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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #21

  • Section A: July 15, 2005
  • Section B: August 15, 2005
  • Section C: September 7, 2005
  • Section D: October 15, 2005
  • Section E: November 15, 2005
  • Section F: .................................................................. December 15, 2005

    Colorado Springs, CO

      FUSION

      I want to remember
             your name.
      I want to remember
             how the two of us
      became the one and
      the one
             became the one
             became the one
             became the one
      as we merged together willing
      to risk it all...
             All the fear,
             All the doubt,
             All the frustration
      that our separation brings.

      And then—
             not knowing or caring
      what the sacrifice might be—
      the two of us
             became the one
             became the one
             became the one
      and the one floated uninterrupted
      through the mystery of eternity.

      I want to remember your name.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Carmel Valley, CA

      DILEMMA

      Should I change the linen
      only used two nights?
      Prepare for sterile sleeping
      as his brother comes in sight?

      Are these two sons of mine
      from the same womb
      desirous of serial sharing
      of the bedding in this room?

      A setting set aside
      for the welcome guest
      Clean towels and empty hangers
      Bright mirrors reflect the best.

      No others would I expect
      To share successive sheeting
      but why waste water and labor
      for siblings that are fleeting?

    Illia Thompson
    Illia99@aol.com

    Del Rey Oaks

      DAY NOTES
      (8/11/05)

      when age had settled
      around my shoulders
      and upon my face
      bringing the resting
      of mind and spirit
      adding the gental glow
      to each day
      I do not miss
      those passions
      that drove
      the frenzy

      but now relish
      the quiet
      easy contemplation
      of winter days
      by the fire
      bread in the oven
      poetry and reading
      a cup of tea
      and the eternal symphony...

      IN THE POND
      (From the Black book dated 10/12/05

      In the pond
      there is a single lotus
      in the lotus
      is a single dew drop
      in the dew drop
      are a thousand Buddha's
      each Buddha holds a single lotus
      each lotus has a single dew drop
      each dew drop holds a thousand Buddha's
      and each Buddha holds
      a single lotus
      in larger and larger circles

      the circle begins to spin
      larger and larger
      while around its edges
      begins the dance
      Buddha and Shiva
      The Great Spirit and Zeus
      Athena and Mohammed
      Zoraster and The One God
      all who wonder
      circling forever
      in a thousand circles
      creating a pond

      In the pond...

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Piedmont, CA

    There were four of us at work who went out to dinner once every six weeks forever and ever. One of us four contracted cancer 3 years ago and has been battling outbreaks throughout her system. She finally left work 6 weeks ago and is not seeing anyone. But myself and one of the other four is going to knock on her door next Monday with a bright-colored throw and this poem to express our feelings. My friend may or may not answer to our knock... We feel so sad and don't know what else to do.

      ACROSS THE ETHER

      If we could
             recall shared laughter,
             smile at our mistakes,
             and hug you close,
      we would do so.

      If we could
             sit beside you,
             hold your hand,
             and give you strength,
      we would do so.

      If we could
             send the sun's warmth,
             embrace your soul,
             and encourage you,
      we would do so.

      If we could
             keep you cozy,
             give you comfort,
             and wrap our love around you,
      we would do so.

      CALIFORNIA WINTER

      The sun drifts low across a pale blue sky
      The crisp, cool days display creamy trunks and limbs
             on bare trees up high.
      My breath appears frosty as it dashes out across silvery air
             while I climb the Piedmont hills,
      Walking past lawns that glimmer dark emerald,
             all covered in dew drops so still.
      These quiet morning walks awash with golden rays
             falling softly across walkways; I halt
      At school grounds where kids are bundled in crimson parkas and
             voices rebound from cold-blackened asphalt.
      Basketballs bounce in high school gymnasiums
             and at outdoor hoops,
      While purple twilight seeps in early and lays longer
             across front stoops.
      People hurry their dogs for a quick turn around a quiet neighborhood;
             as the sky darkens to charcoal,
             all wander inside for a heated meal so good.
      Lights twinkle from houses warmed by crackling fires
             as smoke drifts from chimneys.
      Schoolbooks are opened, TVs are turned on,
             favorite programs to see.
      Finally all snuggle under down comforters
             as rain splatters softly on rooftops
      For this colorful California winter
             where Mother Nature pulls out no stops.

