Saturday, April 30, 2022

Fruit From The Tree

—Poetry by Stephen Kingsnorth,
Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales, UK
—Green Man Visuals Courtesy 
of Public Domain


The story of this sycamore,
as ancient lore, a tree of life,
whose squirrels gather winter store,
if where forgotten, sapling grows.
The canopy, a hiding place,
nuthatches headfirst, make their mark
uncurling bark, find canapés,
beak garibaldi, biscuit bugs.

The green man, universal sign,
a deity, a jack of all—
who else is hidden by the climb,
horizon scan from vantage point,
to see above the crowd below?
There is a man, against the grain,
who rudely asks himself to lunch;
it seems he shakes the fruit from tree.


I love sheen, floribunda leaves,
bright red-green cushion, perfume, bloom,
but gardener forked, spread dung beneath,
under the rosebush, scattered muck.

When dust seems layered everywhere
and all needs polish, drawing out,
I start, patina, table top,
to reach the waxing moon at last.

So every grey, sad tattered thing,
needs riches drawn—from horse or bee—
that donkey outlaw, label worn,
cut palm fronds, coronation ride.

This fleshy husk needs burnish too,
obese fat folds that ripple still,
just as in cradle cot, pink buff,
a foot, note gloss of baby oil.

And there’s the rub—rejected, old,
as lamp from which the Jinn arose—
for truth is not glazed, varnished dream,
but where rejected meets our need.


My class mates, having flown the nest,
each nurtured as their type,
a brood once nestled underneath
transfused with feathered milk.

There are a few cuckoos,
transplanted other sets,
orphaned, unwanted, given up,
ruff moniker round neck.

Some born myth of kingfishers,
from rafts of raging seas,
their halcyon remembered,
perch statues flown in flash.

One faithful is of woodpecker—
claims rebirth through the tree,
while twins borne by buzzard,
seek another sort of prey.

Top scorer is the owlet,
found wisdom working nights,
while plodders are the waders,
the curlew, redshank, snipe.

My own would be pelican,
breast-stabbing vein release;
I speak not of self-harming,
except self-sacrifice.

She daily pours her life-blood,
the cords of love which bind,
as cordial she pulses,
to grant her son his rites.


Of childhood, rapeseed, paler shade,
with richer stalks in sunflower rows,
both cloth of gold and mellow field,
amber flags in boggy moss where
starred before marsh marigolds.
We read the heavens on our backs—
traced cotton wool fluff float above,
then rambled, soft clouds underfoot,
shared memories of yellow, blue—
though wore the ghosts of borrowed shoes.

And then we learnt the County Code,
still shut the five bars as before,
closed, tossing stones at old tin cans;
caught smoky buses, rural roads,
deposited near railway halt.
And soon the city, crowds, exhaust—
all that for year in fortnight packed,
the trunk to loft where it got stuck
forever, as the world had changed—
no more swallows or amazons.


I carried a Pisa pile
towards the door desk, greyish tinge.
The bright street frontage, poster glow
felt-tip scrawl announced, not Alexandria,
but fire damaged stock for sale.

High School me, taken self to town,
found this people-free paradise;
miser pocket-money in pig-skin purse
and upstairs warehouse, rickets stairs.

Cubic capacity, volume of books,
as if building razed, scarred library,
leaving untidy, uneven
brick foundation course which might
totter, crumble, bravely stand,
though interleaved mortar might fall about.

Column or torus, cheapest heaps,
towers, footstools, pilae stacks,
with floor before another plinth,
classic publishers fading pink,
a hypocaust for everyman,
Dutton, Dent and Routledge,
English bricks in global walls.

Picking through rough rubble site,
bombsite pages still bound, intact,
I sifted authors, faint pencil fly
just a dime, though ‘just’ is mine.

Juvenile choices from printer’s block tray,
lines with words, incunabulae
of literature, devoured by hungry,
on every page of history,
appetite never satisfied.

Short boy, still teen, conservative in style,
probably in jacket, tie,
like tight-rope walker
stretched balance reaching towards cash register.
I waited while she totted total shillings spent.     

Seeing selection for my shelves,
she posed was I a teaching man?
Now feel six feet tall
I chuckled, denied,
but volumes carried, swelled with pride,
a glow recalling embers laid
around these for basement prices paid.
If she could read those light lead-marks,
eye-sight good in that dinge site,
more confident my bus stop stride.

