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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #17

  • Section A: July 15, 2003
  • Section B: August 15, 2003
  • Section C: September 15, 2003
  • Section D: October 15, 2003
  • Section E: November 15, 2003
  • Section F: .................................................................. December 15, 2003

    Del Rey Oaks, CA


      It's about "Constant Comment Tea"
      and window seats
      curled up against the fog
      writing poetry
      In Irish cable knit sweaters
      making an effort
      to speak in a quiet voice
      across the gap of time

    Stephen Brown



      The call—"Mom I'm home"
      Feel of wintery coldness from the door
      Puddles left on the kitchen floor
      From snow laden goloshes
      Wet mittens—cold cheeks
      Warmth this brings of long-a-go
      A life time ago
      Forgotten times awakening my heart
      Cries to retrieve those moments
      How swiftly the clock ticks on.
      Memories the dreams of yesteryear.


      Time has wings
      Soaring thru space
      Reaching my arms out
      Trying to cling, catching it
      Try as I may—
      It seems to soar that much faster.


      The morning lies cold and heavy
      As I gaze from my kitchen window
      This day has a beauty of mystic powers
      Air so still—crystals floating
      Coldness has made the world divine
      Colors dance a crystal ballet
      There to be caught for an instant—
      Chimney smoke twirling
      Sun so intense
      Beyond discription—only for me to see
      In the silence of my kitchen.

    Jean Gates

    Carmel valley, CA

    Poems from Lake Tahoe:


      She comes———singing
      across the riffled pond of golden grasses,
      gathers my loose thoughts,
      tosses them like watercolor kites
      to be caught in the green sleeves
      of mountain hemlocks.

      growls among the white fir,
      paces the crest of Mount Rose,
      broadcasts the shriek
      of the hawk, tok-click of raven,
      chatter of a chickaree.

      wanders the banks
      of small streams, disappears
      and returns without echo,
      hurls brown grenades,
      from the tips of pines.

      prompts cloud streams to drift north,
      steals yellow parchment coins
      from quaking aspens,
      transports them in pockets of light
      through the forest.

      Bringer of messages, she
      plays in the hollows of my ears,
      invades the chambers of my lungs,
      beckons my spirit to linger
      in her high meadow eden.


      After the long descent to Emerald Bay
      I climb an extra half-mile of trail
      to Eagle Falls.

      Steep stone steps
      accelerate my heartbeat.
      I calculate altitude.

      At trails-end I rest.
      No waterfall cascades.
      Only a thin stream

      lingers in Autumn,
      etches pewter and flint feather motifs
      across granite slabs.

      High above,
      gray mountain fortress crowns
      an unreachable peak.

      I exalt my pulsing heart,
      sturdy legs,
      the perpetual bellows of my lungs,

      the privilege of living.


      Immersed in a painter's autumn
      paradise at Spooner Lake,
      I place joyous footsteps on a dusty path.

      Trembling aspens rustle with each slight breeze.
      In the long-grass boggy meadow
      savanna sparrows and a warbling vireo exchange songs.

      A congregation of cones gathers
      under the Jeffrey pines
      beside a cluster of whistler brush.

      In an aspen grove a hundred black eyes
      stare from white bark,
      insist I bear witness to silent desecration,
      names engraved into living trunks.

      Before I complete the circle
      I shed tears for the trees.

    Laura Bayless

    San Jose, CA


      Here he comes again
      With his peculiar limp
      In time before the summer
      Melts the last patches of snow.
      He tosses off his heavy load
      And rests in my back yard
      Among the granite rocks.

      Yes, he has slowed down
      Since I saw him last
      On top of the granite rock.
      We locked eyes for a long time
      I circled around
      For a closer inspection.

      For a long time he stares
      Into the brook, watching
      The trout easing into the current
      Drifting down stream into the lake.
      He is at a loss for words
      Understanding little what he sees.

      Even the ants notice the difference,
      Moving in aggressively.
      He flicks them off, unaware
      Of their keen instinct
      For slowing movement.
      He gets up—let’s meet again.
      If we don't it's all right too.