    Pam Quesnoy
    quesnoy@sbcglobal.net

    Pacific Grove, CA

      TABLES

      My mother always set the table for breakfast the night before. "I'm better in the evening," she told questioning houseguests. The family came downstairs to a hot breakfast every day. There was a fresh cheery tablecloth weekly and cloth napkins. On the day of my wedding, I sat at that table with my father, eating oatmeal and reading the funnies.

      Years later, I finally understand the part about being better in the evening, as I lay out my clothes and "To Do" list for the next day—the night before. If I wait until morning, I'm sure to forget something.

      As my mother grew older her health deteriorated. There were two heart surgeries and three hip replacements. When she came home after the surgeries, a hospital bed was set up for her in the den. We brought her meals in on a tray, and often my father sat with her and ate at a TV table. When she recovered, she only climbed up and down the stairs to her bedroom once a day. She set herself up a breakfast tray in the evening, and every morning my father made her breakfast and carried it up the stairs. She ate at her desk. He had already eaten breakfast by himself earlier.

      Once when I was visiting, I happened to walk by their open bedroom door. I saw my father putting my mother's stockings on for her. She saw me, laughed, and said my father was "rough." That was the first time I realized my father was helping my mother to get dressed. In that instant, I knew my own husband would never be willing to do that for me.

      Now my father is the only one living in the house. He still eats breakfast every day in the cozy breakfast room, while he reads the paper. It is always the same: oatmeal, toast, an orange, a glass of milk. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day," he says. At his place is a souvenir placemat from one of the many trips we have taken together. Currently, it is of Lake Superior. Other souvenir placemats from our trips are at the other places at the table. When I visit, I usually eat at Zion National Park.

      I, too, often eat breakfast alone. My only table serves for all meals as well as craft projects, bill paying, Christmas cards, income tax. When I eat breakfast there, I grab silverware from the drawer with one hand on the way to the table. My father will come to visit soon, and I will make his oatmeal.

    Peggy Hansen

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    Section E: .................................................................. November 15, 2005

    Carmel Valley, CA

      ONE

      One truck
      parked on the side of
      Highway One
      red taillights blinking.

      One man
      steps out of the truck
      waits for a break
      in the traffic
      carries a long pole
      with a hook at one end
      approaches one dead raccoon.

      This man gently collects
      the remains of one animal
      places this into that truck
      drives away all lights blinking.

      This one job
      gathering bodies
      with souls evaporated
      takes place multiplied
      on our one earth
      scarred by nature's anger
      and the appetite of war.

      That one image
      a truck on Highway One
      adds up to more than a frame
      on an early Tuesday morning
      to become less than a blink
      as world-wide loss continuously
      breaks hearts into infinite pieces.

    Illia Thompson
    Illia99@aol.com

    Colorado Springs, CO

      SALVATION

      Can you live with the embarrassment
           that honesty brings.
      Can you cry without apology from
            open eyes.
      Can you greet the demon that stares
           back at you from the shattered
           mirror, from the broken heart.

      Face the untold stories from untold
      nights. Weeping alone, angry alone
      without the embrace of heaven,
      without the comfort of stars.

      Can you face the darkness alone.

      Can you trust the silence of your own
      footsteps moving through pain, moving
      through grief and loss, moving through
      water and quick sand, through hail and
      blowing snow.

      Blinded in sight and in mind.

      Nothing
      to greet you or save you.
      Nothing
      to hold you up or wrestle you to the ground.
      Nothing
      and no one but YOU.

      Can you?

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Berkeley, CA

      ODE TO THE TABLE
      (La Serrania, Mallorca)

      Gently, move to the right.
      Pass the wine, please.
      Which would you like, Red or white?

