Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blue Silence

—Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
You read poems to me over the phone in your
melancholy phone-voice—a poem about everything,

you say. We laugh at that, because we each have
a poem about everything.  I hear you shuffle pages

of your large poetry notebook. We let small silences
drift in. I listen to my ceiling fan—hear your radio

in the background—some song I know. I hum along.

(first pub. in CQ Magazine, 2004)


                    DESIRING SILENCE: Holy Island
                    from Lamlash, 1994, Craigie Aitchison

—Joyce Odam

The blue boat waits on its reflection,
soundless on the motionless water.

The boat is empty and takes this time to sleep.
It knows where both the shores are.

It knows how to go back and forth between.
It lives in the cool shadow of the mountain.

The mountain guards the sunlight.
The water holds the mountain in its depth.

The boat floats on the mountain.
Time is measureless.

The water holds the boat like a trick of reality.
The boat does not keep time.

Time sleeps in the blue silence of the boat.
The boat dreams of the silence.

The red sky drowns in its own reflection.
The calm water bleeds every day at this hour.

(first pub. in Poetry Now, 2008)


—Joyce Odam

WHITE, like snow
WHITE, like fire

White fire, hotter than red
White fire, sadder than red

Heart white, like pain
Mind white, like silence

Who’s to blame, oh,
Who’s to blame?

—Photo Enhancement by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam

I turn to your absence;
late words pour—
things I should have said.
I scream at the door.

Late words pour.
My silences unlock.
I scream at the door
through which you dared walk.

My silences unlock.
Responses pour and pour
into your absence.
I scream at the door.

(Nonce pantoum pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine
and Rattlesnake Review)


—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.

(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine)



in a tender voice—
what will they mean

with their secret meaning,
foreign to the din of language?

They soothe; they are there
for the forgiving—

they have silence,
which is desirable.

Silence is their secret.

—Joyce Odam

(first pub. in DADs DESK)


—Joyce Odam

This wheel to this sound.
Intense vibrations. A borrowed word.

How slow the day
through its traffic of souls,

its absences,
its magnifying glass upon the silences.

This clock has stopped upon
an important moment,

as if all our lives
were made of stone.

I have kept the secret clean,
polished it into its variousness.

O poem of words that fall where they fall.
It is only the beginning.


Thanks to Joyce Odam for today's banquet, and to Taylor Graham for her LittleNip about 9/11. 

September is here, with its own flavor and banquet of amber light and charcoal shadows. Our new Seed of the Week is September Shadows: September brings the coming of Autumn, the dying part of the cycle, and now, in this country, 9/11. Sit down with your writing stick and see what September Shadows are lurking there, and send them to kathykieth@hotmail.com—or click on Calliope's Closet up in the fuchsia links at the top of this column for our burgeoning list of previous SOWs. No deadlines around here...


Today's LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

The clear sky shattered glass.
Across a continent
we felt the tremors shake
our solid earth. And still
those waves of air, their wake—

the clear sky shattered glass.
We left the writing stand
and watched the news again,
again. The papers broke,
ink seeping from the pen.

The clear sky shattered glass
around our feet. No, that
was figment of the mind.
And yet, quite real. Just look
at what we've left behind.

The clear sky shattered glass
as we looked up at blue.
Imagine lightning kept
in clouds unseen that night.
They gathered as we slept.



 —Photo Enhancement by Joyce Odam