Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Bridge of Sighs

—Today’s Poems and Photo Enhancements are by 
Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


I carry the pail of darkness
up the hill to silence
which is full of stars
punctuated by sleep
which is full of seas
tidal at deep
pulling at all my skies
and land and
entering the structure
of my hand
which holds everything I am
and I put
the pail of darkness down
upon a dream
which is so reverent and real
and where I seem
to enter with my crime
which has been
given me to carry
and I am held
in humming danger
eerie light of apprehension
things to flee
a turning figure everywhere
and I am helpless
all my effort pulls
I follow into
each revision of myself
my arms attempt to lift
are held
my smothered cry surprises me
I am in a barren place
the sky pulls deep
I look in
the pail of darkness
am swallowed
by a sleep


Today a storm is pending . . . and those cries . . .
and those cries
of seagulls, inland-swarming . . . and those cries
that pull me to the window,
that pierce me to the core . . .
remembering . . .  remembering
a lost-in-childhood shore.
I’m haunted by that memory and those cries.

And now the thrill of seagulls in the air . . .
in the air
in all their whiteness, restless in the air,
so stark against the grayness.
If I feed them they are mine.
They are lost, and they are hungry;
they are accidents of time—
so huge and close and sparkling in the air—

co-mingling with the blackbirds—mews and caws—
mews and caws;
the gray air is electric—mews and caws.
And I toss some bread among them
and they circle to the bread
then fly off with their morsels.
They are fed . . . and I am fed . . .
I release my cry among their mews and caws.


Alice at lake edge
among the eagles and the ducks
and all the overgrown and eerie things
with awkward feet and wings
among the reeds and rising waves
that crowded flight and fright
and all so strange
lost here among them
just their size.

(first pub. in Calliope, 1989)



the lost mother found by the lost child who forever
needs love, even though loved, but for no particular
reason needs separation—

lives directed by circumstance—the answer ques-
tioned—insufficient to the loss—maps drawn that
are unreadable, so you stay where you are, become

re­gional, the lost mother still lost in her childless life—
but something reaches through—like a howl in wind
through the corners of a house.


High as the troubled sky,
a bridge of sighs,

stone by stone

for ultimate decision:
the bitter view.

Grief comes here to ponder:
feel the dismal distance,

cause no interruption
of the winds.

The other buildings
share their gloom and watch.

A seagull soars in white distraction.
Go back . . .     or leap . . . .



I cross this bridge by means of you—
my dead love—
dead to my eyes
and my voice
which calls and calls
over the span of your absence.

This is not a mourning for you;
this is a cry out of my own darkness,
and you not here to comfort me.
There is a difference.

The bridge is so long this year—
full of fog and swirling
cries of something out there—
barely heard and barely seen
and still we go toward it
with our awful loneliness.


Back through reams of memory—or time—that
abstract, back through all that was, to never was

—that far. How can you resist such burrowing
through the labyrinthine mind: whatever it wants

is never there, only some handprint on the spiral air,
only its closing eye, taking in the light: you are in

the corridor, but weightless—bodiless as a shadow
—only a thought now, sent by a question mark.

What are you seeking here where you have never
been, for it has changed after you, and everything

ahead waits to change behind you.



We are the light:
see us gleam for you.

Whatever is meant by dying
we do not know.

We know nothing about darkness.
It is a word.  Do not speak it.

We are the light.
We are the only thing you need to see by.

Give us your eyes
and the mind of your reality.

We know nothing about tunnels
or long eclipses of sorrow.

We have always been here.
We are real for you.

(first pub. in Poet Magazine, 1992)

Many thanks to Master Chef Joyce Odam for today’s fine poems and pix of “all of those tiny 'weed-flowers' I'm currently in love with... they are so perfectly beautiful and so 'tiny', they need to be looked at, admired, wondered at for their beauty…” For more about the Samisen form, see www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/1925-.html (scroll down).

Our next Seed of the Week is Wearing the Pants. You can always write about this literally, of course, if pants are appealing to you, but the metaphorical is usually more fun. Send your poems, photos and artwork on this (or any other subject) to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. No deadline on SOWs.


Today’s LittleNip:

Bridge in Paris, 1908, Wyeth
—Joyce Odam

Under the bridge
a gulf of darkness.

The road disappears.

The red sign gave warning,

but that was years and years
into the disappearance.



Celebrate poetry today by tackling the Seed of the Week—
and/or, if you’re particularly brave, the Samisen form.


Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.