Tuesday, August 27, 2013


As Is Through Leaves
—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


you see
the sun this
morning, how round
and red in the charred
tree, as if snagged
and bleeding
to death
there . . . .

(first pub. in Brevities, 2008)



As trees through blue fire
sputter and moan,
their branches tangling,
their roots in a lessening hold,
grasping for blue,
which may be sky or dream:
blue fire and red sky.

Oh fiery love and loss,
held together through all destruction,

what have you got to lose
but life and its memory?
—wild music rushing through like wings:
nothing so pure or useful
to love’s balance
in all its harmony and discord
—like all that music never written.


(8th time out)

You whom I must love
out of old fires
and ungatherable ashes
do not come to the
destruction of my eyes.

Do not enter
the casual embrace of me
else learn how dangerous
are arms for holding.

Never come to my mouth
with an innocent kiss—
never come that far.
It will be a sad returning.

(first pub. in Quoin, 1970)


This gray feeling. Shivering with danger.
Ashes all over our shoulders. Rags of
loneliness. Cold night glowing with our
eyes. Burning words all night to keep
the poor fire going. Hugging close to it,
feeling the thin darkness behind us,
pressing into our spines—this blanket
of disaster hiding our nudity, which is
how we know each other.

Sticks of meaning glow and crumble.
Soft ash rises into a hungry wind that
comes telling . . . telling the long night
what it knows. We dare not sleep lest
winter call us backward into death.
We are primitives—beginners at
survival, though we have done so many
times before . . . but not now . . .
but not here . . . .



I come with a heavy word now
for your lonely mouth

the kiss is heavy to
and made of weariness

each gift is broken first
to give you perfect sadness

I put my hand across your eyes
to say my darkness

I lay my fever
underneath your touch

I cry gray laughter
for your ashen echo

I bring you everything I am
and call it love

(first pub. in Oregonian, 1972)



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?


Today's LittleNip:


A wood fire in the
                      old black stove,
a saucer of milk for the
                         old black cat.
               lapping at the walls.     

(first pub. in Of Cats Mini-chap, 2002)


—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poems and pix! Out of last week's SOW (Out of the Ashes) has come some mighty fine poetry. As Labor Day barrels toward us, the new Seed of the Week is The Best Job Ever. Send your poetic thoughts and pictures about same to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWS; click on Calliope's Closet at the top of this page for more SOWs from the past than you can shake yer pencil (pen? computer?) at!