Tuesday, April 23, 2024


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

The sky, so wonderful—so close—so far with its
panoramic clouds, its endless-ness, how it sets me
to gazing : Does sky touch earth. If not, where does
sky begin its invisible texture—and the night sky,
with its nomadic moon, wandering the huge sky
until it is almost gone—feeling my eyes follow. Of
course, I know this is not thus, but the mysterious
continuations of sky that compel me so. And I roll
this earth around under my feet with great 
imaginary skill, feeling it go round, and marveling 
why I don’t fall off . . .

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 7/11/17)
Little Butterfly
field of olden blooms
perfume sighing over graves
promises to keep

—Robin Gale Odam

(prev. pub. in
Brevities, May 2017)


           —Joyce Odam

              …if     once
         I stand     in rain
        and feel     myself
             wear     away
 feel the dark     heaviness
            of me     slip
            down     feel me
            stand     like a
           mortal     flower
        in liquid     earth
         feel me     glisten
               and     brighten
         with all     the new tone
      of myself     make a
       sound of     river
              with     myself
            as the     sea
           and all     that is
       swift and     urgent
        hurrying     mysteriously
                into     me

(prev. pub. in The University Review, June 1968)
—Joyce Odam

After "Water", Photo enhancement
by D. R. Wagner, in Medusa’s Kitchen

Now water separates against the land.
Now earth has broken away.

Now there is only sky and water,
there is only dream, with its
ancient illusion.

The sky is caught in blue reflection
of nothing there—

where is the gasp of warning—the
change that will change again—
surge back against

the awesome beauty of destruction.
Is this but a held breath—
time’s elasticity
that let's go a cosmic sigh
that settles back into a reflection.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 9/7/21)


—Joyce Odam

pulling the roots
pulling them right out
straight out and up
through the heart and flesh
of the earth
laying them exposed to the air
which will shrivel them
pulling them right out
of the reluctant earth
which holds them so firmly
which tugs at your fingers
for grip
you and the earth
struggling for
the weeds

(prev. pub. in Poet News, August 1992;
Brevities Mini-Chap, 2002; and
Medusa’s Kitchen, 3/3/20)
—Joyce Odam

Out there in the fog
the farmer is working with his hoe.
I can almost not see him.

The two white geese are
hunched in the wet grass by the pan of water.
Silence is sifting upon everything,
cold and gray.

The farmer is wearing a white wool sweater
and moving in and out of motion
in swirls of energy.
He seems far away.
The sun is icy white above him,
the fog between.

The window I look out of is dark with morning.
I am the farmer’s wife,
his recent lover.
I watch him work
with an awesome pride.
He is stronger than winter.

He is turning and turning the earth that he loves
with a methodical determination.

The dog with the cowbell around her neck
is allowed off the chain
and she lets me know where he is
whenever he drifts out of vision.

(prev. pub. in Interim, 1997; and
Medusa’s Kitchen, 2/20/18)
—Joyce Odam

This worried sky, this field of yellow grass,
this birdless hour,

and that lonely man, lonely or not,
taking a simple walk through fields of swollen light—

oh, here the season changes—maybe not this day
or moment, but soon—

soon as the rustling starts and builds
and the sky overwhelms the shadow-heavy earth

and the man heads home, and may not make it,
this blending man, caught

in the roil of swarming shadows that move in and
this man, at one with everything, storm caught.

(prev. pub. in Song of the San Joaquin, Spring 2019
and Medusa’s Kitchen, 3/23/21; 09/26/23) 

—Robin Gale Odam

He wears dark as a tribute in the
sorrow of the mountainside, at the

shoreline where salty waves gather
memories, lay rings of salt at his feet,
offer pearly shells for his grief—for his
deep and grave pockets to keep.  

(prev. pub. in Brevities, July 2017) 
—Joyce Odam

all particle—of the earth—of the air—
of every whispering voice and every

tear fallen from grief, or joy, and every
tear for the silk fabric of fog, mist over

water, sound of crying, the harsh notes
of rage, the emptied stare,

looking at everything—brooding,
crying—the very act of this—the

very rhyming in every windowed
reflection made of glass, the sensation

of touch, the rush of pleasure, the feel
of darkness to the grope, the sunrise,

the sunset, the blur of hope in the frazzled 

mind, the very hope of existence in the doubt,

the distance and the near—the everything,
and everywhere—in this moment, here.

(prev. pub. in CFCP)


Today’s LittleNip:

at the seventh hour
when the artist takes his rest
then creation stirs

from the ether and the dust
into ether     into dust

—Robin Gale Odam

(prev. pub. in
Brevities, March 2020)


Our Seed of the Week was Mother Earth, in honor of yesterday's Earth Day 2024, and Joyce and Robin Odam are celebrating the earth with their fine poetry and photos today. We send them thanks and good wishes!

Our new Seed of the Week is for Arbor Day (last Friday): “Trees”. Tell us about the trees in your life. Trees I Have Known. Trees I Have Loved/Hated. I remember a huge, HUGE fig tree that I played under in my aunt’s yard. Then there are trees that I have lost because someone thought they should be cut down, like my uncle’s peach orchard in Modesto—the whole orchard was removed to build more suburbia (the fig tree went, too). But part of the income from that sale sent me to college.

Anyway, 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 from which to choose. 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.


—Medusa, wishing a Happy Passover to our friends of the Jewish faith~
—Public Domain Photo

A reminder that
there will be an Open Mic at the
Sacramento Native American
Health Center today, 6pm; and
Twin Lotus Thai Fourth Tuesdays
Bethanie Humphreys, Heather Judy &
Autumn Newman plus open mic   
 in Sacramento tonight, also 6pm.
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
left-hand side of today’s post; or go to
Medusa’s Rapsheet at the bottom of
the blue column at the right
 to find the date you want.

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!