Tuesday, June 06, 2023

The Passing of the Geese

The Thinner Light
—Poetry by Joyce Odam and Robin Gale Odam,
Sacramento, CA
—Photos by Robin Gale Odam
—Joyce Odam


To take the flower from its vase
and vow forever its placement for
the eyes of love and admiration, and
does not mention the flowerless vase,
left without its flower . . .


If not flower, perhaps the excuse.
Hide this vase with no flower and
mention the near coming of long old
winter, with the absence of summer’s
missing flowers . . .


Confess you have to give up the
expense of real flowers and make do
with the more-affordable-fake-flowers . . .


—Joyce Odam

Am I
in the palm of love,
yearning out
over fingers of else?

I would know
the hand’s roads
in other findings.
I grow vapid in the palm,
all moist and warm and same,
a hollow of love
closed on the outlets
of knowing.

Fingers of the hand,
as flaws of the self,
flex slightly,
whispering movements
that my restlessness
can feel. 

(From My Stranger Hands by Joyce Odam, 1967)
Hard to Say
—Robin Gale Odam

She kept secrets . . .
a sweet ride
parked in the shadow
of a dream,
a fishing line
made of pure
more words
than she would
ever speak,
a soft heart,
a droplet of
cool venom,
and darkness to match
his own.

(prev. pub. in Brevities, April 2014) 


—Joyce Odam

What now,
after all this time-space
sprung darkly
events that slip somehow
beyond these words.
The lovingness
(I like that word)
its likeness,
this quietness,
its weightfulness—
for all this among
the wordiness—
or sorryness—
before it
has no word to say
or eyes that ask for the
love—all of it, for a while.


—Joyce Odam

The floorless place,
with six stairs
climbing nowhere,
mutely evidences:
once here, a house.

A year came
that unprisoned the stairs.
The house died loudly,
timbers groaning the block’s length,
nails screeching from the wood’s torn,
pungent flesh.
Walls unceilinged,
with a last benevolence
let their shadows loose
like freed birds, and sunlight
filled that space again. Window
fragments were left for the tenant sun
to mottle.

Stiff yellow weeds
crawl the dusty lot,
choking back all garden memories.
With resurgent force
they triumph
around and under and through the crevices
of six stairs climbing.

(From My Stranger Hands by Joyce Odam, 1967)
Freed Birds and Sunlight

—Robin Gale Odam

I can’t let you read it yet, it is just
a whisper—fragile and hidden from the
reach of disregard, from the scalpel of in-

difference—it is preoccupied with gravity,
metaphor, dying and secrecy—only one
mindchange diversion from merit.


—Joyce Odam

and were you
when you shook free
of all that burden
and let
the current have you,
how was that wakening.
how did it
to have birds
shy from your transcendence.
how did it feel to be
the vapor
and the dust.
had I
grown cumbersome against
your final visit.

you would have paused
one thoughtful moment
in your swirling,
resisted once
the sweet unfurling,
and if you touched me then
in my first grief,
did you tell me.   did you.

(From My Stranger Hands by Joyce Odam, 1967)
The Pattern of a Season

 —Joyce Odam  

She heard the geese
and knew her husband’s eyes
turned in the way of flight,
knew that his breath
would break
on a wing-held moment
and scar her listening.

The soft rush of feathers
creasing winter
came down between them,
and she lost him to the rivalry
of small, unlovely cries that tore
the pattern of the season.

The passing of the geese
left him halfway along a sigh,
and city sounds returned.

She knew
he would press her hand and say
some homely word
to deny his absence,
and how his step would sound
when it found her rhythm again
in the thinner night.

(From My Stranger Hands by Joyce Odam, 1967)

Today’s LittleNip:

for a new start somewhere else
and all the shadows

                         —Joyce Odam


Odam poets Joyce and Robin Gale have some seriosity for us today with their poems and photos, and we thank them for that as we plunge into June.

Our new Seed of the Week is “Just Before Sunset”. 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.


—Photo Courtesy of Public Domain

For 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.