Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Shadows on the Morning

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

one generic poem,
whatever comes our way

it’s today again—that keeps

—Joyce Odam

Things my mother saved: sunflower doilies
with bright red centers, sooty-white pillowcases
embroidered with blue thread.

Clay dolls with broken fingers.
Her old lullaby—words in a gibber.
Her standard recipes for love, fragile with use.

Books in a foreign language.
The moody window she stared out of—
taken down and wrapped in old newspaper.

Letters she never opened.  An envelope full of
hair.  A plastic box of unpainted fingernails.
A tiny black emery board, worn down.

Maps of where we’d been,
the little towns circled in pencil—then erased.
I don’t remember any of them.

The year she left me when I died three times
before she came to get me—the toys I left
all gathered back, like explanations.

The years between
this one and the year when I was born—
the first and last coincidence.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 6/1/11; 11/12/19)

—Robin Gale Odam

gravity is the shadow on the
morning, the lid covering the eye,
the moan of a small plane climbing . . .

the dog wags her tail so i rise . . .  

one tiny diamond has fallen from the
ring, the carpet is an endless forest . . . 

—Joyce Odam

It was a sepia day. We strolled downtown, to-
ward a late café that waited for us where we
would claim the small round window-table
and be seen by our own reflections. Moody
again, not quite in love, we would waste an-
other hour touching hands by accident and
offering a wounded smile. Nothing else was
real. We saw to that. The waitress would
come and go as frequent shadow.  

The soft light did not change until we noticed
dark around the edges, and the distraction
of the bell on the door as someone came or
left, and the way the day grew sudden once
again : and it was late : and we were outside,
walking down a boulevard of closing stores.  
And still we did not speak, and were amused
to see ourselves break up in all those windows.

(prev. pub in Medusa’s Kitchen, 6/27/17)


—Joyce Odam

I would say Sorrow waits in every love—
in every vow—in every lie, well-meant,
intensified by doubt and mean despair.
Love hurts, it cannot help itself—

Falling-short-of-expectation lets it love
the moody rain and light—the way it
loves its tears, wept often and alone.
Forget all that—love needs itself—

Despite the woe—the absence that it
leaves in retrospect—why else give up
the power of the risk—how else define
the indefinable for what it means?

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 3/12/13;
2/14/17; 9/14/21) 

 —Joyce Odam

In the wet and shining world where summer rain
falls through the light and spatters to the ground,
droplets splashing on the thirsty day,

and they’re in love—in love—in love,
as they go slowly walking, side by each,
their faces happy and their sorrows told—

those first confessions lovers have to tell
when sharing secrets—bonding—bonding, and
the light rain falls between them, and they know

that they can trust each other all their lives.
And then the rain falls harder and the clouds
grow thick above them, and they start to run—

they laugh and start to run toward a shelter.
The shelter takes them in.  They watch the rain,
and one goes moody, and the other grows uneasy.

The rain falls harder. A bolt of lightning
flashes all around them like a warning. They
laugh and count the seconds toward the thunder

that breaks the air—and breaks the tension—
the rain a downpour now.  They hold each other.
Rain puddles form.  It is the last of summer.


—Robin Gale Odam
After “Postscript” by Seamus Heaney

and there is something more, something
that comes after something that passes

through a hurry—and wonder trails,
and wonder trails after something like

the flock of birds was heard, and far away
and passing through a memory, only high

and far away, the cries of flocks of birds,
and trailing off, and far away the flocks

and the trailing clouds and the memory,
and the ebbing cries of birds

 —Joyce Odam

How often do you need this to be true?  You are
such a tragedy—sitting alone—in the rain—at the
little sidewalk table since you love moody

You sip your drink of rainwater and ask for the
bill, and the waiter comes indifferently toward you,
but you keep receding into the old pathetic story.

You love the ancient way you feel. You love the
misery of your own eyes in the distortion of the
window. Inside, patrons are looking out at you, but
they don’t hold

together any more.  You have been here too long,
wearing yourself thin with repetition—boring
everybody—even the long-dead artist you conjure
for effect.

And now we leave you there in your private
reverie, the waiter never arriving, the rain falling
into your glass—you, shining so deeply, like a
wet tree.

(prev. pub. in Parting Gifts, Winter 2004, and
Medusa’s Kitchen, 1/12/16; 9/1/20)

—Joyce Odam

Lest I regress to some old meaning
less desired
old scriptures lost

burdens of cost
old blunders

poor rhyme not wanted here
slant or pure
all layers intertwined

but my heart and soul can overflow
at the sight of pink blossoms
in the moody month of spring

how the quickened feeling
of hope
can change the air—

but more like the close call
of some gentle creature
that got away from death

or the final unwinding of
the endless ball of tangled string
that life depends upon…


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

I’m October.
I’m moody.
I don’t know what I want.
I want it all.

(prev. pub. by One Dog Press, October 1996)


Our recent Seed of the Week was “Moody”, and Joyce and Robin Gale Odam have sent us fine poetry and photos full of moodiness—many thanks to them for that.

Our new Seed of the Week is “Kites”. Come fly with me—moody, windy March is the season of kites! 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

A reminder that Bob Stanley
will interview Kathleen Lynch
this afternoon at Coffee and Poets
(Twin Lotus Thai, 2pm); and
tonight at 7pm,
Second Tuesday Poetry
at MoSt in Modesto features
Rhony Bhopla and Lynn Hansen.
For info about these and other
future 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
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Would you like to be a SnakePal?
Guidelines are at the top of this page
at the Placating the Gorgon link;
send poetry and/or photos and artwork
to kathykieth@hotmail.com. We post
work from all over the world—including
that which was previously published—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!