Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On Snags of Time

—Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

To begin this odyssey, we gave away all 
we owned—kept our map in a secret 
place, and memorized what we could of 
it to dispel our growing terror at the 
thought of thieves. The Spirit of the Self 
seemed far away but we had to find its 
shrine which filled the empty place of 
our imagination and desire. The village 
faded behind us with all our old connec-
tions. I could not relinquish everything. 
I kept a souvenir-cup from when I was a 
child; later we would drink from it and 
use it to scoop and portion with. At last 
we reached the shrine of our long seek-
ing—a small place, really—not what we 
expected—set way back, with all its 
windows broken, the path to it over-
grown. But something told us this was 
it. Though worn-to-the heart with 
weariness and dried-up tears, we stayed—
content at last, to repair its damages, 
hack its weeds.

(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine, 1998)


—Joyce Odam 

Nothing here is familiar—
a land of whispers and sighing.
The sky has lost its color.
Rusty mountains guard its borders.
At night there is a crying.

Old dreams gather to escape from memory.
But memory follows them
like timeless travelers.
Giant flowers lean and murmur—
offer the gravity of answers.

Morning will be cold again.
The land will wake to loneliness.
The birds of sorrow
will return
but without their singing.

The spirits of love and loss
will resume their searching.
The moans will sharpen everywhere.
The mournful gods will say, not yet . . .
not yet . . . and speak of love to one another.


—Joyce Odam 

seagulls drift in the white sky
and are not amazed that it is night
and my dream of them

they cry their white cries
and search for themselves
in the translucent dark

all night they make the sky invisible
and my sleep that harbors them
I am held in dream’s white soaring

 —Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam

What of the room of longing
that holds no lovers now.

Sad curtains tear the
dusty sunlight.

All day the old room-shadows
search for what is gone.

At night the voyeured window
brings it all back,

when the closed room fills
with ancient moonlight.

(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine, 2007)

—Joyce Odam

They turn away from what was theirs.
The long afternoon. The joy of yesterday.

No music follows. It is a quiet time.
A time of eloquence, with no more to say.

The landscape shimmers.
A small stream continues its thin journey.

The sky goes white.

They have no horse.
They have no wagon.

They have only their walking,
their same direction—

still resolute,
as though without regret;

they grow smaller
as though distance beckons them.

They dissolve together in the gathering light.


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's treasures! Our next Seed of the Week is Unexpected Pleasures. Send your musings about the little (or big!) things that surprise us, like the cool breezes we've had recently after all that heat, to kathykieth@hotmail.com


Today's LittleNip:

(An Octo)
—Joyce Odam

Wandering through the mauve garden,
bending like old trees toward night,
leaning our shadows together.
Is it sadness that we feel—or

something unknown that we deplore.
Leaning our shadows together,
bending like old trees toward night,
we wander through the mauve garden.


—Photo by Joyce Odam