Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Where To Put The Loss?

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

“Listen to the sounds of waves within you.”

A bell.
A feather.
A string of white nerve.
Your mind in a frame of thought—
deeper than deep, where you are now,

in curve of blue, in shine of light. 
Don’t go too far—
stay in the real,
know where each is,
eyes closed for inner balance—

letting life go into un-life,
mystery of who and where,
the push and pull
of real and unreal—
you between.

How ancient you are.
How new.
One is the same,
except for the difference,
except for the fleeting loss of self,

except for the knowing
which will forget.
The bell
makes a sound.
The white string twists.

The white feather loses connection,
floats down as you float,
your mind
continuing its curious journey.

 Breathing Light


Wearing the light now
you are illuminated and
your edges shine.

All around you
is a path
that winds softly under your feet.

You are turned
both toward me
and away from me.

I can see you are transparent.
The mist of your presence
is very fragile.

I want to touch you,
but you shudder.
I am afraid I might break you.

You become filled
with energy
and compress.

You enter shadows
that escort your darkness
into their hiding place.




It was, and then it was nothing.
You were out of proportion.
Your eyes looked away.
Where was my face?

Two mirrors claimed you.
You were a broken illusion.
Was it love—the broken dream—
the sigh that died before it reached?

Only your eyes could say,
but mine looked inward
before you could answer.
Where were the words we needed?

They were the stillness now.
You were torn by window light—
gashed and bled of all color,
except for the pale flush of silence.



Picture this : rain falling on the sea, a small boat
rowing an impossible distance, three vague occupants,
self-absorbed and straining against their own endurance.

Or maybe they are only figments of the distant eye of time
scanning this desolate reach, the sun low enough to reach
if one could touch the horizon or calculate the distance to

some unseen shore, just as far, the sun not having moved
from its position. Which choice will prove worthy of
the dream—surely this is a dream : the soundless air,

the everlasting breathing motion, the sea is barely real,
a wish, the boat placed there for struggle, for conflict,
for isolation, for being the center of some mystery.

Never mind the intention of some other mind, like yours,
at a loss for meaning other than what is surface-caught—
a quick glance into death—that eternal patience.

 Asking to be Remembered


is she not the one
in the long wet dress
shivering through life

covering her shoulders with her hands
pressing her forehead
against cold glass

where bright lights, windowed,
do not warm her
nor night’s shadows cover her enough

do not think her only a ghost
wearing the blue glow
of your imagination

threading through the curtains of night
till there is no more left to be torn
her children will never be born

each year she fades a little more
into the sad memory you keep
wisping and wavering

in the least movement
of your thought
she is only your loss

the one you know will love you forever
if you can only hold her
closer than she is real

she is the old shadow now
touching you where you are shivering
covering you like a cloth


After Origin of the Greek Vase, painting by Auguste Rodin,
and “You Who Never Arrived”,  poem by Rainer Maria Rilke

She enters through your mind,
caught unaware
unready for the pain

that thinking lets return—
after yearn—

more perfect now
by all that absence,
all that loss.

She enters through your mind
in flawless reproduction,
sensing your recall

and happy to return
to love that is ever restless for
perfection such as this.

 Another Time

(Upon reading May Sarton)

How can we take love
into memory again,
spend it twice, like a rare coin

How make room for it
in a dead heart 
(echo...  echo...)

How can we lose the words for it,
worn like a ring
too tight for a finger

When does the pain numb
beyond sensation,
which, itself, is memory

How does the mind know
when to let go—
where to put the loss

give it back—
to the one who does not want it
in the same regard? 



The curtains hang damp at my windows—heavy as silence.
I lie upon my own heaviness. Ghosts of the room melt toward
me. I float toward the ceiling which is wavering away. I do
not know if I am sleeping or if I am awake under my sleep.
Tides of desolation wash over my dreams.  Sounds of the
world drone away. I grow into the curving shape of air—
the ghosts dissolving around me in the slow persistence of
these gathering hours.

 With All My Heart


In the immensity of loss, to be a small figure at the edge of
a flat sea—forever at calm for a flattened eye; to stand in a
brief forever with a far-reaching stare into the loss of possi-
bility through air that is gold with sunset and as far as the
soul’s horizon—to stay here with no need to make one more
fierce or melancholy cry where there is no ear and there is
no answer—this timeless moment that stays in the suspension
that is mind in memory—sorting the self out from the enor-
mity of despair. This is a moment to pluck out of God’s own
eye that will not see the soul’s dark power—that even out of
this dissolving of hope into hope’s failure, there is still the



muraled here for contemplation—or discovery,
whichever is moot—aside from the paleness,
rendered theatrical and sad—with curling

white ribbons—floating—catching on snags
and corners—the faux surface peeling through
the under-painting (the past?) a staircase

and a fence and one high window showing
through. Alongside the largest tear, a clown
and maiden who seem to have gotten free of

the curling picture, standing awed and tentative,
still in costume, not knowing what to make of
change and loss and stunned by circumstance:

How long has it been? Where are they? And
who? And how do they just step from there
into real existence with the night door closing,

its familiar shadow easing over them once again.


Today’s LittleNip:

Morning and evening
Someone waits at Matsushima!
One-sided love.

—Matsuo Bashō


Joyce Odam has painted some vivid pictures of loss, our Seed of the Week, in her poetry today, and we thank her for that and for her as-always evocative photos! Our new Seed of the Week is Mix-Ups, suggested by Carl Schwartz (Caschwa). 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.

To read Rilke’s “You Who Never Arrived”, go to www.best-poems.net/rainer_maria_rilke/poem-14306.html/.


 Origin of the Greek Vase 
(Watercolor, Gouache, and Pencil)
by Auguste Rodin

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.