    Franz Spickhoff

    Dorset, England


      Hidden well behind the eyes
      mystery in deepest black,
      what you do not know you see
      in the mirror looking back;

      feel the pulse to count you hear
      catch the daydream on your face,
      everyone is somewhere else,
      somewhere in that inner space;

      emptiness is what you are
      omnipresent like the air,
      you resolve my universe
      sitting in that rocking—chair.

    There are a lot of my poems wanting to speak on www.mysticseed.com

    Roy Austin

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    Section E: .................................................................. November 15, 2003

    Carmel valley, CA


      As I help a stranger on with her burgundy sweater,
      my hands feel the soft fullness of cashmere
      and smiles exchanged bring Kindness into bloom.

      Before, Kindness sat at the edge of the seat,
      not really listening to the lecture praising his worth,
      rather ego less, this Kindness.

      The room a bit too crowded, heated by so many presences
      warmed by the sun attempting entrance,
      ventilation sparse except for the open hallway.

      But, Kindness knew he would be of service, winked at patience,
      let judgment fly away through the open window
      noted the sky, honoring the monastery with its blue umbrella.

      At the end of the long lecture, all other words fall to the ground
      provide a padded pathway, rose-scented, for Kindness to walk
      and nod silently to those along the way.

    Illia Thompson

    Dorset, England


      The wild strawberry
      tastes like nothing else I know,
      shy behind the leaf;

      below my plimsole
      I see a viper slither
      to a timbered bole,

      and the children, lithe
      surprising with hide and seek,
      echoing strange myth.

    There are a lot of my poems wanting to speak on www.mysticseed.com

    Roy Austin

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    Section D: .................................................................. October 15, 2003

    Del Rey Oaks

    [Steve's painting]


      and verily it came to be
      that the world became filled
      with greed
      and the greed became
      one with the word
      and the word became
      angry and violent
      and the violence begat
      hate and fear
      and the word was
      changed from the light of day
      to the dark of night
      and they who stole
      the word had become
      as money changers
      to be driven from the
      temple once more

      "Forgive them father they know not what they do!"

    ©Stephen Brown

    Salinas, CA


      My last day in Ireland, I happened upon,
      on a Dublin sidewalk,
      An exhibit of photographs.

      Artfully composed pictures of the sea
      Beaches, black cliffs, twisted trees,
      Glassed in photographs showing detail of
      Sea urchins and scallop shells.

      Green, green, hills and rocks and rivers and busy cities
      Of the emerald isle.

      But other pictures appear.
      Sun's bright rays project the scene behind me
      onto the framed images.

      The old Georgian architecture of Dublin
      Dances and shimmers on the covering glass,
      Making wavy patterns
      Of the neat rows of bricks on the buildings at my back,
      An optical trick of reflected light.

      Behind me, a car moves, I can hear it swoosh
      And I see it, blue car, moving right to left
      Across the frames, animating the still pictures .
      Next, a horse wearing blinders, floats across, superimposing
      Itself on a beach scene.
      The horse pulls a buggy with brightly painted wheels.

      Carriage and horse are called a jaunty cart,
      They are for hiring
      By tourists, wanting to see Dublin
      As if from a gentle, rocking cradle,

      The rhythmic clop, clop, clop of the horses hooves
      Tattoo a sound behind me as I follow
      Its passage in the new mirror in front of me, the
      Moving reflection, obscuring the quiet Images, so carefully
      Preserved on shiny photo paper.

      Cart and horse and elegant architecture, lovely photographs
      Speak of peace and beauty, and a quiet and gentle life
      Much of it, though not all fancy, designed to
      Lull the hordes of visitors into romantic visions
      Of Ireland.

      Oh yes, I am a tourist, too.
      Camera hanging around my neck, I traveled for 20 days on the island,
      I saw its beautiful hills and mountains and sea. I heard the lilting music of the Irish voice,
      I visited its pubs, and yes, I tasted a little whiskey and drank the ale.
      I sang Ireland's romantic songs and
      read its myths of fairies, little people, and Celtic kings.

