Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Is Love A Word?

The Talisman
* * *

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

Is love a word?
Alas, I am puffy-eyed.
You stare at Sunday’s
endless paper.

love was there
in a word you said to me.
I was in favor.

I cried.
You do not like tears.
They make you angry.

Today we do not touch
or smile
or bump into each other
in the wide doorway. 
The Ring Bearer

—Joyce Odam

strikes the sea which writhes
and the sky recoils
and the whole sky is torn
and there is the thrill of fury everywhere
and the whole night bristles
with all this force of
lightning tearing at
the sea.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 2/8/22)
 The Vow

—Robin Gale Odam

Shaping the curve of darkness,
and tending the balance of force,

the night calls the day out for its
chaos and pulls the sun over the

horizon—there will be another
shift at the quick of morning.

I trim the wick and open my book.
The sky deepens.


—Joyce Odam
After a photo by Gjon Mili, 1944                                     
Caught in moonlight’s floating web,
in breeze of silver—shred by shred,

of dream sensation, yielding deep
into the curtain of her sleep,

enveloped by the closing room
wrapped and wrapped in sleep’s cocoon.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 2/22/11; 12/18/18)


—Joyce Odam

There is always this grief for substance.
Something that we know, that we are good at.
How the rooms divide . . . a breaking house.
Windows pull into other windows.
You were right about the darkness . . .
I am afraid of it.

—Joyce Odam

Here is where we lived.
Here is where we loved.
Here is where we left.

And now the old shed
of a house stands gaping,
stricken with neglect.

Trees guard it still,
but wearily.
Weeds overtake, then quit.

An upper window stares,
devoid of glass. The inner walls
still hold the ceiling up—

but barely. The outer walls ?
They’re gone, as are the steps.
The pathway, too.

Only dry sounds linger here,
mutter about themselves,
worrying the air.

And all we share of this
is how we lived here—loved
awhile—then left.

(prev. pub as Cover Photo, Poets’ Forum Magazine,
Autumn 2002; and Medusa’s Kitchen, 10/5/10;
9/25/12; 9/8/20)
 The Blessing

—Joyce Odam
The Cliffs at Etretat, 1885 by Claude Monet

Somewhere I have written words to go with this :
the hole in the rock—jagged and huge,
and through it—the boat ghosting by—

and another such rock beyond—
and another—
jutting out into the calm sea.

But why calm?
A dream-scape for a sleeper
caught in levels of benign imagination?

But, no.  The dream and the sea—
the gaping tunnel in the rock—
as well as the drifting boat—all the dreamer

—all painted to bring everything to a stop :
the boat never reaches beyond the passage—
the sea stays at ebb—the dream dreams.

Only the rock-shadows quiver with surface light,
almost breathing—revealing detail;
almost making a sound—like dream music.

Somewhere I have written words, left with the sea,
lost in the seventh wave, answering everything,
even this later quarrel with recognition.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 6/2/15)
 The D.J.

—Joyce Odam

oh, bird
oh, hidden bird
this summer night

I listen for you
with the painful joy of
lost and wanted happiness

I listen for you
with such a listening
it almost hurts

to feel what I feel
at the fullness of your singing
oh, meadowlark


Today’s LittleNip:

—Robin Gale Odam

Yes I have no shame
today—I am buoyant and lofty
again . . . there is more to be said—
blah blah blah.


Many thanks to Joyce Odam and Robin Gale Odam for today’s fine poetry and Joyce’s photos! Our Seed of the Week was “Matrimony”, a subject about which these two ladies had plenty of thoughts.

Our new Seed of the Week is “Dreamscape”. (I chose this SOW last Saturday, and by coincidence, Joyce used the word in today’s poem, “Rock Formation”. Two great minds…) 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.


 The Cliffs at Etretat, 1885
—Painting by Claude Monet

A reminder that Bob Stanley
will interview Kathleen Lynch
at Twin Lotus Thai in Sacramento
this afternoon at 2pm; and
Luke Johnson and Mariah Bosch
will read on Zoom from Modesto
this evening.
For info about these and other
upcoming poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
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.

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.

Find previous four-or-so posts by scrolling down
under today; or there's an "Older Posts" button
at the bottom of this column; or find previous poets
by typing the name of the poet or poem
 into the little beige box at the top
left-hand side of today’s post; or go to
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the blue column at the right
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Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
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work from all over the world—including
that which was previously published—
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Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!