Tuesday, November 08, 2016

November Shadows

—Poems and Zentangles by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


There was a storm.
It was November. Night.
I was alone. I can remember  . . .

rhyme can soothe the troubled—
the wan and confused—the
drained, in need of something wild

to release the dark sky
of these combining torments.
Oh wild sky, how long it takes

to thrash your clouds and fuse your colors:
gray—blue and gray—until a halo,
made of your unhappiness,

redeems—such a fierce blue—
such a healing that followed . . .
valley healed . . .    stars again . . . .


After “The Munich Mannequins” by Sylvia Plath

All over town, store-window mannequins
gauge their night reflections.

Car-lights slide by, illuminating them
into brief exaggerations.

All night, they bore through windows
with their perfect, expressionless faces.

Sometimes, rain will beat against the glass
and alter their reflections.

Sometimes, a rogue wind
will rattle its way past, swirling up leaves.

There is always some random figure
that stares in with no particular intention.

The mannequins represent
lack—that hunger of greed or necessity.

A corner streetlight stares toward them
from its own monotony of function.

Sometimes, a late car leaves furtive tracks
in the rain and long echoes of headlights.                                                                                                  
Of course, there should be a lone cat here,
right about now, but none appears.

Now that it was really winter
someone had
drawn words and faces
on the wet windows.

The sleepers
heard no one enter;
when they awoke
the faces were just there
melting down the glass,
the words
too late for reading.

Somewhere a door
shut darkly
in another room;
there were cold footprints
in the hall
for clues.


"When the moon is lying on the window sill"
                                         —Anna Akmatova

. . . when light fell on the windowsill
and spilled into the room and the
room grew large with light
and the dark shrank
back and the
glowed with no one
there to admire or yearn
or simply see with no amaze
but an idle poem that wanted this to be . . .

(first pub. in Rattlesnake Review, 2004)

      A great silence overcomes me,
      and I wonder why I ever thought
      to use language.            —Rumi

Adrift in the whiteness, I am becoming white shadow,
not even the sky on this small lake to reflect me.
I cannot see the shores on either side.
I have no oars.
I try to think of the words for this,
but it is all sensation.
I may be caught in a stillness,
or I may be falling;
there seems to be no difference.
I may be borne upon the back of a white bird,
or maybe I am the bird.
This may be the true dream of my existence—
the one with no ending.
All is here, and was ever here. There is nowhere else.
I am a moment out of eternity—one snowflake—
one last tear that slips down my cheek
and reaches the corner of my silent mouth.
I taste my own existence.

Unfold your own myth. —Rumi

The first sister lives under a falling star,
followed by a falling bird;

Star and bird become those shadows of her life
that never overtake her.

One of the shadows lives in the mirror of her eyes
and sees what she sees.

The other shadow
follows her until she surrenders to its mission.   

The second sister resists:  of all the destinations,
there are two that pull beyond her will

as with all unknown complications that unfold:
why should she choose beyond end

or endlessness when there is such a map between.
She makes a circle with her life

until she arrives at one place
small enough to simplify—make ready for the third.


She holds a tamed bird in her hand
to signify her love for you. 
The bird is nondescript—confused

by the kindness of her hand.  Now that
it has forgotten how to fly from her power
it cannot remember the song of its freedom: 

as long as their eyes connect you must know
she is sincere.  She does not look at you,
turning aside in your clown costume and

tragic face.  You dress this way to amuse her. 
You fold your arms.  She croons softly
to the bird, her eyes lowered with tenderness. 

You are jealous of the bird, which does not
fear you.  You fear the gentled power of
the bird which rests so lovingly

in her hand—held there by its own illusion,
her symbolic gesture a riddle for the power
of your silence.  There is no bird.

(first pub. in Blue Unicorn, 2004)

                         by Thomas John Carlisle

When I praise, oh, when I praise—oh words
cajoled. I cannot hold the bliss of them, they fold
and fold

like words unrolled. 

Oh think of this : 

what can you miss of heritance.

I wrote a song to sing and sing—forgot the words
but cling and cling to memory of this. 

Oh when I praise the many ways of gibberish.

I wish and wish for more than bliss. 

I want the answers that I crave though I behave

in purest ways of eloquence—of eloquence

and need, 

and I believe with all my doubt in truth of this. 

How can I live and not forgive my only self

to only self of God. 

I found a word I want to use as if it’s mine :
enigmatist. I twist the meaning back to love

that needs a word to understand the praise I give— 

to live beyond the holy death of life, and praise the
fear, and praise the death and praise the life—

all separate.


Today’s LittleNip(s):


Just now—as before,
a bird crosses the window
in a swift dark line—peripheral.

* * *

Blue wind
out of gold wind,
taking the leaves,
then letting them go . . . .


—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for starting off our Tuesday with fine poems and pix!

Our new Seed of the Week is Kindness. 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 you can shake a pencil at.

Celebrate the light that is in you and in others, 
and the way poetry can connect those lights and 
cause that spark of understanding between us. 
And scroll down to the blue column (under the 
green column at the right) for info about 
upcoming poetry events in our area—
and note that more may be added at the last minute.

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.