Though fifty on, two yards from here,
those tomes look grand; yet still unread.


—Today’s LittleNip:

My mind is like my Internet Browser: 19 tabs open, 3 of them frozen and I have no idea where the music is coming from!

Around Here Magazine, Spring, 2022


More wry humor and subtle insights from Stephen Kingsnorth today, and our thanks to him for cyber-writing to us all the way from Wales. For more about the Green Man, see Every gardener should have a Greenman. Actually, you probably do—you just don’t know it.




For upcoming poetry events in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page.

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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world—including
that which was previously published—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!









Friday, April 29, 2022

In the Mind's Soil

—Poetry and Photos by Taylor Graham, 
Placerville, CA
—And then scroll down for  


An outskirts cottage,
an old lady intent on her garden,
picking at weeds as if mincing greens
for a sauce—
I gave her a nod, but no response.
She never saw me. I was already gone,
as morning got on with its evolution
of sun from shadow opening skies
for wind to carry us
but for colors left over
in the mind’s soil, to grow
and harvest for another day.



My dog’s barking at sliding glass door.
Who’s there?
3 white-crown sparrows and a brown towhee
pecking seeds fallen from the feeder—
wild turkey hen (iridescent copper feathers!)
That’s all I can see
except ground squirrel high-tailing away—
no doe with fawn
no fox
no neighbor, or unexpected delivery man—
no crunch of tires on gravel—
what does my dog see/hear/smell that I can’t?
So much we humans miss—
I’ll follow her outside, discover morning.


We’re tied and torn apart
by weather—swirls and curls
and splatterings of cloud-forms
to highlight and obscure
the Earth beneath us—as
if every turbulence
on land and ocean were
all the heavens’ doing.


Hang up the phone, its long holds & options.
Open the door and listen
to just the sound of rain.


so gracefully black
a futuristic sculpture?
silver wings of heat—

we forget it’s there
no plug-in, no batteries!
silver wings of heat
asking only flame below
it blesses us with silence


From my field the great white horse
is gone like April to greener
pastures, leaving this memento:
a few lush Dung Roundheads.

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

Existence with no movement,
sensation with no connection,
grammar without action,
what life without these?

Answer: verbs


Our thanks to Taylor Graham for her celebrations of turkeys, horse-dung, and the recent (much-needed) rainfall up here. TG celebrates for us in forms: a Word-Can Poem (“Morning Walk”); a List Poem (“What's There”); a Ryūka (“Lost for Words”); a Kimo (“A Dry Year”); a Hainka (“Heat Powered Stove Fan”); Normative Syllablics that also addresses Medusa's current Ekphrastic photo (“From Above”); and a Riddle poem which is also a Verbless one, last week’s Triple-F Challenge (“What?”).

Today (Fri., 4/29) is the Academy of American Poets' Poem in Your Pocket Day! See

Taylor Graham and Katy Brown will be giving another Capturing Wakamatsu Poetry Walk and Workshop at Wakamatsu Farm in Placerville this Sunday, May 1 from 10am-12pm. See for info and registration.
For more upcoming poetry events in our area and beyond, go to the aptly-named UPCOMING POETRY EVENTS link at the top of this column.

And now it’s time for . . .

It’s time for more contributions from Form Fiddlers, in addition to those sent to us by Taylor Graham! Each Friday, there will be poems posted here from our readers using forms—either ones which were sent to Medusa during the previous week, or whatever else floats through the Kitchen and the perpetually stoned mind of Medusa. If these instructions are vague, it's because they're meant to be. Just fiddle around with some challenges—  Whaddaya got to lose… ? If you send ‘em, I’ll post ‘em! (See Medusa’s Form Finder at the end of this post for resources and for links to poetry terms used in today’s post.)

There’s also a newly dusted-off page at the top of Medusa’s Kitchen called, “FORMS! OMG!!!” which expresses some of my (take ‘em or leave 'em) opinions about the use of forms in poetry writing, as well as listing some more resources to help you navigate through Form Quicksand. Got any more resources to add to our list? Send them to for the benefit of all man/womankind!

