Tuesday, October 27, 2015

You Call Me Sadness

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


Behold me now in autumn.
Love after love
I drift through something golden.
Name it anything.
I die with the sun
and live again in leaves.
In the blue corners of my shadow
I wait for rain.

I fathom to your eyes.
You feel me dancing.
You would dance with me
but the light is hollow.
You ask if I am real
and I answer you with laughter.
You close your eyes
and I slip behind them.
You call me sadness.

I come to you again
when you are
tearing from the trees.
How faceted you are,
holding your corners up to the wind,
giving me the bright happiness
of your tears.

At last I know you.
You are the rain.
I tell you how it is to be
half golden—half blue shadow
and you keep breaking into
silver pain.
I turn my body into silence,
but you have found
where I keep my love
and you are singing.

(first pub. in The Small Pond, 1971)


of pre-dawn
just after night’s blue rain.

Winds of no color
break through the night,
sending the dark green trees
and leaves into a flurry.

Even so,
small chirping sounds
of softest yellow
burst here and there.

A squirrel scampers
along a frail board fence
outside the listening window.

I hear all this through
a slow, reluctant waking,
gray threads
of dream-fragments tearing away.

Then comes
the soft gray blue
of morning : 6:00 a.m.
Just like the clock dial said.

Old October disguised as summer again. An ur-
gency begins, as of something unfinished. A
quickness in the light. A richness of movement.
Wings. Sounds break at the edges. The calendar
begins to die. The pictures turn into an album.
Did we do all those things marked in the squares?
The great sadness of time begins its mourning:
quick, quick, quick.  Oh-h, for the losses, quick
and rare—October, disguised as summer again.



to the (un)familiar—
not thought—
this is whim-si-cal advantage,
the mock(ery) of everything in view.

Oh yes, the window, famous now,
for all the looking—freedom for the eyes,
the air grown heavy from smoke—
from burning trees—forests of disaster.
One can smell it.

Only on the news, we are here,
at the edge of looking, feeling the fear,
the “what if”  already over-burdened,

One color opening into others,
so richly overwhelming.
It wants no memory of this.
Close the window—
looking out—close the window.

After “An October Evening, 1887” by John Lavery

An autumn evening with light still waning,
surrounding her shadow, the dark chair

disappearing, the window burnished red,
dull gold mixed in—her thoughts

dormant—her face blurred
through a mirror

that is far away—
that will not answer her stare.

Who is she—
if not Her Self—

any one,
and any where.

She who was the most beautiful
to her beholder,

now exists in likenesses by his eye and brush,
his shortened memory:

his nonexistent, perfect female
after the art of all the others.



How can we tell the tree from the sorrow?
They are both the same. Leaves convey
the same feeling as tears on a moving face.
The wind loves this and comes murmuring.

The trees bend in the murmur
like a dancer fluid with many movements.
The rain remembers and returns.
The rain is the wind’s tears.

Trite! Trite!
Scream the crows.
But the women continue weeping,
the women who are the crows.

Old! Old! Cry the saplings,
and they preen in the rain until golden—
they preen until a sad old face
looks at them from a long drought.

But they are fastened now
to the last of the memories.
Lost! Lost! Screech the crows which are
blights on the air, disassembling.

But the trees are the wings of the air
and they lift into bright pretensions,
patterns that entangle with the crows,
and they claim each other.

In the first memory is the innocence; 
in the second memory the sadness is born;
the third is the prediction, since it is the memory.


This is the autumn we’ve waited for all year;
we are the falling leaves—the fierce red light
that turns the air to copper—the brimming night
that echoes this for hours, like a smear
of ancient blood upon the sky—minds clear
and open to the season—to the sight
and feel of all that hurry with hearts that might
turn rhythmic to this churning atmosphere.

We are the ache and joy of all that change—       
transfigured into something newly strange—
an older blood-flow urgent to belong—
happy to follow some age-old desire:                                            
We, who are an old, nomadic pair,
becoming now another autumn song.


Today’s LittleNip(s):


leaves of autumn—
crushed to sidewalks
except for
this one.



I have set an apple on the table
for you to look at.

Hence, table: flat surface
covered with white cloth;
background: a black diffusement.

All else is not employed.
What color is the apple?


—Medusa, with many thanks to Joyce Odam for today's fine, fine poems and pix, and a reminder that our new Seed of the Week is Masks and other Guises. Send poems, photos, and/or artwork on this (or any other) subject to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWs.