Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Begin with Daydream

Fifteen Petals
—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


no wigs for my baby
her snake hair
has been washed with
singing shampoo
she watches it dry in the mirror
she tries on
dark dresses to be old
she is unsophisticated
with such an open face
men want to kiss her
she with her soft mouth
so wet and shining
she who does not
smile lest she give
her face an expression
her eyes still smudged with
mascara from another time
she likes the way they look
she tilts back her head
and shakes her electric
hair across
her back and shoulders
she hugs herself
she looks at herself through the
slits of her eyes
she will not frown or speak
she is innocent of herself
she knows
who she must love



Eve as a young girl,
soft as a new leaf

Posed before
ever a camera;
at the brink
of herself,
her long hair brushed

by a morning breeze,
her eyes
taking in
the brim
of shadows . . .

all that future
to grieve . . .
the innocent world.
is her mother?

 White Stimuli

After The Plumed Hat, c. 1919, by Henri Matisse

Too young for such a hat
this ingénue sophisticate

stares long into herself,
changing the expression of her face

to suit the feather—brim,
and lace—liking the way

it tames her hair
and makes her see

her self—

in voile dress
laden with beads—   

the listening way
she stands

and stills her hands
and fills the mirror with her eyes,

seeing Her…   Her…   Her…
in such a hat.



The dolls mope through your absence with blue stares;
they mingle their thoughts,
and you suddenly miss them from wherever you are.

The dolls are as misty as ghosts—fading backwards
even farther. They no longer play with each other.
They are no longer jealous for your attention.
They huddle together in your transparent memory.

The archaic dolls have forgotten what it is to love mirrors,
though they seek their faces there
where even yours has begun to disappear from them.

 Leaning Ever Toward

After An Irish Girl by Ford Madox Brown

Hiding it, almost—as to steal it,
holding it, close to her shawl,
safe as a frightened dove—
eyes wary, intense with fear,
or anger, or both. How will she
ever get away with it—
the room is watching.
Her lips pout,
from lies,
It is only
a paper flower—
not from that fresh bouquet
on the glass-top table;
not from that painting
entitled Blue Flower
that hangs on the wall
all year, kept in shadow.
Why would you doubt her,
she is Irish. Why would you
look at her like that, she is young,
she has a right to steal from you;
you have a right to suspect her—
decide on her honesty or guile;
you have the right to let her lie, and
let her lie, while you circle the room
and watch her face. It is all about the
small blue flower that she guards so fiercely
and insists it is only a paper flower and it is hers.

 A Green Stillness


I would name her
or Praise—

there are so many names,

Youth on a Dare,
Beauty at the Ready


There are so many of her,
liquid as the rain after summer.

She shines.
a laugh escapes her eyes
which are clear
and fastened on forever.



Now she is young and asleep—
vulnerable—in a dream—
she who at once

is old
and undesirable—
time swinging back and forth

like a pendulum.
Who sees her—one way
or the other—the eyes of love—

with memory’s vision—
fragile as a puff of air
upon a turned-white dandelion?

 Bold in Sunlight

After Young Spanish Woman with Guitar by Renoir

Long before
I would ever yearn to hear it

you have been chronicled in art
for me to decipher,

sure of your smoldering style,
the intensity

of your concentration—
oblivious of me,

your hands at work.                        
And I am only your poor listener

for what I would hear :
wild flamenco from your guitar.


After Young Girl Writing at Her Desk with Birds
                            —Painting by Henriette Brown

Let not the cage
confine the thought, door open,
bird released, much like a poem, uncaught.

To trick the word, prepare another word.
Coax it.  Let it surprise.
Say thank you.

Begin with daydream.  Begin with stare.
Begin with pen raised over page.
Wait for page to rustle with excitement.

The page lies flat.  Refuses.  Songbird
becomes Muse—pulls your attention
to its nearness—does not sing.

The cage hangs on the wall,
shares its emptiness with the quiet room.
Song waits.  Poem waits.  They will happen.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

Mind in muse :
summer by the sea,
a rented cottage,

music pouring out the door—
our young excuse for being careless
with the long sweet days;

the way we squandered them to life,
like summer’s driftwood
on that changing shore.


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today’s fine poems and pix (and Medusa poem!). All these youngsters are Joyce’s take on our Seed of the Week, These Fragile Young.

Our new Seed of the Week is Tomorrow. 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 plenty of others to choose from.

And my apologies to Robert Lee Haycock for yesterday’s snafu; I duplicated two of his photos! The problem has since been fixed, and you can see the proper ones if you click on “Older Posts” at the bottom of this column. Sorry, Robert Lee!


(These Fragile Young...!)
Celebrate poetry!

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