      But I could not turn my inner eye away from the evidence I had seen
      When I toured Ireland's castles, forts, and battle scenes
      I learned of Ireland's struggle for religious autonomy
      And to revive a language and culture nearly destroyed by the,
      Neighbor across the sea, whose land grabbing, murders and
      Cold blooded executions.
      Turned some Irish to violence; but most
      To lofty elocution.

      I reflect on the reflections as I watch the horse pull
      The cart off the edge of the exhibit.

      I turn and look over my left shoulder
      To see horse and buggy going down the road,
      I smile, reflect on the reflections,
      And notice, once again,
      That the horse wears blinders.

    Carol Ryan

    Carmel Valley, CA


      Under the autumn-hued
      grape arbor
      I linger
      within the quiet light
      of dusk.

      The moon,
      a white mare's tail
      pinned to a fading blue,
      sways free
      of the last hour,
      suspended over
      a black ridge.

      I hang on
      to singing silence,
      delaying my own descent
      into darkness.


      You come upon your soul
      as if by accident
      in a shaft of light
      melting through a grove
      of shadowed oaks,

      or perched on the cellophane wing
      of a dragonfly staring
      back at you with one black liquid eye.

      The earth stops turning.
      It's the day before eternity,
      a consequence
      of unpredictable splendor.

      A thousand or more melodies
      play in unison,
      notes spilling
      from the mouths of clouds.

      This is the moment
      you would choose to die,
      if death were tidy,
      at your elbow,

    Laura Bayless

    Dorset, England


      The truth is but a dream
      where nothing has a name,
      as all our tomorrows
      are that which never came;
      she punished as the sun
      who sought her on the earth—
      through myths of Acheron,
      the mystic's desert dearth;

      in vultures on thermals
      I seem to read her mind,
      she travels with spirit
      but leaves the flesh behind,
      and hides between heart—beats
      that drum her narrow ledge—
      a bottomless chasm
      that hugs the razor's edge.

    There are a lot of my poems wanting to speak on www.mysticseed.com

    Roy Austin

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    Section C: .................................................................. September 15, 2003

    Fair Oaks, CA

    The September meeting of the Creative Arts Fellowship was a tremendous experience for me. I enjoyed sharing with old and new friends, and wish I could participate more often. The artwork, poetry and performances were very moving, and I felt honored to be in such excellent company. Thank you to everyone who participated. Since the meeting was held on my father's birthday, I wrote this poem in his honor.


      Years ago,
      One Who Knows fathered tiny feminine life,
      dawn of our journey together.

      With booming voice
      and military stance,
      he vitalized my heart with loving attention
      and careful words;
      nourishment poured over blossoming soul.

      In younger times,
      his strong shoulders held inexperienced feet,
      springboard for daring dives into unknown seas;
      lessons of trust wrapped in joyful abandon.

      As my world enlarged beyond parental control,
      his attention turned towards inner space,
      and spiritual journeys into personal truth
      were lovingly offered as
      illustrations for passionate living;
      beacons to smooth the way.

      With passing years,
      fulfillment comes from quiet shared moments,
      often fed by tears,
      always completed by hugs;
      pearlescent gifts exchanged
      between devoted daughter and
      One Who Knows.

      [Carol & Don]

    Carol Mathew-Rogers

    Carmel Valley, CA


      There's something exciting
      about returning home,
      much like reuniting with a lover.
      Profound familiarity beckons,
      reminder that you are awaited.

      Will the red geraniums bloom more fully?
      Will the glass prism on the redwood fence
      announce a rainbow?
      Will the neighbor's yellow cat parade
      as though she were the regal caretaker
      in your absence?

      Finally, you will know
      that home brings more than shelter
      as you enter the gentle protection
      of an embrace as soft as the scent
      of home-grown lavender.

    Illia Thompson

    Carmel Valley, CA


      The wind whistled around my chubby, pink five year old legs and made my skin feel cold and putty-like. I was standing on a railroad platform, looking out through the iron grate railing that ran parallel to the tracks. It was no higher than the average adult's waist but it towered over my small figure. My face was pressed between the narrow bars as I tried to command the best view of the parade of nautical flotsam and jetsam making it's way northward up the Harlem River in New York City.

