After Silence by Wonsook Kim Linton, 1990
A gray gull at rest on my tireless hand has three
echoes made of silence. We are in a painting on a
still day. A body of blue water lies between us and
The gull and I look at each other with a long trained
look—my hand held out in a gesture of release—or
as a brief place for it to rest. The day does not move.
Three sympathetic trees stand crowded at an edge.
They are there to hold the echoes. I am faceless. I
wear a white baptismal gown. I stand on my shadow.
The mute trees watch—the three gull-echoes ghost-
like in their branches. However this will end is not
for me to know : this is a lesson in patience.
—Robin Gale Odam
crescendo of night
silver light through window blind
whisper of a song
hollow night, echo of prayer
(prev. pub. in Brevities, August 2017)
NIGHT BIRD STOLEN FROM
A GRAY CANVAS
After Night Bird by Wonsook Kim Linton, 1990
Small dream bird, I hold you through the prison
of sleep while an old black brooding hawk watches
from night’s dark tree and hunches itself over the
release of waking, which has its own landscape of
How will I save you when my hand is offering you
flight away from this dream; why do you tarry in
patient trust like a careless omen of yourself?
Are you the signature of life? Symbols surround
us—surreal and dense—merging to a collage of
mystery. We share this brief connection: I give you
my fear so you can translate it into flight—yet you
stay with me.
(prev. pub. in Parting Gifts, Winter 2003, and
Medusa’s Kitchen, 6/5/18)
now my heart for you
pressed into a little poem
one leaf in your book
SILENCE AS ITS OWN DESIRE
After “DESIRING SILENCE: Holy Island”
from Lamlash by Craigie Aitchison, 1994
The blue boat waits on its reflection,
soundless on the motionless water.
The boat is empty and takes this time to sleep.
It knows where both the shores are.
It knows how to go back and forth between.
It lives in the cool shadow of the mountain.
The mountain guards the sunlight.
The water holds the mountain in its depth.
The boat floats on the mountain.
Time is measureless.
The water holds the boat like a trick of reality.
The boat does not keep time.
Time sleeps in the blue silence of the boat.
The boat dreams of the silence.
The red sky drowns in its own reflection.
The calm water bleeds every day at this hour.
(prev. pub. in Poetry Now, 2008, and
Medusa’s Kitchen, 9/11/12, 2/4/14, 9/1/15)
THE MIRROR DREAMS OF ITSELF
At last the blue lady of night comes floating
toward me with a look of sorrow on her face.
A black moon follows over her shoulder. She
floats through all the dissolving dream-colors
that are losing their hold on her. She reaches
out one arm as if to embrace me while with
the other she holds a small fluttering shape of
something close to her dress. Where am I?
Where am I? I cannot find myself, though I
feel that she will find me. The waiting mirror
seems to be opening its glass for her as she
comes toward it and she seems dazed by her
own reflection. She is trying to speak! I am
trying to speak! Am I the mirror?
new mantra—old mantra,
say it and say it,
fear and love,
hope and doubt,
how undo the tangle,
untie the threads,
how bend the angle,
the angle dreads being recanted,
each day narrows and begins,
the old beginnings,
do it over, now is now,
then is now, now is never,
but allow hope to squander
every increment of time :
the day is here, the day is gone,
question remains, questions remain,
slant inward, outward, feel the strain,
we are holy, fame is fame, we slip in
and out of ourselves,
OF GOD OR ANGELS
—Robin Gale Odam
it was something he said about
the eyes of god or angels—the boy
explained, to underline my chaos, that
pain and sorrow are only mine without them
or through them, or—he speaks like that,
his own eyes soft and dark
i answered, oh
(prev. pub. in Brevities, May 2015)
THE RESORT IN WINTER
After a photo by Teresa Tamura,
“I Am Becoming the Woman I’ve Wanted”,
Papier Mache Press
Pull on black stockings. Dress for the day,
for the winter outside. Put on a long skirt
and a warm sweater. Layer yourself until
you are fit for the layering weather.
Put on boots. Leave the small bathroom
with its steamy mirror. Look to the day
which is passing by. Speak to yourself
about nothing in particular.
Walk down to the ocean; watch the gulls,
the waves; then turn to the town with its
little stores. Browse deeply for some
This is a holiday from your daily self; give
it a difference; study each new reflection
in each new glass or pulling shadow where
you walk, aimless and distracted.
You are here, and here is enough to be.
This day will be a turning point for you.
Turn when it does, back or forward
to the old or new.
(prev. pub. in EDGZ, Winter/Spring 2003,
and Medusa’s Kitchen 1/21/14)
OF NOTE :
He will be—he will be,
in heaven, as in heart,
on this day we mark
on heart’s own calendar—there
to be forever love’s holy spark.
Our thanks to Joyce Odam and Robin Gale Odam for their works today on the Seed of the Week: The Holiday Season—and the best of the coming year to both of them!
Our new Seed of the Week is a hope for the new year: “Fresh Eyes”. 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. 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.
For upcoming poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS
in the links at the top of this page—
and keep an eye on this link and on
the daily Kitchen for happenings
that might pop up
—or get changed!—
during the week.
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