Enough blathering. Onward to some fine poetry:

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

The words are all red
this morning, red for love,
and lack of love, and for the
word itself. Look how intense
they appear on the page—shaped
like that—awkward like that,
meaning what they mean,
even as they question
what they mean.
they are,
as if to win by
their very boldness

—their red persuasion.
* * *

Girlfriend knows how to tell it! Hopefully we all speak in red from time to time…”red persuasion”. Thank you, Joyce. And here is another Ars Poetica of hers: Word-Repetition Envelope Stanzas: 1221, 3443, 5665, etc. What a bundle of truths this poem is…
After "Ars Poetica” by J.L. Borges*
—Joyce Odam

There are some words that are only words,
until they are pressured into meaning—
there is always that struggled search for meaning
to be understood with the quizzical use of words.

Sometimes the reach is made of echoes,
intensely listening beyond hearing
until each sound is out of hearing,
ghosts of voices given to echoes.

Words can be made of speeches and babble,
oratorical with persuasion and power,
until the speeches run out of power,
sounding at last like only babble.

Words, the tools of such potential
to plead,    or threaten,    or exploit for love.
Oh, that words can be used for love,
else fail the heart and the mind’s potential.

Words that are only words…? Oh, never—
there are shades of intention when words are spoken,
with only silence, then, for words not spoken.
Words that will never hurt you…? Oh, never.

 Last week’s Ekphrastic Challenge
—Public Domain Photo

Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) put together a few bon mots on our tribute to Earth Day last week, combining words in a Verbless fashion, which was our Triple-F Challenge last week:

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

donut hole
product of an
sweet tooth

pockets of temptation
crumbs everywhere
discipline absent
dozens in orbit 
* * *

Here is Stephen Kingsnorth’s Ekphrastic response to the photo:

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales, UK
Uneven keel, but one ball spin,  
wobble, axel, season gift,   
orbit system, solar star,  
milky flush, another flash.  
It’s so for me, one turning life,
wibble curl, uneven stance,
family, community,
state of nation, global earth.
Both hang and fly, though rooted here,
red shift, proof expansive time,
stacked plates cracking, saucers fly,
crusty ground grind, UFO.
Jet, whether stream arises, dives,
solar wind and northern lights,
micro, macro, in teams of life,
slow in light years, nanosec.
Awed silence, unknowns perceived, but
fittest in survival test,
onward genes once I can rest,
morrow, why, when I am dust?

* * *

And one from Joe Nolan, short but sweet:

—Joseph W. Nolan, Stockton, CA

The darkness that surrounds the earth
Is always full of light.
It’s just the play of shadows
That brings to Earth the night.

This photo, “Illuminated Manuscripts” by Katy Brown, was posted on Medusa’s Kitchen last Sunday with a poem by Welsh poet, Lynn White. Stephen was moved by it and wrote an Ekphrastic Poem in response:

—Stephen Kingsnorth

Yes, there’s the brother in his cell,
and maybe famed for Book of Kells—
but other brothers, sisters too
with little but a chalk-stub stroke
to count up days in countdown hope,
with naught illumined but despair.
Graffiti, writing on the wall,
each place the moving finger wrote,
a manuscript, shared light or strife.

The library, scene Dewey-eyed,
with spinal columns, long and short,
built high and low, enticing stacks.
It takes only a glance of bright
to burnish notes, alchemy gold.
No food or drink in here, aloud,
but I see plates full satisfied
as open cover, bound inside,
no hand or nib, but printers’ ink.

So really was I just fourteen,
my mentor, guide to literature,
the first, grammar, to name by fore,
his wisdom store of novel verse,
and stagecraft of the theatre?
In unities, foresaw his tack—
though one good work he slipwrote ‘God’—
voracious reading, opened books,
his text speak, nothing of short cuts.

Those pages, burning whites of eyes,
a highlight of the pupil’s site,
as heightened here, rays of the sun—
ash phoenix, Alexandria.
And yet I read of boards abroad—
are they bored or rogue in mind—
matching more piles, burn flaming books,
branded for ideas, danger sign.
Manipulate, index for sight.

