Tuesday, February 04, 2014

What We Cannot Have

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento

(After "The Beautiful Savages" by Georges Barber)

Love flaunts by—out of reach,
in a lure of three: dancers,
or models of costume,

and green-stockinged—
wearing dyed feathers,

and beads—
in a bright window

full of time’s transitions—
winter’s hot-house
for icy eyes to melt through

with praise, envy, signs.
Mirrors know their secrets,
how they entice, comply—

reflect desire—
all three
miming: Choose me.



Crescent Moon.
A dream.
Sea stars sparkle.
The shore is far and lonely.
A beautiful fish turns into a woman.
A desire.
Frail moonlight quivers upon the dark sea.
The sea suppresses.
Beautiful woman turns into moonlight.
Her long red hair pulls toward you—
her luminous scales glimmer like gold—
shimmer endlessly.
A crown of sea shells holds her hair in place.
She trembles shoreward.
Still she has not reached you.
Her hair tangles away from your touch.
Maybe she is not real—
maybe she is only real to losses like this.


(After "Square Limit" by M. C. Escher)

Braid of woven silence and sound—coil
of lines bent according to the weave
—a complexity of pattern and

the materials that work with pattern—
intention obscures thought upon
thought that holds the secret:

white is relief—
as black and gray are relief
to white—center is always reached

—as are the edges.
What is first:  Idea or result?
Bind the edges.  Let nothing out.



Oh, how I want, and find I cannot have—
I who would challenge everything that binds.
Every restriction—every pitfall—finds
me back at some beginning, nothing to grab
but hands that slip away. A curse—a laugh
escapes my mouth for that far-shining blinds
me still—and my persistence winds
its dull way forward—and its dull way back.

Oh, how I pity me—woe after woe.
Longing, for what it’s worth, does not teach much.
I lick my wounds and wish it were not so—
for still the need continues to aspire
beyond reality’s elusive touch—
and at the end, there is only this desire.

(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine, 2005)


How else am I to arrive at this place
and not be changed, no matter the map. 
Old lie.  Old truth.  The forces here
were lures, attractive and needy. 
One merely yields.

That is not what the plot is. 
No.  This is The Escape,  the thrill
of almost being caught.  The moon
hung upside down in the heavy water. 

We looked in and begged to reach. 
An owl laughed.  A formless shadow
pushed at our leaning.  You turned
first, something so far on your face
I shuddered back.

I left you there, bent away from me,
becoming the center of a vast shimmer.
I grew cold then, torn from something
that I knew and wanted, but not yet.

(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine)          


(After "DESIRING SILENCE: Holy Island
from Lamlash," 1994, by Craigie Aitchison)

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)



It is in the superb language of love
that desire meshes with fate—

oh, merely fate,
with its own agenda

never the true—or even the true.
Love is victim to the game,

for game it is—poorly played or
brilliantly.  How easy to discuss

the points of review, the win or lose,
the simple tactics, carried through.

Only the thinker knows—the casual
thinker, sitting here, thinking about love.


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poems and pix! Joyce writes that her healing continues apace, with, finally, a reduction in the pain that has plagued her hip these many months.

Bill O'Daly writes that last Wednesday’s scheduled Tiferet Talk interview was rescheduled for 4pm today (Tuesday, 2/04), owing to a last-minute unforeseen circumstance. This link (www.blogtalkradio.com/tiferetjournal/2014/01/30/william-o-daly-tiferet-talk-with-melissa-studdard) will take you to the Blogtalk Radio webpage where you can listen live to Tiferet Talk, when poet, bestselling author, and host Melissa J. Studdard interviews William O’Daly. The interview will be archived and available for later listening. And here is the link which will take you to the Facebook page for the interview: www.facebook.com/events/286458858169976

Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow last weekend to find it all too too overwhelming, so he went back in, forecasting six more weeks of Winter. (If they'd use a groundhog out here in the West, he'd have a much different opinion, yes?) Anyway, our Seed of the Week is Six More Weeks of Winter. Make of it what you will and send your poetic/artistic/photographic results to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWs, though—click on the Calliope's Kitchen link at the top of this column for our ever-burgeoning list of past SOWs for more ideas.

Today's LittleNip:

(After "The Desire and the Satisfaction",
1893, by Jan Theodore Toorop)

Their gold faces speak of desire
and satisfaction—
such has their love been taken.

Their eyes burn with after-
thoughts.  Hers turn away
from his haunted stare.

Gold bells weep into dying sound
along the surrounding wall;
gold leaves fall from the sky—

for it is imperial here
with wealth and power—
except over love.