Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


This dawn, the old mockingbird—
I know he was an old bird
for his song was very rich and long

made of pure melancholy
and mad joy in the same true notes—

this dawn of this laden day
he filled the brimming sky
that he knew so well with his deep singing.



is the soul
of the long day.
It is lost
for awhile
in half dark
and half light.
It moves through a time
of forget and remember.
The sound that it makes
is shadow.
The place where it goes
is night.

(first pub. in The Human Voice Quarterly, 1968)



a horse on fire streaking across
the horizon its red mane whipping
behind it and the dark sand burning
like a mirror under the igniting hooves


The old lover faces into the sunlight and sees his old lover
in last silhouette and thinks how his blindness fastens beauty
to an old regret, and notices how his own arm is still
attached to some failing gesture as he reaches for a word,
and how her hair is wild against the sky as she turns away,
and how his eye, through a blear, sees how far away the
dusk is from the dawn, though how similar the tone of light
is, just as a thought is recollected in time to fill a conversation. 

And she, in her dark vision, notices how he wears another
rage of dying color on his face, and how his eyes burn
through her as he lowers his arm and finds another silence,
and they stand for a moment, like this, full of time and lack
of time, and some shadow crawls between them like a dog
and licks their shoes which blend into the grass, and a bird
flies by, oh, just in time to save them.



Light lingers past the evening,
reluctant as I to bring
day down like a final wing—

a sky-bird made of such light—
turning to fragments so bright—
to watch it, eyes could turn white.

Just for a moment it’s there,
sweeping the sky like a flare,
though I continue to stare.

The bird of dusk is undone—
last silhouette in the sun,
flown over the horizon.


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's beautiful poems and pix! A few notes about area goings-on:

Editor Carol Louise Moon writes that the staff of Sac. Poetry Center's Poetry Now recently made the decision to discontinue the journal's online component. 

Don't forget that the SPC Fall Lecture Series begins this Thursday and will continue on alternate Thursday nights through Dec. 5. See www.sacramentopoetrycenter.com/literary-lectures-fall-2013-season for info.

The latest edition of Ekphrasis, edited by Sacramento's Laverne and Carol Frith, is now available; write to them ekphrasisjournal.com to purchase a copy.

Available online is the new Solstice edition of Canary: see hippocketpress.org/canary/index.php

I've added some new deadlines to the Submit area on the green board to the right of this column; note especially the Jack Kerouac Poetry Contest in Davis, deadline Sept. 30 (and thanks to Michelle Kunert for the heads-up about that). Michelle notes that winners must be willing to commit to reading at the Beat Conference at the John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis on Oct. 4. See www.natsoulas.com/tthe-9th-annual-jazz-and-beat-festival-beyond-the-beat-generation/jack-kerouac-annual-poetry-contest for more info.

This will be a busy weekend, both here and in the Bay Area, with both Watershed and 100,000 Poets for Change happening. See the blue board (under the green board at the right) for details.

And finally, we were pleased to hear that Sacramento's Jeanine Stevens' poem, "New Delhi", recently won First Place in The MacGuffin's 18th National Poet Hunt Contest. Judge was Philip Levine. The poem, along with Philip Levine's commentary, will be featured in the Winter 2014 issue of The MacGuffin. Congratulations, Jeanine!


Today's LittleNip:


This is
the silent time
when dawn is crisp and new
and the first sound that starts the day

(first pub. in
The Oakland Tribune, 1960)


—Medusa, with a note that our new Seed of the Week will be Rescue. People save us all the time (and we save ourselves), either literally or figuratively. Write about it and send what saved you to kathykieth@hotmail.com  Or write about something else—anything else! See the Calliope's Closet link at the top of this page for all the SOWs we've planted in the past.