Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Come to the Hawk Land

Unicorn Dragon, Species Unknown
—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


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 flex a dreary wing in agitation.

I may just sift against this day until I fit—
somewhere far or near—
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 monotonous pale light,
the few shapes wavering. The same bird
cries again.  I open myself.  I let it through.

(first pub. in Poetry Now)

 The Watch Bird


Come to the hawk land.
Bring bones.
Wear necklaces of teeth.
Watch for the slippery shadows.

You will become as one of those
who have always lived here.
When you hear wings,
climb stones
till you reach the nest.
Climb in.
Lie on the dreams.

The children you own
will thrive here.
They will be wild and hungry.
They will choose their own names.
They will live precariously
on the cliffs of your fear.

Whoever loves you
will never undo your power.
The shadow is your love.
The nest is your land.
The hawk is your mother.

(first pub. in The Bridge, 1998)

 Blue Cow, Loves Music

(Whitby, Ontario, Canada)

It was not there, as you describe it, but elsewhere. It was
Canada. A small tea shop. I learned to love Blue Lady tea,
took some home with me, even bought a blue cup.

My windows turned blue with rain that winter. All my
words were blue, the things I meant to say.

Later, it snowed. I walked away into a predictable blue
loneliness. Time was a new measurement, different for
both of us. Time was the key.

(first pub. in Peripherals: Prose Poem Anthology,
Rattlesnake Press, 2009)



This house is dream—

loud with strangeness.
Its rooms shift and re-

connect in different houses.
I am outside of them.
Inside is something I terribly want

but can’t remember what it is.
My tears offend a cruel face
with a mouth that curls in silent
words. The house shifts again—

will not let me in until I
remember what it is I want.
The cruel face at a window stares
until I cringe away and ask
another set of rooms where I belong.

 Extinct Zebra, Unclassified


I borrow grief for these old journeys.
Grief is heavy but will sustain me
with experience and advice

for slow cold nights ahead
when there is none to know
or care

that I am going anywhere.
Yes, grief is what I need
to take along

as offering to each new place
where nothing can
assuage this loneliness

for somewhere that is home.

 I Want an Exotic Name — Cosmic Rabbit

After Ledger by Robert Ryman, 1982

a limitation of blue
a square of sky
no wind
only an abstract wall
to hold the disappearance


After A Wall by Winslow Homer

White painted over white
thick as shadow
texturing the scars
walls have.


Have walls
scars? texturing?
shadow as thick?
white over painted white

 Blue Horsey


So where we go is all pale again
as if the landscapes were done by
a dim artist with no love for color.

When we go to those places
our bright clothing fades and
grows softer
and we blend against the softness


All that was harsh of our minds
is mended and forgiven—we would
mention this
but words are forbidden.

Are we less happy now?
No. We are serene.
We love looking, though we
close our eyes to save this pleasure.


We will not come home, you know;
we have become the new providers
for all other distance:

We bring it our sweet nature—
our small adventures—
which we tell in the night
as dreams we pass among each other.

(first pub. in Famous Last Words, 1988)


everything sounds pale
even the silent voice
from a pale distance
of anything that pale

let’s take the “e” away
and add an L” —
(a lower-case “l” )
pale, now, has a pal

or else add one more  “l”,
change the vowel sound
(—a pun for fun—a)
Pall—for Pale, and Pal.  

(We could even climb an alp.)


Today’s LittleNip:

            “Long walk home”

the dusk tide-line,
the day going under—
a few gulls—the sea calm, taking
my time.

—Joyce Odam


Thank you, SnakePAL Joyce Odam, for playing with “pals” from our Seed of the Week and turning it into pale and pall… Such is poetry, that you can always have your way with words. Want to be a SnakePal? Send poems, photos, artwork (anything but your REAL household pals) to kathykieth@hotmail.com. A SnakePal is, after all, anyone whose work has appeared in the Kitchen…ever…

For more about
Ledger by Robert Ryman, see www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/robert-ryman-1888/. For A Wall by Winslow Homer, go to www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/11147/.

Our new Seed of the Week is Homesick. Send your poems, photos & 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.

Poetry Off-the-Shelves meets today at the El Dorado Hills Library in El Dorado Hills, 5-7pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.     


 3 Household Pals
—Anonymous Photo
Celebrate Poetry!

Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
           in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.