Tuesday, March 03, 2020

In My Garden

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


Woman sitting in the garden
in stippled light,
in artist pose.

The abstract light
plays with her face,
her thoughts, her clothes.

Nothing matters but the day
that turns. The hour

The garden whispers,
spreads its shadows,



Here in the dusk, by a slow bright stream,
the unmindful child—
ever at the brink of curiosity,
with childlike faith and followings—
comes to sit on the bank and listen to
the moving water shimmer past.

And the bushes sigh with disturbance,
and the dark trees whisper.

And the musing child—in the dusk—
in the rippling moonlight—
sits stroking the make-believe rabbit
the child would love to keep and love.
And high in the trees now, in the dark,
a Cheshire cat sits purring.



Here I come with my words 
in a bonnet to fling at winter 
across the warming weather . . . 
white rose petals . . . strewn by 
me . . . anxious to be liable for 
all this joy you are feeling from 
the poetries  . . .


HOME RUNS          

The boys play baseball inside the fence
while the field next to them is on fire.

Half the crowd is cheering the ball game
     from the bleachers;
the other half is at the field-edge
     watching the fire.

Smoke curls around them.  The crowd yells.
The cars are shimmering in the swift dry grass.

(prev. pub. in Swampproot, 1974)

 Blue Ribbon


The shadows conspire to hide the children.
The children laugh, we cannot find them.

We look behind trees; their muffling
wet leaves sound like whispers.

The timid flowers blend away
in a misleading direction.

The whole garden

We hold our breath,
until we know

there never were any children,
and there never was such a garden.

 The Music of Flowers


What is the end result
of all these beginnings?

Who has the map?
Who stole the map?
Did anyone make the map?

Such a perfect plan.
We were so eager.
It was all so perfect.

Who lit the fire
for the frying pan?
Why are we hungry now—

so defeated,
no longer eager,
starving,    starving,    starving,
on the vine.

 Rose, Sweet-Scented, Rose


pulling the roots
pulling them right out
straight out and up
through the heart and flesh
of the earth
laying them exposed to the air
which will shrivel them
pulling them right out
of the reluctant earth
which holds them so firmly
which tugs at your fingers
for grip
you and the earth
struggling for
the weeds

 Entering the Garden


Are shadows to be known
far in the corner-edge
where the sun sets first

enclosing all
that lingers
out of some dare

or curiosity —
out of some line
of an unfinished poem,

reluctant to continue,
or out of the shadow
that hushes with the flowers—

what sort of garden holds
such mystery
from innocent intruders,

only there to steal—
or only mean to steal
a single flower out of so many . . . ?


Today’s LittleNip: 

—Joyce Odam

My mother, with hennaed hair
her brown eyes shining
because she was young and flirty,


staring into Her eyes
in Her young photograph,
and I wanted henna in My hair, too.


Joyce Odam sends us irises and roses today, just as buds of both are raising their bonnets in my garden. Thank you, Joyce, for tilling the rich soil with your poems and photos this morning, celebrating our Seed of the Week: In the Garden, In Her Bonnet.

If you’re going to talk about gardens, you have to talk about Weeds, our new Seed of the Week suggested by Taylor Graham and kicked off by Joyce’s poem today, "Weeding". Send your poems, photos & artwork about Weeds (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 don’t forget to think metaphorically! Hey—what the heck is a weed, anyway…?

Today at 5pm, Poetry Off-the-Shelves poetry read-around meets in El Dorado Hills at the library on Silva Valley Parkway. Suggested topic for March is “green,” but other subjects are also welcome. Bring your own poems, or those of a favorite poet; or just come to listen. Free; all ages 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, grinning back at the Cheshire cat ~

"And high in the trees now, in the dark,
a Cheshire cat sits purring. . ."

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.