Caschwa sent a List Poem, an EIEIO, and a Dansa. The repetition in the Dansa is so lulling. Who says forms are dead??


backyard incinerators
banking hours 10-3
black & white television
bread delivery to house
bus drivers wore change belts
California had 4 area codes (213, 415, 916, 714)
carbon paper
CPR developed
flag had 48 stars
glass fuses in house wiring
Honda dealers sold motorcycles only
leaded gasoline
manual typewriters
map books
milk delivery to house
party lines
payphone price 10 cents
penny purchases
nickel and dime store
reel to reel typewriter ribbon
reel to reel recording tape
reel to reel movie films
transom rods
TV signoff with Indian Head test pattern
wind wings
wringer washers
yes sir, no ma’am 


each day the newspaper and
idiot box try to predict what to
expect, blueprinted and canned,
incarnate celestial stew
off the mark, more times than a few 
 Bumpy Road
—Public Domain Illustratiion


I am not ready to be saved
if that begets contractual obligations
or other such complications
wary of quick sand instead of paved
I am not ready to be saved

humps, bumps, and undulations
slow the traffic, congratulations
driving slowly is ranked depraved
I am not ready to be saved

members of the United Nations
meet to eat, not honor stations
or words, no matter how deeply engraved
I am not ready to be saved

the pandemic has soured many vacations
quarantines get no adulations
unmasked strangers we boldly braved
I am not ready to be saved

bloodwork back, they found mutations
blame old age, say their notations
good news or bad, the fees aren’t waived
I am not ready to be saved


Many thanks to our SnakePals for their brave fiddling! Would you like to be a SnakePal? All you have to do is send poetry—forms or not—and/or photos and artwork to We post work from all over the world, including that which was previously-published. Just remember: the snakes of Medusa are always hungry!


See what you can make of this week’s poetry forms, and send them to:! (No deadline.) This week's challenge(s) are two forms that are new to us, the Kimo and the Riddle Poem—see Taylor Graham’s examples above. Here are the links:

•••Kimo: AND/OR
•••Riddle Poem:

•••Or try some of Joyce Odam’s Word-Repetition Envelope Stanzas: 1221, 3443, 5665, etc. (See her example above.)

And see the bottom of this post for another challenge, this one an Ekphrastic one. Try one or all of these forms to keep sharpening your poetry knives. And do check out Medusa's new FORMS link to see if there’s anything there that might be of help to your poetry chops—or anything you’d like to add.



•••Poetry Websites: Yes, another list of poetry forms, but this is a substantial list of poetry-form sites:


MEDUSA’S FORM FINDER: Links to poetry terms mentioned today:

•••Ars Poetica:
•••EIO (or EIEIO): a five-line poetry form by Carol Louise Moon where the ends of lines rhyme in the scheme of A,B,A,B,B. The beginning words of each line begin with E, then I, then E, then I, then O.
•••Ekphrastic Poem:
•••Kimo: AND/OR
•••List Poem:
•••Normative Syllabics: AND/OR
•••Riddle Poem:
•••Verbless Poetry:
•••Word-Can Poem: putting random words on slips of paper into a can, then drawing out a few and making a poem out of them.
•••Word-Repetition Envelope Stanzas: 1221, 3443, 5665, etc.


 Today's Ekphrastic Challenge!

—Public Domain Photo
* * *

See what you can make of the above

photo, and send your poetic results to (No deadline.)

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.


Thursday, April 28, 2022


Sunset Valentine's Day 2022
—Photo by Ann Wehrman
—Poetry by Ann Wehrman 
and Michael H. Brownstein

—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento, CA

leafless, black lace trees
cup roseate sunset
like Venus’s décolletage—

at the bus stop, watching the sun’s
slow, deep goodnight kiss, I melt

tents at the homeless camp up the street
wait to zip their door flaps
in silent appreciation of sky’s drama

we share the heavens, the night
one love
—Nancy20 from


—Ann Wehrman

the most delicious fragrance
whole wheat, molasses, and honey
ginger, fresh-grated and dried
baked to perfection, sliced, wrapped
carried on the bus to my student assistant job
an offering to share, to make new friends

no one ate it; the day grew long
by 5:00 PM only R. remained
magpie, older, a lifelong learner (like me)
stubbornly following his own timeline

the others made fun of him
he could be a bore and even creepy--a dark horse
yet he’d played with or sat in with
jazz and rock greats for decades
now, in his 70s, he was writing an opera
his love of music equaled that of
the virtuosos and preppies at school—
in the end, who is to judge?

R. was living without a kitchen at that time
sleeping on a friend’s sofa
he scooped up the gingerbread
wolfed down one piece, complemented me
agreed to take the rest of it with him
—Jordan Singh from

—Ann Wehrman

people come and go
lovers, family disappear
disappoint, die
jobs--are just jobs
break my back, underpaid
rinse it off
in a hot shower
stand under the water
do not think
always running
nothing, no one remains
must be partly my fault
midnight, alone
throw the covers back
cry without tears
need a meaningful connection
get up, splash cold water in my eyes
sit at my window in the moonlight
at least I can connect with my breath
inhale, exhale
let go


Today’s LittleNip:

We all are so deeply interconnected; we have no option but to love all. Be kind and do good for anyone and that will be reflected. The ripples of the kind heart are the highest blessings of the Universe.

