Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Claiming Air

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

To where it all begins,

at some edge
of some dreamed sea—
some cove of blue that draws me there
to sit enclosed, to hide in the blue shadow
of the blue air and listen to the white cries of
gulls—watch the patient crawling of the waves
—the solitude of loneliness one learns to love…

or was it real—
only some composite of time spent
beyond the measured memory that thrills and fails.

I’m here—I’m there—walking toward this moment,
—who I am—under the wide imperfect sky that
fills with its vast moodiness, moving so darkly,
laying swift blue shadow everywhere—and
the white gulls that sound so anguished,
though beautiful and low—and I keep
them with me to become at least their
curiosity—never having left—no
matter how many cities later...

I knew this place
—as well as my life—its long
unreachable distance—this shore beside this sea.

Cartier Mother of Pearl Clock. 1925

To open the puzzle clock that does not open,

to understand the mechanics of time

that has its own dimension . . .

    A harp plays of its own accord in

    a shuttered room; a soprano sings,

    surrounded by the stopped time

    of a white metronome. 

To open such a clock is to impose your

curiosity upon the moving gears and the

arrowed hands that turn in tireless turning . . .

    A violin cries to another violin 

    in the white room of troubled music;

    softly, they out-cry each other.

To open the clock is to allow yourself an

unearned answer; the face of the clock 

will haunt your questions . . .    

    The sunlight in the room shines across

    the carpet to the white piano where 

    taut hands lift from the final note

    and lay them quietly down again. 


Up against the mountain

where the climb is high,

I hear the old sweet cry

of the crying bird.

It knows 

how I aspire

and why.

It flies aloft 

even as I 



It’s not 

the wings 

I need,

I am 

too slow.

It’s not 

for reach.

The climb is all I know.

After“Turn in the Road” by Charles Burchfield, 1917

Green trees,

a woods, 

a gnarled tree 

holding up

a lowering piece of sky 

above a darkened building—

staring at the turn—the only direction

from the imposing distance,

two white clouds (or headlights)

that grow larger and nearer,

but through the trees—

an unnerving sound in the breaking silence,

almost a weeping (for the loneliness)

almost a cry (save me)

or something  darker (find me) 

from somewhere beyond the turn

that keeps turning.



: comes to her arms,
comes with his heart all weeping
having broken himself upon his life
and lost the pieces,

how he cries to her,
telling his long and pain-filled story
giving it sharp and deadly

making it deep, carving it in,
how can she listen?


What of the white pallor of the sky
this day—this day without mercy, this
dimensionless day, this white-fog morning.

I test the skies with my gray look. How thin.
They could not hold me. I shall not fly
nor lift a dreary wing in agitation.

I may just sift against this day until I fit—
somewhere near or far—it does not matter.
I am in a drift.

Some wet bird lets a cry cut through.
I feel it reach
and offer back my silence.

Nowhere does sensation end; I am
all of it, the pale gray light, monotonous,
the few shapes wavering through.

The same bird calls. I open myself.
I let it through.


Fragmentary. This old light out of older light. Repeti-
tions. Believe in it. Let it lead you into its farther self.
You can go as deep as you dare. Its name is night. It
has many stars. Count them. Take forever. A child sits
watching you, blowing soap bubbles into planets.
Wings without angels fly everywhere. Oh, this is such
a night. Go with joy, that old foe of sorrow. Tell the
child not to cry. The child does not listen. The child
rubs an old tear into its eye, watching you for pity.
You are both lost and at home in this night-city which
has opened up its wing for you. Do not try to under-
stand this—you are not here. The child has dreamed
you. Hold the child until you die.



This is the power
of heaven :
No prayer can fill it.
No death can bring it down.

It is God’s mind, unentered,
mystery of
light and dark,
continuance and

Stars make it far.
But far is
where we are from it.

Paths of sunlight
seem to reach;

the intangibles are what
we seek.

Oh, cry then,
into the claiming air
for whatever is there.


The view is good from here.
Snow birds cry love to me.
The mountain peaks shine

and the sunlight pours down
on everything.
I hear the thin ring of bells

from valley churches.
I can even fly—soar
through all my dreams—

all explained. My body is light
and my mind
has never been so deep.

Love shines from within me
and touches everyone.
It is brief but good.

I feel a swarm of color
and am surrounded by sunlight.
I transform into all of it.

I have reached the magic number
of myself.
This year I celebrate.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

An old night-cry—sounding thin, sounding far.

I've been that far, that old—
reached—with nothing there tohold.
But why this night . . .? Why this bold . . .? 

—Medusa, with thanks to and thanksgiving for Joyce Odam and today’s fine poems and photos!

 Forever Blowing Bubbles...
(Anonymous Photo)
Our new Seed of the Week is Bubbles
For Saturday Night Live’s take on Bubbles, go to 
but there are lots of meanings to the word, “bubble”. 
Go deep, go wide, and 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 your bubble wands at. 
(Did you notice the bubbles in one of Joyce’s poems?)

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.