A small, white, fluttering moth wavers
past the car and over the fence—and there
at the first weed-flower—hovers a moment,
then seems to vanish in a white shudder of air.
It re-emerges in lower leaves
of the pear tree—tangles a moment—then
lifts into a shimmering path of sunlight
that takes it in, and the white moth is gone again.
But no, it still flickers in and out
of its own quickness—tangible or not—
a white movement, teasing the mind to follow,
like words of a poem found in a fleeting thought.
SUN-MOOD CANCELLED BY RAIN
It is too bad that it’s raining.
I have felt sunshine all day,
floating around in my head like a light.
/ / /
Now little splatters of water
are hitting against the glass.
My mind is becoming gray.
/ / /
The paper is loud under the quick pencil
but little drops of rain-words
make the poem go away.
(prev. pub. in Bay Area Poets Coalition Anthology)
I saw an animal about to die, the realization made me cry
another extinct creature on the edge—held in the tender
hold of someone’s expressive arms, holding with real
love and care on the TV feature—warning us—all
about the world—about to fall around us with
the guilt we share—with the old familiar
plea ! doesn’t anyone care ! enough !
how can we let this happen !
decade after decade with
so much gone, not even
— poor old world—
terribly sad about us now,
no more room or time
to fix it all, till it is
no longer anywhere
saving all the
the headless bird
things I break
when I am out of love
(prev. pub. in Writers Showcase, 1971)
It was one of those rare nights when even love
seemed possible. Reach was allowed and magic
was sure to happen. The bird of my poem ap-
peared again, slower this time, wary of glass,
but with a message. Again, the lack of language
was between us, though his manner—his eyes—
allowed the mental question—the riddle of his
presence—his lack of urgency. Why did I feel
breathless, as if an ending was happening, even
at this promising moment? He perched on the old
limb of a branch that barely swayed. I felt the
loss happen, the solving of the one fairy tale I
failed to understand. The effort felt so far away,
and how could the bird live to be this old?
FROM A LOST SUMMER DAY
I sink back into tall green grasses.
A soft breeze bends the grasses over me.
and reform. Voices call my name—
my name that I do not want to hear.
I will not remember my name.
I am in my dreaming.
Awake. Floating in the sea of grasses,
I, and the motioning green shadows,
borne upon the width of forever.
I will never come out.
I am green grass and green shadow.
Even the sky makes room for me—
all energy—one wide presence
everything alive in my thinking.
A child wants to be alone with child-self.
No voice. No calling.
(prev. pub in Medusa’s Kitchen, 2011)
AWAY FROM THE MOMENT
It was the lift through the wings of sorrow
that drew us upward, and we allowed the
transformation, and did not know ourselves . . .
we were awe and vanity . . . a train poured
between us with its haunting . . . I would have
spoken of this, but it was gone . . .
You were indifferent. “Look at this,” you said,
and put your finger to the glass surface of the
mirror, and we broke like water.
Abruptly, I come back to the moment—or
near enough. (How long had I been gone?)
I looked around, and someone lowered a glass,
and someone was saying something just before
the laugh, and someone was turning toward me,
urgent and consoling.
After Bathers and Columns (1980) by Lester F. Johnson
upon each face
not the person
TIRED OF EACH OTHER
How we tire of each other,
as in the ordinary ways—
the quick ways—
It’s in the ways
amenities are lost
and habits become
that old excuse.
It’s the windows and the doors
and of course, the mirrors
which are all synonymous
with claustrophobic thoughts,
all stretched to exaggeration with
the various regrets the Self explores.
It’s what we know of love that can’t
explain itself, gets mixed-in with the way
the mind distorts to misery and tired refusals
of the heart, so righteous and unyielding that
take so long to heal from all the woundings.
THE WAY OF THE WAY,
the quick or gentle swerve,
debris all around,
no clear path across the
grieving and remonstrance,
how it all licks together in a sob—
that cry—oh, that cry
So what will grief do
but cry—inwardly and long—
for whatever grief can’t forgive.
Expound. Expound on this—
as if this can
A mockingbird is still singing—
in the backward tree—
How can this be . . . ?
and now there will be nothing to say
too easily the parting moves away from the holding
the long journey away from goodbye,
so easily the tender sorrow after sorrow
torn now into aftermath—
a long word apart,
just the last connection of eyes
so full of what they want from each other—
what they need,
the quick kiss on the cheek and the waving goodbye
“Expound,” she says. “Expound on this—as if this can be fixed.” Today Joyce Odam is expounding on grief, as her long-lived mockingbird friend weaves in and out of these poems—bringing us solutions, maybe? Or just the wings of sorrow? Our SOW for last week was “Quick Fixes”, and sometimes, Joyce seems to say, there just aren’t any…
Anyway, our new Seed of the Week is a form of meditation for next Saturday—Liberty. Go wide, go deep on the subject of liberty—even get a little patriotic if you will, or personal, or hopeful. We need it! 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.
Join Facebooks groups for on-going submissions info, such as www.facebook.com/groups/156020074604805/. Other current submissions possibilities include:
•••ActiveMuse calls for poems for Varsha (rainy season, 2020): www.activemuse.org/submit.php. Send quicks, shorts, poems about Healing. Deadline is July 15.
•••The West Review (quarterly) wants year-round submissions of poetry, prose, art (www.westreview.org/submit.html). See link for info about pay! Next issue comes out in September.
•••Silver Birch Press invites submissions to its LANDMARKS Poetry and Prose Series for their blog, which begins in July. Send prose or poetry about landmarks you have visited, famous or otherwise: silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/. Previously published is acceptable, as well as non-published work. Deadline is July 31.
•••Locally, Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest deadline is July 18; early submissions appreciated. Entry Forms and Contest Rules can be downloaded from friendsofthelincolnlibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/Voices-of-Lincoln.pdf/.
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