Tuesday, June 19, 2018

She Who Is The Forest

—Poems and Original Artwork by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

Russian Impressionism (works by twenty-two academy-
trained master Russian Artists of the past and present)

She is the center—her own muse—
her hands on her lap, her face in a stare.
Memories rest in layers around her:
the closed distance of her mother,
the mute presence of her father;
the attentive white cat on the lap
of an ancestor—seven lives ago.
She feels herself merge,
tries to pull away,
but the past has got her:

the visions swirl:
the old house she lived in,
the murmuring linger of vanished voices,
the thick scent of flowers in heavy vases,
the road of tall trees down to the lake,
the old cabin on the eroding bank,
the drift of summers,
the place where it snowed—
the polished fruit on the polished table
back to the present room that fits around her.

 Suitcase Full of Travel

in the forest /She Who Is the Forest)

Your soul is your life—the deep mirror
of time—the reach toward and through.
In the divine center, you reach the
Self—become the blue forest—feel
the cool deepness of the trees within.
You hold still for the stillness—
create the silence—touch the other
depths—continue and continue—
become the summary of yourself,
and for this moment you are gone.
When you return, you will be untorn.



Wide sweep of wind across cloud-torn sky,
gray upon blue,
wild yellow grasses bending below,

a lone tree struggling in a nearby field—
this is free country,
nothing to surrender or resist,

no bird or sound but the wind.
The day is gathering the hours.
The grass is rustling.  Something

must happen, else why are we here,
the only observers, a place of no
landmarks and no roads.

There are many trees like
this lone tree. The clouds turn ragged
and tear through each other, hurrying, hurrying.


A window full of tree,

leaves through sunlight
        glinting in a green dance
              between air and light,

a mystery of birds hidden there.
        I hear them.  I feel the dance
              from inside the window.


After “Hands” by Paula Maarston

At night the hands play the piano.
The dark piano-room gathers in to listen.
The walls thin out so they can breathe the music.
The hands are bewildered that they can do this
and the piano does what the hands want.
The hands are transparent—asleep or
locked in a stillness—and we are
dreaming.  The piano dreams
too—and the room—and the
walls clear out to the trees
that swish with empathy
and feel the night-music
playing through them.

 What You Wanted


trees of white bend and make their motion
in the surrealistic whiteness
of their dance

old women move in memory—
their tethered forms soul-caught against
the shadowy landscape quiverings—

and they dance together—the women and
the trees—interchanging in the light
which startles them

(first pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 2011)



This is the edge of summer now,
this slow hot dwindle, cooling at both ends of the days.

We press between, half wishing for the rains of change
to come—counting ourselves away from the long humidity.

We stand and listen to the small city trees—how at night
they murmur under street lamps.  We look up at them

and feel the old sadnesses brimming—how could we lose
so much in so little a time? We take this measurement

inward once again and have no answer for it. We sway
and remark how beautiful the trees are in this light.

 Home Again


In the sweet green air of night
late summer winds rise up—play at dance,
tease the fluttering wings of leaves—
blow the curtains in through open windows.

The cat sits by the screen door,
looking out—
watching the motion of shadows—
the nocturnal mysteries.

The green trees
flicker under the street lamp—
approve the spotlight—
shimmer and preen.

Name it what you will,
there is
a change in the air;
something quickens—makes rumors.

The waves of the sea-painting seem to move,
you watch the motion of the water—
the wet color of the moonlight on the wall
—something you never noticed before.



Now there are flecks of yellow in the leaves
and flutters of rust in a damping breeze
in a motion of green made nervous by the
hour that is coming faster now to sundown; 

and a blue presence is being felt in some new
awareness that pulls swiftly at the sad remark
of some love that has died a bit with the summer,
but was here and now is gone—but when? when

did it go? was it this moment that describes itself
too late and all the power is being pulled into a
demanding darkness?  Night is the answer to
questions such as this, or morning when it comes

again to variegating trees.  “Two sorrows make
an answer,” is what you told me when I asked
an easy question of your eyes that were too full
of me, and, like the season, had begun changing.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

Now in the bluish air,
the lonely birds
and darkened windows
where the sorrows stare,

and all the trees
are stricken against the wall,
and here is where
the crystal moment
thaws, and what looks in,
is simply there.


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today’s fine poems and pix! Our recent Seed of the Week was Little Cabin in the Woods, which set Joyce to daydreaming of trees.

Our new Seed of the Week is Workshops. Go wide, go deep, and think of poetry workshops as well as carpentry. 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.


 —Anonymous Photo
Celebrate poetry!

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.