Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Frail Wings of Effort

Blue, in Sun-Shadow
—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


It is the link between sleep and the dream of that old
woman dozing on the sand under her green umbrella.

It is the slant of connective night that creeps toward
her with its muting shadows.

In the deceiving fade of light she will seem like a
painting on the private beach of her private life.

Soon she will be under the momentum of the hour,
which will hold her in a protective unreality.

Soon the umbrella will flap itself into a bird and join
the night’s releasing darkness.

Soon the dream will admit her forever and take her
over the soft, unfolding landscape.

Gull-shapes will move around her in the ghostly night
air, and their cries will be her cries, as lonely as echoes.

 Floating on Memories


Late summer. Sundown.
A long empty beach.
Thinning cries of gulls.
Slow shushing of the waves,
only my footprints on the gray,
wet sand. I am singing to myself.

My memory house is somewhere
up ahead with all its lights on,
but I am not late. 

The waves rush up and back,
leaving small tickles of foam
and gold flecks on my feet.
The slow circling gulls
scold my presence
but I do not hurry or mind
their scolding. This is my time
to own all this—even them.

(first pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine)

 Shadow of Darkness


This haunted shore, at dusk,
everything turning blue,

that old specter here again
in thinning light that shines

through his body.
But I no longer go through ghosts

that appear and disappear—
the sea behind them,

churning the years away,
sad as time that holds back

some old distance, some recall.
I would walk alone here,

my shore—my hour—
to be alone on this old beach—

all the promises turning to sand, 
seaweed catching at my feet.

 Through the Veils


little-girl girl
sits deep into sand
digging her leather boot in
ignoring the winter
with a curious smile

all the tones
of the day are the same
the gray weather pleases her
she does not have to
grow up today

(first pub. in Paisley Moon, 1991)



Moth-words that do not connect, but say
into silence what there is to say,
find other than intention.

Frail wings of effort
fight the maze
of another’s mind.

Refusal and deafness
turn into weapons.
Love against love. 


After The Trees by André Derain (1906)

The trees seem to dance in summer glade
as though wishing to end
the season of leaves.

The trees and the shadows
conspire to make motion:
Motion and stillness.  Shadow and light.

An every-which-way of trees—
dancing with their branches,
with their shadows,

while hanging into the ground
that hangs onto them—
these trees that are painted for their dance.

I see them thusly—flung and graceful—
in winds I cannot see—in contortions of my
imagination, because I want the trees to dance.



What sound is this that stretches thin
like some old anguished violin

holding some note that stirs the air
and searches out the mood I’m in
and finds me—finds me everywhere.

I listen—though I put my hands
tight to my ears to filter out
whatever memory demands
of something that I cared about—

and lost. And oh, these moaning trees
can hear it too, they shudder so,
as if to lose some sorrow-breeze

that tortures them, that will not free
this sound, acute with misery.

 Blessings for the Sad


the old moonlight finds them,
giving them
its protection.

Time does nothing about this.
It slides on past
with all its environmental changing.

The moonlight has soft echoes
that reverberate to those
who love the trees.

The trees sense this and rustle softly
so the winds will move them at its knowing—
winds with their powers of direction.

Those who love the trees can sense this,
think about, the trees in their soft moonlight—
think about the trees and love them.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam   

gone up the beach
to read the word in the sand
left an arrow for you to follow
in the cloud formation in the sky

if you hurry and I go slow
we’ll come together
where the miracle awaits
it’s all a matter of timing


A big thank-you to Joyce Odam today, who did write about our Seed of the Week: Palm Trees and White Sand—although she stretched the theme a bit to include all trees. This is perfectly alright; there is no Medusa rule that says you have to stick strictly to the SOW. Just let it carry you where it will; it’s only a possibility to get you writing.

Our new Seed of the Week is Under the House. 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.

Drive up to (or down) to El Dorado Hills tonight, 5pm, for Poetry Off-the-Shelves read-around in the library on Silva Valley Parkway. Suggested topic is “out the window”, but other subjects also welcome. 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.

—Medusa, celebrating poetry!

 The Trees
—Painting by André Derain, 1906
For more about André Derain

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.