Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Seas of Effort

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


We catch the ball of light
under the twelve stars
of some mysterious sky-symbol

and throw it to each other with
such skill that it shines in the air
leaving after-streaks of motion.

Blue was never this kind,
not even the soft blue of twilight,
not even the cool blue of dawn.

Auras of silver surround us,
guide us over the wet sands
by this phosphorescent ocean.

Whispers muffle around us—
those presences again.
Our hands are the

deliberate hands of dancers;
our bodies follow, and we
cannot be silent about our joy.

The hours have more measure
than the moments.
We know a moment of pure religion.

We are bodiless…   Sexless…
Mindless even…
in this simplicity of movement,

this participation
in the surreality of thought…
this fanciful abandon…   This play.


There is something about the color
of the sea . . .

by the seaside, many dreams
are buried in the sand

the unrealities of the heart
are found and lost

the colors here are
indescribable hues of twilight

graced by sounds and sighs
that whisper endlessly

the colors merge into the night
the gracious seas protect the shores

the lingerers—    the undefined,
all in the senses, tidal as the mind.


The music that haunts the most
is always blue, the kind of blue
that merges into black and gray,

that comes from every ragged hurt
there is to share and what the
inarticulate will ever try to say;

some city-street-musician plays it
every day—wailing inward like a
winter soul, long-beaten down and

long-removed from hymn or lullaby,
though, here, the lost still try to
pray—too poor for more than what

they have become, scavenging at
emptiness with hungry hands, being
everything the street blues say.


After “Song” by Federico García Lorca

The crying creature
magnifies the night with its cries. 

The round moon weeps into
the little pond—

there to hold all the tears
of the inconsolable one

who has lost what it has lost
and feels what it must feel,

for its little heart is broken,
and its eyes are red from

so much weeping,
and it cannot speak for its sadness—

and the round moon knows this and keeps
making little tear-circles in the pond.


Lest I let my heart be broken by 

too many truths—

my spirit sullied by 

lies of the soul—

bewildered by my darknesses  

—how let the terrible light 

be a blinding fact to my groping. 

Body is proof. 

It gropes and limps 

through years and centuries

— forward and backward 

into myths and superstitions—

native to nothing but Self

—a nomad 

of every homeless thought 

to bless the wondering 

that cannot free 

the mind of murkiness—

or clear the eyes from sadness 

and terror in such a prison 

as one can stay imprisoned in.


what kind of bird would rest in this dead tree
or do I give too much meaning
to winter—
that cessation that feels so final
I see no bird to spoil my thought—
turn metaphor around
to find some quarrel with my question

and then a peacock
ambles through the mist
and slowly strolls around the tree
—then fades back into my imagination
to further censure my consideration
of the curious way things go

—the tree
does nothing
to assuage my pity
for its tortured silhouette
but stand
in bold refusal to be troubled by its dormancy…

Benign to my eyes,

this quiet tree
out the back window:

after rain

through the leaves
down the trunk

to the ground
still cool

the air
bright and preening

letting the washed light
pour in

whatever held me
the moment before, releasing.



rest yourself
upon my
I am
a thin haven
not too much land
on either side
I leave myself
and open to
those silences
that listen
I am
the one vibration-line
they cannot hear
you can hide
with me
for awhile
if danger comes
we will be
so small
it will
pass over us
I will not entertain
or love you
I am a
quiet resting place
of kindness only


They had ordinary names, the kind you never remember;
and their lives were ordinary, uneventful lives—not the
stuff of novels—just small stories, with little morals in
conclusion, like childhood at its dearest.

And they could be counted on for sameness. Careful was
their direction, and Moderation was their theme. Their
ambitions were domestic; their undertakings not beyond
their means. They never coveted or blamed. They barely
loved, but it was comfortable.

Life was not Feast or Famine, and in their secret hearts,
it was the same—no great betrayal or despair to try to
fathom. Their illnesses were mild and common. Nothing
chronic. They liked classical music and they liked to stare
out windows at the weather.

They killed each other with kindness, finally; and I guess
that broke the pattern of their lives: They could not believe
their grief—their great relief.


Today’s LittleNip:


you were surprised
to go so deep
and come back gasping

air has not been kind since then
its bare, flat echoes thin
and dwindle out

your own sensations
ebb and fade
into another sea of effort


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for starting our Tuesday off right with her fine poems and photos, her flowers reminding us that spring is always just around the corner.

Our new Seed of the Week is The Eagle’s Cry. You could take this literally and write about the eagle, or you might remember that it's our national bird, and write about it from that angle. Anything is possible in poetry! 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 an eagle's feather at.

—Medusa   😅😆😇😉😊  (Lord help us, now she's got emojis! Blogspot just introduced them, so fasten your seatbelts......   😘😘😘)

...and an emoji!  😃
(Look! I can make them really big!  😛)
—Anonymous Photo
Celebrate poetry (and books of poetry—
and cats—and emojis) today.
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.