Tuesday, April 16, 2024

I Am the Dance of Joy

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

I carry the pail of darkness
up the hill to silence
which is full of stars
punctuated by sleep
which is full of seas
tidal at deep
pulling at all my skies
and land and
entering the structure
of my hand
which holds everything I am
and I put
the pail of darkness down
upon a dream
which is reverent and real
and where I seem
to enter with my crime
which has been
given me to carry
and I am held
in humming danger
eerie light of apprehension
things to flee
a turning figure everywhere
and I am helpless
all my effort pulls
I follow into
each revision of myself
my arms attempt to lift
are held
my smothered cry surprises me
I am in a barren place
the sky pulls deep
I look in
the pail of darkness,
am swallowed
by a sleep.
Today This Bread

—Joyce Odam

At dark of morning
he prepares my lunch;

how he surprises me

unusual bread,
creative combinations,

a sandwich
of such taste . . .

and I, at work,
unwrap it slowly

on my half-hour,
to see

what delicacy,
or what plain fare,

is there.
Today—this bread:

Whole wheat.
Buttered meat.

Some carrot strips.
An apple, quartered.

—Robin Gale Odam

three damn poems
me standing in the dark hour

offering my interpretation
arresting the sorrows

the piper took them
the tainted rivers flowing

blah blah blah . . . it was
a memory—a simple prayer

holding my heart
and keeping them here  

an empty page
three blank lines 
 Holding The Light

—Joyce Odam

Year after year I anthologize you, loose pages
full of smears where conversations failed,

whole pages of complicated silences,
paragraphs of lyric tears—ah—

such a book as you have become . . .

compiled of your own complexities,
your dark symbolism, your comic surprises.

It is not fair that you still argue the old points—
refuse to surrender the grievances between us . . .

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 2/12/19)

—Joyce Odam

Not to be forgotten
for memory is
the last place they will go.

And you will go there, too,
and suffer for them,
having caught up with yourself,

a suffocation of thoughts,
remorse tweaking your mind
at unexpected moments

until you ask,
of no god but yourself,
forgive…. forgive…. forgive….

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 4/17/12; 6/1/21) 
The Lyric of Tears
—Joyce Odam

tears came to my eyes
and I marveled

that they were for
a fox in a poem

that got hit
by a car,

and I wept and wept
to myself

in this new grief
that I could not stop thinking of

—Joyce Odam

To note a scribble on a page
and deplore that scribble
as a spoilage of intention,
or accidental blemish—

or some perfection unexpectedly
as holy words are loved—
words you read as wisdom,

and then to ponder them as willful,
as defacement,
followed by
a second-thought reaction :

should you erase them,
leave them be,
white them out, if ink—
or trust as something learned,

a thought-barrier of interpretation,
the otherness of it—apart from you—
or sense the bemusement that you
might be the one who put them there.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 7/10/18; 5/5/20)
To Myself
—Joyce Odam

“In a past life, I was Nostradamus.
Nothing. I  mean nothing, surprises me.”
(based on leaping silhouette of man against sea
and horizon)

Oh, this is such a night.  I am the dance of joy. 
I own
the very sky—the sleeping sea.

I can hold the light.  Everything fits my leap and
waits for me to return through gravity.

No one remembers me as I was—and as I am—
pure self, released from others.  I own the moment.

The horizon is unimportant—nor the seamless sea
beneath my levitation.  For this I need no praise.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen 12/20/16; 4/7/20)


Today’s LittleNip:

—Robin Gale Odam

the angels came gathering—i held my
breath every time . . .

the holy whispering for hearts—i make
no ceremony, it’s their call . . .

the wolf has one—and the raptor in the
wilderness . . .

but in the holy of holies only the raising
of souls . . .


Lovely “unexpected surprises”—our Seed of the Week—from Joyce and Robin Odam this morning, and many thanks for those!

You may’ve noticed that I recently proclaimed March 22 to be Earth Day. I suppose I could say I meant to do that, but…well…no…Just one of Medusa’s little quirks these days—a diminishing ability to keep things straight. Anyway, there’s no harm in having two Earth Days each year, yes?

Anyway, let’s get back to the conventional calendar, and celebrate April 22 as the official Earth Day. So this week’s Seed of the Week is Mother Earth. 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.

And be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.


 —Photo Courtesy of Public Domain

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