―Amit Ray,
Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style


Many thanks to Ann Wehrman for today’s beautiful offerings! And here’s a poem for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) today; our thanks to Michael Brownstein over in Missouri for this and for, well, reminding us:

—Michael H. Brownstein, Jefferson City, MO

The day the commandant of the Nazi POW camp called us outside,
he came to our commanding officer and told him to separate the Jews from the others.
Our Christian leader said in a voice steadfast and perfect so we could hear:
We are all Jews here. Everyone step forward.
The Commandant put a gun to his head and demanded: Separate the Jews.
He answered: Sorry, we are all Jews here. See? My men stand with me.
The Nazi threatened to blow his head away if he didn’t do as he said.
I am a Jew. Jews are not afraid of death. Jews are not cowards.
The only cowards present today are those who obey orders without thought or restraint.
The Nazi’s face bubbled over, his lips quivered, his eyes lost control of their sightline.
Then he placed his sidearm in his holster much too hard, turned and told his soldiers:
Get into your vehicles. We are abandoning this camp. Let the Jews starve.

It’s been many years now, I still remember how I stood for something moral and great.
Many times I met with frustration, conflict and life-threatening circumstances.
I would recall his words. Jews are not afraid of death. Jews are not cowards.
A great peace would fall over me. I knew he had said the only truth I needed to learn.


—Medusa (thanks again, Ann and Michael!)

Lots going on in area poetry today and tonight; check out the new UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS link at this top of this column!
 —Public Domain Photo

For upcoming poetry events in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page.

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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world—including
that which was previously published—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The Isle of Four Wands

—Poetry by Sayani Mukherjee, 
Chandannagar, West Bengal, India
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain


Sloshy names and uptown roads,
Ranged the billboard screen
That fathered back an old nostalgia
Of what could have been?
If so-and-so did not fall down
From a burn down open road
But, economic depression it cradles
While the little white babe
beats the drum roll high
And slashes down the youth
In a capitalist craze.
Fast money, brick wall, BMW
And little black skirts of sun gaze high
The nights spend in a dark ghetto
And collars of shot money and
Of whiskey beau.
Their bathtubs ended up in a belladonna dream
And the little babe grew an inch bigger,
His milk-moneyed teeth and eyes
That lulled in the mammoth cot. 


Last April was light, feather-like.
To and fro lay the long
Carpeted green
Squirrels and mango misty deep
The local pond seemed
A measurable tea cup
Which I can sip whenever I like.
But one year gone
Into the den
Of days as shallow as
The new cosmetic brush
The bruises I knit away within
With life as everyone lives,
Come and go, a big hallway
The leaves I don't look upon
For they will be green anyway
In this April of levity
Of seeing the flowers and
The loopholed sunsets
In the window screen
Of my own reality
Like everyone else's
Come and go
It's a big money anyway. 



Grains of sand bloats
Over the perched-up pyre
Of fountains
Leading to chiseled-up celestial stairs
Which hide swords
Of power Subliminal.

Beat over beat, the grains
Trickle down
Over my face, and Time
Dances upon the painting
Of blazed-up cosmic fire.

Money, power, politics
The anthem of
The doomed youth,
That visibility of pure
Hedonism that blinks
The nerves as fast as it comes—
Then gripping the territorial
Reality of
Ashen-lead fumes that
Water down in a
Conch shell
Of an isle of four wands.


Today’s LittleNip:

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

—Robert Frost


—Medusa, with thanks and a hearty welcome back to Sayani Mukherjee from India this morning, as she calls to us from the other side of the world~ 

For upcoming poetry events in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page.

