Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Enigmas of the Senses
—Photo by Joyce Odam
ADMIRER, ROSE, AND RAIN—
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
She is bending to smell a rose.
Will it allow her nearness?
Which is the most beautiful
to any admirer—
self to self—
or rose to rose?
Does the rose open fully?
Do her eyes close?
Will it dare to rain
and ruin her hat—fill the rose
with sudden raindrops
to hasten her away—splat, splat . . . ?
Follow the thread of light to the forest.
Listen for the bird
with the white wing
caught in the web
in the eye of the
in the green time.
Follow until you
feel the thread tighten.
Do not struggle lest you break
the chance to free the web of its desire.
—Photo by Joyce Odam
In the rich-blending odours
of the garden
where flowers vie for preference . . .
In the stimulations of the mind
for the immaculate view of white birds
ascending into a white sky . . .
In the icy feel of water on the hand
from a flowing stream where tiny fish
dart through your fingers . . .
How a taste will linger
hunger for a food—as with a kiss . . .
How love only listens
for what it wants
despite the resistance of another . . .
How hard is this to realize
when all is nothing at the end of being
— a profanity to the mind
that cannot comprehend the sorrow
of the soul—or the figurement
of whatever god it needs and refuses. . . ?
(Long Beach, California—Circa 1935)
The smell of the chlorine water.
The fountain in the middle.
The walkway around.
Chairs and benches on two levels.
The way voices grew wet
and echoed into humid tones.
And how warm it was in the winter,
in the blue and white tile,
and the streaming walls,
and lights that refracted everything
to a shimmering surreality.
the wading men and women who
strolled in the shallow end together,
bending to splash themselves
in a slow ballet.
And some would swim out to the fountain
to sit on the ledge-circle
under the pouring water.
And even those who did not wade or swim
but only watched,
leaning from the railing, or from chairs
on the first or second level,
felt the calmness that was
never quite the same . . . the world was here,
in timelessness, suspended, insular.
the world was here . . . I don’t recall
if there was every any music
or just the sound-absorption
of the people
in quiet seriousness . . . spellbound . . .
by this closed atmosphere
of just watching
and just being there
THESE BLUE WAVES BREAKING
These blue waves lift forever to the shore
as if practicing time in suspension.
They pull in from the eternal horizon;
the dark rocks wait for their fall.
The sound of their breaking is just about
to be released.
The turbulence of blue churns with impatience;
the layers of wet light glow upon the sand.
tang of memory.
The gulls have just lifted away with their
The sky’s last light is slipping and slipping
into time’s darkness.
And in that darkness, the waves finally
and silently break across the picture frame,
right up the tangible edge of my wet shoes.
Thanks to Joyce Odam for today's sensory delights! Mother's Day is coming up; let's celebrate it with poems about Mom's Jewelry Box. You know you sneaked a peek or two in that cache of her hidden treasures; what secrets did you uncover? Anything you didn't know about her already? Write us a poem or three about Mom's Jewelry Box and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see—or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.