—Poetry and Original Artwork by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA
I think I’ll go away—find me a new place to be—
somewhere blue, with a blue door—a blue seashore
on one side—and a blue mountain on the other;
between these, will be the blue door, one to each side
of a small blue room, where I will be, in a blue center.
DRIVING THROUGH THE HILLS
these levels of hills
beyond which reach the sky
and my yen for distance
one blue upon the other
shades of distance recede into the
the hills come to me now with their
overlapping tones and shadows
old twilight hills that I am watching
a thin line of river flows up the mountain
leaving behind a small lake
upon which a small island is floating
THE QUIET RIVER
On smooth mirrored water the low boat glides,
doubling itself and its occupants, taking the day
lazy and long, a small black cat leashed to the bow
for luck, the rower and the one who just leans and
watches admiring the thought of themselves created
by art : the red shirt of one, and the blue shirt of the
other, a low fog misting, soon to involve them, tame
as a shadow, the black cat staring down at itself in
the staring water—not even a ripple to show them
moving through golden fog toward some shore—or
deeper—the paddle inert in the rower’s hand while a
drifting thought holds them immobile : the featureless
cat and its featureless double, the boat turned upside
down so the sky might swallow the whole tableau
if it wanted to—nothing can drown here : no room
for a cry, the thought too shallow.
flecks of sunlight
moon flecks at night
the underneath is lost
to all the consequential
flow of them
whatever stays whatever goes
names the rivers…
each calling… each drowning….
THE RIVER BANK AND THE RIVER
All summer, the long grass
reaches out toward the river…
the long grass leans and leans,
but the river is too swift
and will not wait for the slower grass,
but just keeps urging… hurry… hurry…
IN THE WHITENESS
A great silence overcomes me,
and I wonder why I ever thought
to use language. —Rumi
Adrift in the whiteness, I am becoming white shadow,
not even the sky on this small lake to reflect me.
I cannot see the shores on either side.
I have no oars.
I try to think of the words for this,
but it is all sensation.
I may be caught in a stillness,
or I may be falling;
there seems to be no difference.
I may be borne upon the back of a white bird.
or maybe I am the bird.
This may be the true dream of my existence—
the one with no ending.
All is here, and was ever here. There is nowhere else.
I am a moment out of eternity—one snowflake—
one last tear that slips down my cheek
and reaches the corner of my silent mouth.
I taste my own existence.
flow—should I risk the urge
to challenge what I dare not know—
how your swift music could become a dirge?
Proud swimmer, listen to my song of praise;
do I tempt you with my power?
Your hesitation sways . . .
I am only
SURROUNDED BY ALL THAT RIVER
I spiller of wine on sundays
in boredom of solitaire
and late t.v.
sit on the floor
in red chiffon
watching my small glass go deep
while I surrounded by
all that river
go shallow then deep
(prev. pub. in Scree, 1976)
When I was the one, the first holy one,
of my other being; when I knew myself,
and the way of myself
and out of longing for myself,
and there was no other,
and even then I sought,
and my own blood was flowing,
and I bled until I was pure of my bleeding,
and this was God
in my pleading,
and I answered,
and was ordained to ever ask
and still I complained of my prayer
and my conviction,
and I went to the tower of words
and it was a mountain
and it leaned into the falling sky
and even then I signified nothing
for a moment,
for a long, powerful moment,
and was united with my birth
long after I died,
and thus I cried and cried
for myself and others
and nothing came to me
except my ego which was made of words
made of thoughts, and they entangled.
Oh, why do I remember this?
It was all done before it began,
and I was diminished.
My tears drained me and I was a river
pouring down a mountain in the eyes of God.
THE LITTLE RIVER
How beautifully the little river flows
along the narrow banks . . .
how windingly it goes . . .
taking its flashing ripples and its leaves,
given by the sun . . . and wind . . .
and shedding trees . . . .
—Our thanks to Joyce Odam for her tower/river of words this sunny summer morning!
Our new Seed of the Week is Relentless. Everything seems relentless these days: the heat, the quarantine, politics. Write about it, and send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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