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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world—including
that which was previously published—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!
  Hands across the sea~











Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Rolling Like the Waves, and Brave Like the Sun


At a Loss For Words
—Poetry and Photos by Joyce Odam,
Sacramento, CA


the torn pieces fall to the floor
in a slow
deliberate flutter

the slow pieces spiral down
through the wet light of the room
which weeps for them

the frozen eyes have
read them for the
last time

this is where it all turns—   
this is where something feels
a certain power of destruction

the slow hands tear and tear
and take joy
in the tearing

the pieces make
a strange, indifferent pattern now,
upon the floor
Through The Night Hours

A shudder of blue branches

woven together in all their directions
none hostile to another
nor greedy for space,

letting the blue light through
from the lowering sky
the blue dark adding its tones,

the trunks of the trees
in old patience,

and the little filtering sounds
that speak to the hidden creatures
or only to each other,

and all night the brambles touch
and touch in a tender blindness
through the night hours.

(prev. pub. in
Medusa’s Kitchen, 8/30/17)
The Influence of Blue


Under the influence of blue
a thought was seething—
insinuating its way in…

Under the influence of blue,
a word was breathing—
knowing it could have been true…

Under the influence of blue
a sound was grieving—
feeling it could have forced through…

you who were dreaming the thought,
you who would have spoken the word,
you who kept fading from the sound

—all are in the final stanza—
all you have to do is go back
into the blue wakening of the dream.
Urgency of Thought  


How do I not give you rhyme now,
suspend in the moment, a direction.

I guide you : words, time between
words, attendants attending.

I, at the measurement of this,  
write slowly, do not waste

or lose a word :
word,    word,    come to me,

love permeates, spills over,
grief before grieving,

oh, love,     help us,     help us,
you, focal point—receiver and giver

of yourself, hold my hand now
as I am holding yours.


Words are far away from me today,

no fire or ice to say, nor color
worthier than gray.
I barely know
a thought,
or rush,
of something
to complete—
if only I could
rouse myself
from this morass—
this pit of gloom wherein
I find no art to give to life.
The Mind’s Potential


Nothing leads me to words
       though you speak
       though I listen
       though I travel what you say
       and arrow nowhere . . .

How can this lead the wordless
       into eloquence, there is
       only the long line of silence
       thinning like a road
       into a receding horizon . . .

How can the shining silence
       reach the urgency of thought
       that struggles to transcend
       the locked mind that cannot form
       the words that poetry demands . . .
Into Meaning


How will you find me
if I am a silence, leaning
into an explanation—
a bowl of oranges
glowing on a table—time
turning on the clock,
how will you recognize
me out of the mirror,
my old face made of shadows,
my eyes burning, what will
you say if I turn toward you
and wait for you to speak
after offering you these words . . .

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 10/08)
In All These Places

What a mighty voice it requires in the poet, to 
keep his lines strange, and rolling like waves, 
and brave like the sun.            
                      —John Crowe Ransom

These words that celebrate from me,
these words that grieve,
these words that sing or weep . . .

These words that come from their
own places—of their own volition,
that I take, and call them mine . . .

How they cluster—how they form—
too fast, or too resistant—depending on
their own need or inspiration . . .

Which of us needs the other more—
my reach, or their release. Oh, Words,
words—we are the path to one another.
I will write while you speak.

(prev. pub. in
Poets’ Forum, 1998) 
Grief Before Grieving

       Boring Word Poem by J. Odam

WORD:    other word    
WORD:    white

WORD:    narrow

NARROW WORD:  blue word      
BLUE:      more blue        

HARD WORD:  soft word

WORD:    word               
WHY?      why not?   

WHICH?    either
WHERE?   nowhere


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

I shouldn’t have worn
made of glass.


If this is still April, then we’re still in Nat’l Poetry Month, and Joyce has stepped up to the plate with Ars Poetica poems in the theme of Lost for Words, our Seed of Last Week. Thank you, Joyce—no one knows more about rassling the Muse and coming out a winner than you do!

Our new Seed of the Week is “Wandering”. What kind of wandering? Walking around the world? Sailing the seven seas? Or just woolgathering in your back yard? Are these good things or bad things? Tell us about wandering, and send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to 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. And see our Form Fiddlers’ Friday for poetry form challenges, including those of the Ekphrastic type.

Yesterday I pointed out that I’ve just run the Kitchen links through the carwash, so they’re (for the most part) all spiffed up, with more updating to come. Check ‘em out—and don’t forget that all area poetry events are now listed under the Last Link at the top of this column: UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS. ("Kitchen links": there’s a joke in there somewhere… "everything but the Kitchen link"…)

Speaking of wandering, check out this article: "The Art of Wandering for Writers & Business Artists" on Tracking Wonder at We can all use a little more wonder . . .  


 —Public Domain Photo

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