      My small fingers gripped my father's right hand, as the two of us stood bundled in wool coats and mufflers. Today was one of our special Saturday outings. It was late December, and the station platform was cold and empty. No passengers idled about; and the wind swirled and pinwheeled bits of litter past us down the long cement platform.

      Directly ahead was the wide expanse of the Harlem River. The water was a steel blue color flecked with white caps that rose and fell in a rhythmic cadence behind the tugs and salvage barges that paraded along its route. The sea spray had a salty fishy smell that was tinged with oil and fuel odors. Every once in a while a tugboat would swish slowly past our vantage point, and I would be enthralled with it's funny curved shape as it lurched and bobbed and bellowed smoke from it's single smokestack onto the necklace of old tires that inevitably adorned it's bow. As each tugboat and garbage scow passed close enough to be within earshot, we would wave and yell "Merry Christmas" until we were hoarse. The memory of this outing has remained a childhood highlight because the crew of one rusty, slow moving barge waved back bellowing "Merry Christmas" and serenaded us with a froggy, belching baritone of toots !!!

      My face broke into a broad grin, my fingers were suddenly warm, and my heart thumped in my chest. Santa Claus himself could not have pleased me more.

    Joie Goodkin

    Berlin, Germany

    These painting are part of a series I did on a forest near a small town close to the Dutch border. I've always been fascinated by trees and the magic aura they seem to ooze with.

    [Painting 1]

    [Painting 2]

    [Painting 3]

    [Painting 4]

    Ivor Sias

    Monterey, CA


      I'm sixty!

      How in the world did it happen?
      One day I woke up
      Turned on the heat
      Closed the window
      Put the teakettle on
      Watched the sun come up
      And I was sixty.

      My blond hair is turning white
      I have more lines and grooves
      In my face that once weren't there.
      My round belly refuses to flatten
      Except with tight jeans
      Or pantyhose that should
      Be illegal.

      What happened?
      I am still me!
      People don't act surprised
      When they find out my age.
      Just yesterday I was fortyish.
      I'm surprised as hell.
      Someday I'll be seventy,
      And I'm going to be prepared
      It won't catch me by surprise
      Like sixty did.

    Shirley Tofle

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    Section B: .................................................................. August 15, 2003

    Carmel Valley, CA

      MEMORIAL DAY 2003

      Early November storms ambush
      vulnerable elements in coastal forests,
      scuttle massive and miniature alike,
      relocate the canyon streambed.

      The dead and dying lie tumbled
      in awkward array, a Picasso mural
      of sacrifice to wind and rain.

      In May
      a prolonged series of spring showers
      nourishes a crazy-quilt of color,
      profuse gaudy vaudeville cast
      of wild morning glory trumpets,
      yellow bush lupine.

      Fiery paint brush
      and prairie gentian envelope
      the edges of the path.

      Trailing vines, thick patches of sorrel
      and fragile Queen Anne's lace
      drape winter's fatalities
      in living shrouds,

      so lush you almost forget to mourn.


      If the mind is uncluttered,
      empty of babble and scraps,
      all the bittersweet
      tattered rags of memory,

      is anything possible?

      On a bare stage
      where is material to construct scenery,
      dialogue to write a script,
      experience to tell a story?

      If you sweep the soil
      from thin-skinned corners
      to banish regret,
      what is lost?

      One might wish
      to keep a seed,
      some rubble near the fence
      from which to build
      another treehouse on a cloud.

      Even a dream is grafted
      to whisperings of reality,
      rises through inevitable debris
      to bring you a postcard
      from a deserted island.

    Laura Bayless

    Dorset, England

    I enclose one short poem which I want to start...I like this little poem because it is increasingly my attitude to writing poetry (though it hasn't always been) that in saying a little I try to say a lot!

      (in memory of J. Krishnamurti)

      Before my cloth
      destroyed the moth
      which was my cleaning duty,
      did i reject it's beauty!

      For still it clings
      and how it sings
      from those unfolded wings.


      Was truth, scrambled like an egg,
      does it leave you here to beg!
      Tangled in a snare and shot—
      does a tiger haunt your lot!

