Tuesday, October 01, 2013

In A Word Is A Poem

—Poems and photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


I enter the pure white square.
It is a room. It has no patterned walls.
Its windows are night.
It rings with an artificial brightness.

I enter the pure white square.
It is a repetition—a confusion
of memory—a puzzle of mirrors.
It contains many others like itself.

I enter the pure white square.
Veils hang everywhere,
like partitions, like curtains, like folds
of enticement-sleeves that flutter and cling.

I enter the pure white square—
in its center, the eye of sunlight humming
all around—a melting of sorrow upon sorrow,
shimmering and shuddering with bliss and pain.



I find a leaf trembling on my car, and have
to save it, of course.  I believe in signs.  On the
handle of the door, just where my hand will turn
and open, this balanced leaf has fallen and held. 

I take it home to press in some old book,
marked:  Leaves From Sad Old Trees.



Gathering forgiveness as we would gather
miracles—it’s not the lack,

it’s the accumulation.
You expound and the stones listen.

Wary of each other, we drag a line between us.
Dancers edge into the light then disappear.

You name the sorrows—
none of them your own;

I embrace them
through the mirrors.

Light is the first resistance—
you are made of it.

My hand goes right through you. You laugh
and the skies tremble.

Birds fly up—and out—of the barren trees;
migod, we marvel, what are these?

We have forgotten such mythologies—
as surely as we do not exist for them.


We catch the ball of light
under the twelve stars
of some mysterious sky-symbol

and throw it to each other with
such skill that it shines in the air,
leaving after-streaks of motion.

Blue was never this kind,
not even the soft blue of twilight,
not even the cool blue of dawn.

Auras of silver surround us—
guide us over the wet sands
by this phosphorescent ocean.

Whispers muffle around us—
those presences again.
Our hands are the

deliberate hands of dancers;
our bodies follow, and we
cannot be silent about our joy.

The hours have more measure
than the moments.
We know a moment of pure religion.

We are bodiless…   Sexless…
Mindless even…
in this simplicity of movement,

this participation
in the surreality of thought…
this fanciful abandon…   This play.



the way it is ordinary,
as if it had no realization
of what was, and never is again,

layers and layers
of what takes the place
of life and its first drift of

sunlight over a gray day,
opening again
into another tomorrow—

a flash of yellow,
as if that bore
some importance here—

maybe only a shift of leaves
outside the window
as if a memory just happened.



Allow yourself one poem a day.
Speak sadly of this.
Taste its meaning.
One day a poem will taste sadly to you,
test your crying, taste your tears.
Sweet tears for sadness,
one tear a day for sad remembering.
Tell someone,
or keep it to yourself for savor.
Savor one poem a day.
Write it yourself.
Do not give it meaning.
Let it grate—or soften
your hurt meaning.
Let it linger where it hurries—
to—or away. Let it go, then.
There is nothing to say in a poem.
Allow this.
Wing it with falling
if you fall inward.
How will this matter?

Do not ask a question.
Questions have no answers.
In a word is a poem. Begin it.


Today's LittleNip:


Everything grabs out and hurts you
the way
the day
the merest helping hand
the shadow of the dust upon the floor.

(first pub. in
Red Cedar Review of Colorado, 1993)


—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for today's fine fare in the Kitchen. Joyce is talking about rescue and forgiveness for our past Seed of the Week: Rescue. Our new SOW will be something along some very different lines: What a Circus! Are we talking about your job? Your marriage? Your kids? Or something more metaphoric, maybe? You decide, and send your poems to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. No deadline on SOWs, though. The Muse has her own timetable......