Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Blue Silence of the Boat

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


As you glide through the dark sleep
of your life
a strange boat passes—

slowly, slowly, through the dream.
I had to say this.
It is the truth.

You glide through,
wary of the sound and the light
which are simultaneous;

you follow the currents
and avoid what you can,
forever rounding the sharp corners

and squeezing through the narrows—
the strange boat is always just
ahead of you or behind you,

and you know it holds all your grief
and solutions as you try to lose it
and it tries to find you.


The circles of rowing :
oar patterns every
three lengths
of the boat,
leaving little oar-dips
that make circles that widen
until they match the rest of the water.
The circles of rain :
that bounce into rain-circles—
over-lap and
with the raindrops to come—
oh, making mirrors.
Circles of knowledge :
tree circles of growth—
you can see the circles
when the tree is cut down.
Spider circles :
circular and circular and circular
of creation,
of simple intention—
an apparent lure for trespassing.

(After “dewdrop” by M. C. Escher)
The way a brown leaf is placed on a red leaf,
and a white flower tucked
between as though the flower was only paper

and the leaves real.
Such is the making of desire out of loss
when all is metaphor:

the red leaf as a boat; the brown leaf
an oar;
the white flower, a silent occupant.

(After “DESIRING SILENCE: Holy Island”
from Lamlash, 1994, 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.


At an outdoor table of a café at Sausalito we left
part of our food for a gull who took a liking to us.

We sat still
and watched him steal from our plates. 

We could have touched him,
but we did not try. 

We watched him lift and bless
the simple sky with his boldness.

We were glad to remain still and offer
the token of our stay to such a candid creature.

Later, we took the boat away from Sausalito,
content with this small memory between us.

We did not know what to do with our remaining
hours—so we indulged in little foolish doings.


here is where we get to know :
we stop because the sea is here

all calm and blue and furnished with
two canvas chairs and a beach umbrella

frayed by the winds at water’s edge—our
shadows lengthen into the ebb of time that

glitches for a moment and lets belief sink in,
and we imagine a boat and wonder : it’s so far

to the horizon—we might lose our bearings—
the sea keeps washing up to the abandoned chairs



To be set adrift in the boat,
the water lapping at the sides
the companion sitting at the other end
comparing me all this time to its own silence . . .

and the thought of land, and the thought of sky,
and the turbulent depth, and to learn the motion
and sense of direction, and learn the patience
it takes, and never ask where we are going.


Today’s LittleNip:

On my island are places I won’t go:

the hole in the middle, the edge that fits the bay.
Another long night wears away.

Another full moon wanes.
The world seems made of broken window panes.

Life cannot swim . . . death cannot float;
how can I leave . . . there is no boat.

It’s the only land I know.


—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for today's fine poems and pix, and a note that our new Seed of the Week is My Camera Sees... Turn your lens upon the world—what does it see? Death and destruction? Peace and Love? Catch the world around you having good times, sad times, joy. Take some poetic snapshots, either in words or in artwork or photos, and send them to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. No deadline on SOWs.