Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Holes in the Sky

—Poems and Artwork by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


When the sun came out this morning, it burned a
hole in the sky and spilled its black ashes around,
and whatever dared to look at it was stricken with

stabbing color—rings of nausea—jagged patterns
of blindness.  The dark hole of the sky filled with
blessing—the light pouring in—in all its radiance.

When the sun came out this morning, everything
that was too fragile thrived then shriveled.
Be aware that this light is forever.  It borders the

cold world and the cold heart alike.  It wobbles,
then settles into a golden ring.  Bask in it…  bask
in it…  let it heal whatever can bear such healing.



Stark upon the Chinese Elm,
topped for winter,
the large crow
ancient to himself,

does not dispute
the lack of leaves.
He utters his loud cry
from the cut-back tree.

Large by contrast
to the open sky
he makes a target-shape—
or watching sentinel. . . .

at twilight,
even larger,
he uses
the bare tree to advantage

silhouetted sharp
in distorted perspective
balancing . . .

a comic relief to winter . . .
cawing . . . cawing . . .
by turn calling,
by turn listening

he looks sharply across the
crow-owned world
to all the other crows
in their positions.

(first pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine, 1996)    


Today they cart the moon away
for it is heavy
and night is through with it.

It was a pale moon after all…
no match for dawn with its slow insistence
and gray intensity.

The rooster knows.
All night he tried to tell us while we slept.
He crowed and crowed.

How far we have come depends on love
and how much more we need of it…
like this moon…fading into thinnest silver.

(first pub. in CSPS Newsletter, 1995, and
One Dog Press, 1997)



We step outside and feel the first rain come

in soft gray slant and watch a first white gull

drift in on its soft glide—no loud wing-thrum.

We let this be the momentary lull

in our goodbyes.  Our winter hearts are full

of love’s sad joy.  A few more gulls appear.

We shiver for the ending of the year.


She comes to us again and howls
through our coldest listening,

moving like a wild ghost-shadow
across the land

where crows and gulls draw from
her energies

in nervous bursts of flight.
She tests our windows as if to enter

but only wants to remind us
of her power.

She is still as old as we remember,
beckoning with her eyes.

Our howling house
throws sparks on everything we touch.



when a bleak rain falls
and there is no winter for it
only a pending season of refusal

Who owns the rain,
that night-time blemish on dry sleep?
What sends the rain down?

The wet cars shine; they are
quivering, bright with cleanliness
under the faceting street-lights.

(first pub. in Cotyledon, 1998)


              after “Snow Falling on Snow” by Robert Bly

Four white birds press soft against the sky,
freeze there and cry.
What is this tale of snow that takes so long to tell;
what will follow it?
Stretching beyond all view, the snow continues; 
I hear its whiteness everywhere. 
In the snow-light, I imagine snow-dark, rich
with shadows, shapes and non-shapes.
Black trees lean in and mark the light—at night,
how stark they are—they even sing.


Here are the patterns of turning: snow tracks where
the road goes two ways—a design of follow.

That someone was here, then gone, is somehow
turned into sadness. This time of day the snow

looks dark: were they too late—did they arrive,
these drivers who turned where the road turned—

these left and right decisions? And then the snow
covered over, and only these remarks were left

for some kind of proving, as if remarks were needed;
and then the passive snow that melted into the

divergent ruts of some old travel. It doesn’t matter now.
The snow fell. The snow fell again. And then melted.

Today’s LittleNip:


Sometimes a loon
with voice of woe

calls out too soon
—in love or throe.

What moves it so—
the shadowed moon?

(first pub. in
Brevities,  2005)


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today’s fine poems and pix! For more about the Rhyme Royal, go to languageisavirus.com/poetry-guide/rhyme_royal.html#.VmXz3spNKlM

Our new Seed of the Week is Friends Who’ve Lost Touch. Send poems, photos and artwork on this (or any other!) subject to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. No deadline on SOWs.