Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Roses From A Winter Garden

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

—Joyce Odam

One humid August night the moon hung
on a string held by a single star
in a sky gone suddenly black.

The night felt as though
all the fight had gone out of it—
the day so long and quarrelsome.

The tired moon hung—
half a moon—facing homeward
as we drove in our quiet car

in the direction it pointed,
over the quiet freeway—
it was that late.

The hot night shone
as though swept clean of something.
Our talk was slow,

as though even this late hour
dwindled out of enough meaning
to go any further with words.

“Is it all
about poetry?”
one of us asked. And one of us said,

“Yes.” And one of us said, “No.”
And the mobile moon
did not sway—not even a little bit.
 Quiet Garden

—Robin Gale Odam

high above him

cloudless sky
string in his fingers

north wind a mockery
of his weeping 
At The Door

—Joyce Odam

Now is the hour of tight arms holding on to the
falling. Nothing is plumb. There is no direction
to consider. The floor is far away. The ceiling
even farther. The dream is urging you to step
inside. But you are reeling inward. There is no
one looking to prove this. Time is about to non-
exist though it owns the dark. The clock opens
its face to meet your cry. The room tilts accord-
ingly and every instinct resists. You are replicated
where you meet the advancing mirror. Escape
here, says the glass. Your image steps inside—
turns—and helps you through. This is not possible,
you think, but a long hallway leads you to a door—
a slowly opening door—where someone inside is
turning toward you with open arms, urging you to

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen 7/30/13; 9/6/16)
 A Different Mood

—Joyce Odam

It is seduction that they understand,
though it be folly, precursive to despair;
they yield to its addiction; they declare
themselves clairvoyant, yet go hand in hand
with Fate and Blindness, those misleaders. And
for passion that they always knew was there,
they wear whatever mask they need to wear
to keep illusion’s face. Their flame is fanned.

Wretched with love now, hopelessly confessed,
oh, they are tragic—they are tragic, true—nor
do they care. They are both cursed and blessed.
They grow possessive, and they grow afraid.
Too young to suffer less than others do,
they settle back into the beds they’ve made.

(prev. pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine, Sept., 1997)


dreaming in the dream
distance far away from here
closeness on the heels

ever since the faraway
ever cast the runes of shade

—Robin Gale Odam 
 Ways To Go

—Joyce Odam
After “Runes” by R.S. Thomas (No Truce With
The Furies)

Crippling through the annual stairways, beginning
with January with its superstitious Rabbits and
Pickles, playing good-luck with the words, and
racing February through the Ides of March,
blustering into April and caroling, Its Spring! Its
Spring! and imploring spring with a, May I? May I,
but never expecting an answer to nonsense. Then
June, which would ultimately fail and smiling with
a certain weariness that July preceded—less than
the Many Birthdays, and September—oh the falling
of the leaves, the falling leaves of autumn—already—
and becoming sentimental about a scarecrow under
a red moon—or was it October with its rush of
pleasure, tinged with sadness knowing November
was already turning its page to let December


—Joyce Odam

It is the music—
torn shreds of it,
its fragments
remembering back into whole pieces;

or maybe it is the lack of it,       
the wish for music
as perfect
as that . . .

indifferent music, joyous for itself,
forgetting its composer,
its poorest listener,
filling other ears with perfection,

destruction, its cost for the envy :
the torn joy
of listening—
for the ache of it,

to hold it,

so, free it,
tear its pages and
mingle them into something larger—
a cacophony to fit the tears.  

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen. 11/25/14;
4/17/18; 8/17/21)
As Perfect As That

—Joyce Odam

Yes, a place like that.
A chair in the light.
An unwinding place
free from thought or claim.
Somewhere unreachable.
Dreamed-up or real.
No matter.
Just a place to be unreal in
if you are not real.
A chair to hold you—heavy or light
—like a rocking boat that can drift away
into the edge of a passing current.
Simply lift and follow—
or inward-stay
while a leaf drifts by,
or a bird sits watching from a tree,
shivering with happiness at a small breeze.

After Day Star by Rita Dove
(p. 70, “Claiming the Spirit Within”)

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 3/20/12; 8/11/20)


—Robin Gale Odam

heart tethered to a string
fingers at the other end
pulling almost carelessly
In Love

—Joyce Odam

You enter my time and place.  I receive you openly—
open all my windows to the view.  I welcome you.

You bring me roses—white breath-roses
from the winter garden.  They have no scent.

I look again and you are floating in my mirror,
your hands strewing petals that waft to my feet.

Yes, I still love you, I say, and your face goes sad.
My hand reaches out to you . . . and yours to mine.

I waken in the dream, and you ask what I am doing
in the mirror, and why are all those petals on the

We lie down together but cannot touch. Light
between us and flows out the window into stars.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 1/9/18)


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

Talking into a dead phone, I apologize
to the silence, confess myself
to the listening . . .
as if through a
curtain . . . imagine a
response . . . imagine a sigh of sympathy.


Many thanks to the Odams, Joyce and Robin, for today’s fine poetry and pix! Our Seed of the Week was “Kites”, and Robin writes that “Joyce has chosen to revisit some day in her life when someone inadvertently suggested she ‘go fly a kite’ and, as a child, she wasn't certain if it was intended as a chide or a joke, since she never could fly a kite—and she of course opted to decide it was just in jest, for fun, for idle conversation, to which she simply sharpened her pencil and searched for a nice piece of lined paper and a quiet and solitary space where she could think about it . . . she later grew up to probe the abstract and write about love.” Well said, Robin Gale, and thanks to both of you for the elucidation of Joyce’s thinking on this, the Spring Equinox, 2024.

Our new Seed of the Week is “Tightrope”. 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.


Ghost plant, ghost pipe, Indian pipe—
delicate, waxy, rare—
one of the first harbingers of spring!
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

For future poetry happenings in
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