been raining.
        Am    I    awake . . . ?
All night I go among them, marveling.

The moonlight engulfs them.
I am surrounded by soft and shimmery light.
          Am    I    asleep . . . ?
I awaken to the sound of rain beginning.



 —Photo by Joyce Odam