      Nothing, breeding ground of fear
      fills the void with that idea,
      leaves the scripture on the shelf
      genuflecting to itself;

      winnowing and blowing back
      is life's bread this empty sack
      answering a pilgrim's prayer
      suddenly, with nothing there!

      Are we lost from too much geist,
      are we something less than Christ
      or is it providence we miss!
      was Artemis, displaced by this!


      Sky at noon
      echoes the bluebell
      ghosting the moon
      echoing dust,
      bee to bloom
      where the live wire sings,
      follow for now the drone of

      Hawk hovers
      where the fossils talk,
      my poppies grow
      through flint and chalk...

      I must leave
      no scent behind me
      run with the fox
      to waiting ground;
      will i see you
      through my one eye—
      your spirit in the

      As silent
      as the swooping owl
      admit the vole
      into my soul...
      Dark, my way
      as phases of moon,
      her mystic way
      echoing light.

    There are a lot of my poems wanting to speak on www.mysticseed.com... I need to give a voice to these poems!

    Roy Austin


    I have to struggle to fall asleep in these too warm summer nights, so I read, or write, or just watch into darkness, the imagination weaving facts (e.g. dragonflies) and fancies to an incoherent stream.


      My body longs for shivers at night
      I listen to
      Songs sung without music
      A flower
      Missing leaves
      It's blossom beams lovely
      A donkey
      Friendly eyes
      Soft nostrils
      Kissing fairies
      Shining between emerald trees
      Hook female head to male backside
      Making love flying
      A dancing circle
      Translucent wings
      Over cool water
      Songs not sung
      My heart resonates

    Hilly Mueller

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    Section A: .................................................................. July 15, 2003


    Recently I found a smoothed three dimensional portrait of the Turin shroud face originally produced by sweat and blood forensic scientists say (http://www.shroud.com/meacham2.htm). Since I started to draw portraits I am fascinated by all the different traits and expressions faces show, and how they can be reproduced when watching carefully. It is a good way to study fello(wo)men and oneself.

    I drew this picture with much respect and pity for the deadly wounded person it shows. There is despair of what people can do to each other. At the same time I am in awe of the ability to forgive. A joyful wonder to belong to the human community, that is able to acknowledge such as true greatness.



      I draw with chalk
      this one drew with blood
      a memory
      a face
      traits of destruction
      blood stains on the forehead
      caused by thorns
      bloody eyelid
      caused by hits
      broken nose
      bloody cheek
      caused by weakness
      no graceful smile as Mona Lisa's
      no fierce force as a warrior
      no mighty king
      humanity's face
      peaceful dignity
      after being destructed
      by fate
      fellow humans
      he had forgiven

    Hilly Mueller

    Monterey, CA


      I ache today.
      Something pull and tugs
      At my energy.
      I'm not ready to succeed
      At anything of great Importance.
      I sit silent at the table
      Stripping thyme from thin dried stems
      Tedious work, soothing and slow
      Like breathing

      I want the mindless thing today.
      Do not ask me to create.
      The well seems dry.
      I'll wait for rain
      To fill me again.
      There sits my violin
      Encased within velvet and silk
      Like a princess on a fine small bed.
      It cannot sing without my help,
      My hands
      And I am empty now
      Not able and not willing

      Yet I feel that something good
      Is coming soon.
      My cup will be filled.
      I gather something from
      The tree next door
      From the wind a song
      From the red tailed hawk
      A rush of wings and a cry.

      I eat a hearty salad
      On a redwood bench
      In the back yard
      And let the magic come to me.

    Shirley Tofle

    Carmel Valley, CA


      they come
          with measured pace
      near the end of day
          tranquil pagans
      some in pairs
          others alone
      all facing west

          of galloping
      wild white mares
          before them...

      they kneel
          in the sand
          of the descending
      gold coin
          divine doubloon
          on some winter evening
      into the blue
      of the sea

    Laura Bayless

    Thank you for your creative offerings!

    I invite readers to share their own creative works (poems, stories, images, comment, etc.) in Letter Box On Line (LBOL). I look for work and comments I feel support understanding and encouragement of the creative process, and hence, the process of life.

    The Editor

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