Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Danger! A Poet Goes Here!

Bird on Fence Gate
—Photo by Joyce Odam


—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

Everything is broken.
All my golden winds are
crying at the eaves.

The shadows make
their indecisive motions
and the terror of

the leaves is on the day
like answers in
the fumble of a question.

Sounds ebb and flow
and seek the slower dying
of the echo.

Light can make
no further struggle so it lets
the darkness know.

a single goose
is slowly falling;

his space fills up with crying
and the ground prepares
its shudder.

The flying of the seed
is like a burden
in the pregnant air.

What if the dream be real . . .
and what if there is nothing
in the after.

(first pub. in Oregonian Verse, 1967, and Harlequin Press, 1968)



            (for Ann)
—Joyce Odam

And she said to the geese,
Why won’t you move your wings . . .?
And she held her camera still for them.

But they waddled away from her,
two lovers who would not model, though they posed
in the center of sunlight, bright and gleaming.

Fly . . . ! she laughed, Fly . . . !
But they only stood with their necks together and shook
the impudent feathers of their tails.

So she snapped her last frame of film, and they
raised their unanimous wings,
and then—in a running start—they flew across the yard.



(after "Snow Toward Evening" by Melville Cane)
—Joyce Odam

With that rain the year revised.

The skies

poured till it seemed they would burst.
Trees felt it first.

Branches fell.

Winds from the winter were back to tell
how they would winnow through the leaves
—end summer’s drought
—send the geese south.
Winter would strip the trees.

(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine)

—Photo by Joyce Odam

SNOWBEAT (As Misread)
(after “Snowheart” by Tess Gallagher)
—Joyce Odam

cold energy
and cries
pierce the
and preferred

winter holds
is for
such hearts
that crave the
bleak and ever-
reaching clarities…

such are the
the geese
fly over.

(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine, 1997-98)


—Joyce Odam

for awhile I looked at the picture
and saw only the white blob

then a discernment
out of the abstract shape:

the long neck-shadow
the definement of feathers

and then the dark eye
and the beak

then the background
pulled back its blackness

and there, emergent,
clear to my eye now

the tear-shaped snow-goose
itself all along

(first pub. in Poetalk, 1996)


—Joyce Odam  

you have tethered
the spirit
of wild geese
to your ceiling

they struggle
against their strings
in the brittle sunlight
that pulls at them
through the window

they turn
in the merest drift
of breathing
and swim
in the sterile air

on ever-spread
of ghost wings
the cardboard whiteness
of their staying

(first pub. in Renaissance, 1969) 


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's tasty menu in the Kitchen, including lots of talk of last week's Seed of the Week, Where the Wild Goose Goes. Our new Seed of the Week is Danger! Explosives! Where are the mine fields in your life? Things you don't dare do or say with spouse, boss, that sulky teenager? Or, if you do/say them, are there explosive consequences? Write about the red flags in your life and send the results to kathykieth@hotmail.com

There are a couple of free publications waiting for you at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento: the latest issue of WTF (free but limited—get 'em quick) and the beautiful Cosumnes River Journal. And don't forget to check out Medusa's Facebook page for our latest album, Annie Menebroker's pictures of the WTF release party last Thursday at Luna's Cafe.


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

A string of geese—
a sense of lonely déjà vu;
a string of geese,
and I could feel the mind’s release
and nothing mattered but the view—
the phrase of light that filtered through
a string of geese.



—Photo by Joyce Odam