Tuesday, July 08, 2014

A Silence to Fill

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


what is this pall
of spirit

upon me now
I feel
like something heavy

something heavy upon me
let fall
a pall

upon my spirit.
I hum in my soul
that prisoned bird inside of me

in a little songless cage
hooded with my life
how it hurts there

it is all I can do
not to free it
it is all I can do not to let all the dark out

so the flood of light can enter and cleanse
the soul-bird
how I want to hear it sing.



It was I came to wisdom late.  It took a fall or two.
I’d rather wait until a fantasy will let me through
to childhood when my life was new—
eager to jump at the first boo
of scary tales—not knowing what or who
it took to get my goat or leave its clue
for sorting out.  I thought I knew
enough to simply brew
the truths together with a few
more lessons that left a small blue
memory-mark of loss that flew
right though my life, just starting to unglue.



My fear talks to me in a different mirror,
haunting my image with his,
if indeed there is a gender. 

His under-voice is a hum in my head
as though thinking to himself
but knowing I hear.

is behind me in the glass
is behind him in the opposite glass.

Why two mirrors
for this? I think. And his eyes
respond. Must I console him? I wonder.


you thought to brave the sea
when you went toward
the great rock
growing out of it
beyond a cove in the distance
where force converged with force
and caught you—wave and undertow
in the exact moment you would arrive
with your camera-eye and innocence
off guard—
to see the other side of things . . .

a breaker found you first
you were surprised . . .
you almost drowned . . .

but here you are
to tell



Walking out from the center of the mirror, I
face three directions and am at once at the
mercy of three compulsions. Thus am I split

into the three measurements of existence:  I
am past, present, and future, and yet I am of
the mirror, that mothering eye that will not

diminish or release, but give only a glimpse
of illusion—that bordering reach that drifts
off the fathomless edge around me.   If only

I can pull away at the exact moment, I will
escape the unguarded blink that must occur.
Even now, I can feel my three selves slip the

magnetic hold of my own fear and reluctance
that pull at the weakening center—if only I
am that brave—if only I can break my own
trance, and that of the mirror.


My brave mother—
jamming the broom
down—again and again
into the waste-basket—
killing the mouse.



Racing through storm, illusion after illusion,
full of generous miseries and loyal regrets,
facing the contemptuous mirrors
with all you can muster,
facing the oblivious
truths of your soul
or are you hero
now, facing up,
measuring up,
standing up to yourself,
before it all goes false, before
it all vanishes—wipes you out as if
there is no regard to be had for the flicker
of life in your terrible eyes, oh desperate one.


The year you were dying.
a man stood on a vast plateau of ice

and looked out over the horizonless reaches
at the vast calmness and imagined your death

as his own. He knew nothing of you,
nor you of him.

This is a later recognition.
I give it to you as a gift of human connection:

that one could connect to another
and not be aware.

It is internal—
a thought one has when

there is a silence to fill with something more
than unnameable longing.


Today's LittleNip:


Is this enough for your ego?
This praise we give is sincere.
A hero is always needed
in times like this, when all is lost,

when anything is worth its cost.
A hero is always needed.
This praise we give is sincere.
Is this enough for your ego?


—Medusa, thanking Joyce Odam, whose first poem today triggered our new Seed of the Week: The Old Anguish. And about yesterday's photos of honeycombs, photographer Caschwa (Carl Bernard Schwartz) writes: "The past couple years we endeavored to remove hornet nests from our premises and were rewarded for our efforts by a large population of black widow spiders.  This year we decided to just let the hornets be (they don’t assault us even when we are outside eating watermelon) and like magic, the spiders are gone!"