Tuesday, June 27, 2023

First Note of the Last Rhythm

The War Goes On 
—Poetry by Joyce Odam and Robin Gale Odam,
 Sacramento, CA
 —Photos by Robin Gale Odam

—Joyce Odam

heart beats, the true heart slows.
it was music where silence listens
to every beat—every force of

listening. music hums in the
brain, shudder listens, feels the
pace. music feels the slow changes.

this is only a beat of tempo in slow
change—the rhythm slows for the
listening. the moon and sound feel  

the touch of distance, the sky moving
slowly behind a raising of the lone
note waited for—waiting now.

the music touches an old gray
cloud, only weeping now, spreading
for distance, no purpose now, no end

to listening, no cry of surrender for
the singing of the far voice finding the
first note of the last rhythm of now.


Children on the Swings


 —Robin Gale Odam

navigating the course of emotions
and the briny consequence of moving
upstream—not yet clear as purity,
still holding fast to saline dreams,
crossing the current, diving deeper

(prev. pub. in Brevities, June 2018)


—Robin Gale Odam

riding in silence
staring into separate dreams
words too far away
or too close
it used to be different

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, March 25, 2011)


The Slow Changes


—Robin Gale Odam

Did you wait for me?
Listen for my footsteps?
Feel time
through the moment?
Did you sink?
Just a little?
Did you?


—Robin Gale Odam

Found him out there alone,
tangled in his thoughts.

I’ll take him a lifeline—

Corona, silence,
wisp of blue silk.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen,
February 15, 2011) 


Let The Self Be Wise


—Robin Gale Odam

I am plunging down the falling road.
I cannot fall fast enough.
There are slow things in my way.
The minutes race ahead of me.
I scream profanities no one will hear.
My lips are cool rose.
I grip tightly.
My nails are luscious lilac.
My stop is far ahead.
Someone waits impatiently.
When I arrive I will be invisible.
Someone will look through me
at the swift hands of the clock
spinning the circle
that will not let me go.


The Inner Self

—Robin Gale Odam

I heard the most beautiful song, so
many voices, women . . . poets . . . singing.
You should have heard it.

I called because I just wondered,
well . . . if I’d vanished.
Your silence turned me . . . there were
more directions than before.
I couldn’t figure which way I was.
I thought I remembered your arms
around me.

I was thinking, well . . . the music filled me,
lifted me back from . . . somewhere.

I lit the candle and twisted
pieces of paper into little blossoms,
blackened their edges in the flame . . .
little fire flowers. For you.
I wondered if the fire was painful . . .
pain is an art . . . it inspires . . . am I
making sense?
The flowers are lovely.

How did the grandmothers do this dance?
Did they have potions? Did they pray?
Did they dream and awaken to kisses
in nightfall? Nightfall—am I rambling?

I placed the burned flowers in that little
vase. I lifted the tiny porcelain baby and
danced around . . . in the voices of poets.
And I wanted to ask you to remember . . .

I should be going. I left ashes. Ok, then.
Yes, they are asleep. Everything is
locked up. You’re welcome.

You will rejoin your company, make
light conversation, look into the night sky . . .
I have not vanished. The spotlight will
follow us, you in form and me in your eyes.


 —Robin Gale Odam

You took the bones of my hours
and wound them into your time piece.
I’ve kept the seconds, for your return
—each morning I count them.

(prev. pub. in Brevities, January 2015)


The Grace of Time 

—Joyce Odam

Give me the night-cry from the
crying. The day is full of time. The
night wind will unwind the grace of
time—slow its need, feel the dark
surrender, let the mood through.

Soon the blend will erase all its
loss with all its struggles. If this is
a quarrel with the self, let the self be
wise and with the repent deep in the
quarrel, deep in the deepier quarrel,
human and out of fear—fear is
too much to carry under the world,
every where and no where in life
is accustomed to be.

Slide inward, wipe the wanting tears,
no tears for the inner self nor the escape
from the war goes on beyond memory—
the end has come and gone—the whirl
is fun—even the time left in the new
beginning has a way to go, all ways
are the only way anymore.

“I say,—I think and say, for the real
reality alone now in love’s remorse and,
forgive the failures. I hear the wheels turning.
I thank and bless the only God forever and
AMEN . . . from my heart to your heart. AMEN.”


Today’s LittleNip:

—Robin Gale Odam

You are
writing material.



The Odam Poets have joined us this morning with tales of the toxic, our Seed of the Week, and our thanks to them for their fine work. About Joyce’s poem, “Night Crying, Robin writes, “… her word, deepier, is not a typo, it is creative imaging.”

Our new Seed of the Week is “Crickets”. 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. And see every Form Fiddlers’ Friday for poetry form challenges, including those of the Ekphrastic type. Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.




Twila-Star, the newest addition
to the Odam Family










A reminder that
Twin Lotus Thai Fourth Tuesdays meets tonight
in Sacramento, 6pm—reservations strongly
For more upcoming poetry happenings 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.

“. . . from my heart to your heart . . .”