Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Rabbits Rabbits Pickle Pickle

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

After “Runes” by R.S. Thomas from No Truce With The Furies

Crippling through timeless stairways—beginning
January with superstitious Rabbits and Pickles,

playing good-luck with the words and racing
February through the Ides of March—blustering

into April— caroling—Its Spring! Its Spring! and
imploring Spring with, May I? May I? but never

expecting an answer to nonsense. June was reached
with a sadness for all the marriages that would

ultimately fail and smiling with a certain weariness
how July preceded—less than the many birthdays

of August, and, September—oh the falling of the
leaves!—the falling leaves of autumn! Already,

and becoming sentimental about a scarecrow under
a red moon. Or was it October with its heady rush of

pleasure tingled with a wry sadness, knowing November
was already turning its page to let December through.


It is my August.
I will name it blue
for coolness
for the morning of it.

I will name it long
for my life
though I often weary of longness.

I will never let it drown
in relief of water
nor permit it
too much dark.

It is my August.
I am its bright child
who loves being born of summer.

I move slowly in August,
moving like mercury
away from the mirror
which always shimmers,
shimmers with my tireless image,
moving slowly,
looking at all that happens.

Nor will I hurry for winter
which I will name gray
though I often like gray
with its coolness and hiding,
not bright like August
not intense like August
not forever like August
which is mine.

(first pub. in Nocturnes by Joyce Odam, Frith Press, 1995)


Let us remember the
tyranny of rivers that carry away
all things remembered . . .

perhaps we are the shadows
of the river, born into a
stream of finding . . .

we suffer the many weathers
and ride the turbulence
as though a second wisdom guides us . . .

what is a river?—we have flawed
perspective, shadows that shift with
the movement of river-currents . . .

do shadows drown?—
we have felt them among us,
losing hold and blending . . .

where are the gods of superstition
and faith?—
we feel their shadows flailing . . .

Thin white trees at night,

struck by light in a blue forest—
only the forest of patterns
and directions,
sunlight and moonlight
and green rain
that falls when needed.
White flickers of rain drops
make tiny reflections
on the boughs and leaves and
even the shadows that notice them.
Here, there is nothing to be sad about,
for no one has ever been here.
These are but words for a mysterious memory
of a soul not yet born to this sad world
of so much damage and lament.

After Woman with Panther by Edmund Dulac

And there you are, Mother, before I was born,
walking your panther along the bronze
avenue of time. How tall you were.

Did the panther purr in its stalking glide—
its possessive pull—ahead of you,
as if bragging how tame you were,

the leash but a tie between,
wrapped like a leather bracelet
around your wrist. Where did you get

the peacock feathers for your cape,
sweeping so grandly behind you
as if still alive and preening.

The flirtatious spit curl at your cheek
speaks for your blithe mood at that
long-ago turn into the twentieth century

before gravity and change—where I
came into being—you,
of the only child, who had

a secret sister who kept coming
in and out of her own existence,
though you never mentioned her.


is she not the one
in the long wet dress
shivering through life

covering her shoulders with her hands
pressing her forehead
against cold glass

where bright lights, windowed,
do not warm her
nor night’s shadows cover her enough

do not think her only a ghost
wearing the blue glow
of your imagination

threading through the curtains of night
till there is no more left to be torn
her children will never be born

each year she fades a little more
into the sad memory you keep
wisping and wavering

in the least movement
of your thought
she is only your loss

the one you know will love you forever
if you can only hold her
closer than she is real

she is the old shadow now
touching you where you are shivering
covering you like a cloth



the child in my body is round
it sleeps in my flesh

I am older than pregnancy
but my child dreams of being born

I sit with my hands upon its heartbeat
it opens its eyes
and smiles through my fingers

(first pub. in Philadelphia Poets, 1988)

Today’s LittleNip:


birth, the child dreams
of being born—buoyant
on a sea of tidal mappings,

                                      on the sea of                  

                     tidal mappings—buoyant
             upon the dream of being born,
                                            the child.


Our thanks to Joyce Odam, she of the August Leo birthday, who writes about her photos today that a friend “brought me the beautiful tiny rose bouquet, from her/their garden, no less, so I decided I would send pictures from that. I took pictures each of three days because they changed from tiny buds to open flowers. I call them ‘Variation On A Rose’…” Thank you, Joyce, for these pieces of prettiness—poems and pix—to start off our Tuesday.

Our new Seed of the Week is a whimsical one which was inspired by the photo below: When Cats Learn French. C'mon—you're poets, and have wild imaginations, of course. See what you can do with a truly absurdist notion. Send your poems, photos and artwork about this (or any other) subject to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for more SOWs than at which you can shake a pencil.



 This anonymous photo came with the caption, 
“es mi gato se llama wifi y es estudiante”. 
Note the open LaRousse.

Celebrate poetry—and cats—and French!

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.