      Ah sing to me of plates, forks, knives and spoons,
      sing to me of cracked walnuts,
             great planks of brown bread
           of conversations great and small,
             of chants, long looks, one to another,
      sing of yourselves to ourselves,
      dance from one day to the next,
        dance from chair to chair,
           dance metaphor to Formentor.

    Larry Ruth
    ergo@nature.berkeley.edu

    Carmel Valley, CA

      WHETHER OR NOT

      I am in the beginning of knowing
      something I do not want to know,
      an annoying mosquito of a lie
      I have told myself.

      I tolerate its presence on my hand,
      permit it to sting,
      but kill it with one swift slap
      before it can draw blood.

      I am considering
      whether or not
      to tear down the stronghold
      that keeps the half truth confined.

      Up until now
      surrender has not been an option,
      trumpet call for troops not sounded,
      witnesses silenced.

      Subliminal bulletins surface.
      I torch them
      with pyrotechnic tantrums.
      The subtext remains nebulous.

      A humble diligence disturbs
      the crypt where
      I believe I have concealed
      my deceit.

      Perhaps I will have an epiphany,
                perhaps not.

      RETEACH A THING ITS LOVELINESS

      There is a pattern to recovery, the way back both a healing and a blooming. The tip of the bud shows its colors, and the calyx begins to bend away from the blossom, allowing the petals to consider light. It is no longer a choice to remain safely encased, to not know our beauty. Even the shy gray dove opens her painted fantail when she flies.

      A flower's life is short, one interlude of loveliness given to each before returning its organic remains to the landscape. We have many opportunities to rekindle growth, to perform on life's stage, to show our colors. Often it is storms and cataclysms that test our courage, toughen our fiber, dare us to weather disaster and come forth altered to greater glory.

      I am lucky enough to recognize the phases now, to remain calm while the damage repairs. In the journal I document the wretchedness and the reconstruction, the depth of the reservoir, the way through the dim caverns. At times there are no words for what is germinating and mending at the same time. I commit to patience.

      When we are young there is no knowledge of redemption to soften the blows. This gift of age and experience is priceless, and droll, a favor and a warning. You are precious. Your hours are incalculable.

      I am writing again with greater depth, clarity and style. This is my signpost, my landmark, my ticket to the concert. There is music to be played. I am polishing my instrument, calling forth the muses and the magic, all the creatures of spirit and the powers of the universe. Revival is near, abiding in persistent dreams and seeds of anticipation.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Piedmont, CA

      THE TEACHER

      She studies and determines material to present
      Her lessons for students of worthy content...
      To develop young minds
      On school days.

      She creates clever lessons to stimulate attention
      To spark and gain interest for the most retention...
      So students will find
      Their own way.

      She explains and illustrates so students can understand
      Then digest, internalize, and have at their command...
      Knowledge of a kind
      That will stay.

      She encourages those who struggle to learn
      Difficult material for hearts that still yearn...
      To capture and bind
      In their array.

      She gives full attention and hears the questions and doubts
      Concerning debatable issues that learned books tout...
      As gold that is mined
      From the knowledge bay.

      She provides food for their minds and nurtures their ideals
      Then stimulates and sets a fire so their hearts will peal...
      Down a street lined
      With the sun's rays.

    Pam Quesnoy
    quesnoy@sbcglobal.net

    Monterey, CA

      THE WHIRLWIND

      Whirlwind:
           Here I am, at your call.

      Shirley:
           Why did you appear in my dream?

      Whirlwind:
           I came at your own Soul's request, to demonstrate to you that
           like me, life can appear spinning out of control, but there is
           still a certain kind of order in the chaos.

      Shirley:
           What kind of order can do so much damage?

      Whirlwind:
           That which tears down structures which are built on a
           weak foundation and can be ripped away. In the void which is
           created, something much stronger can be built.

      Shirley:
           Whenever my structured life is torn apart by fierce winds, I
           feel lost, vulnerable, disoriented and wounded. What can I do then?

      Whirlwind:
           It helps to sit down upon the ground, breath deeply and take
           stock of what remains, your own living being.

      Shirley:
           I feel that I have been through so many whirlwinds and trials.
           What can I do to prevent them in the future?

      Whirlwind:
           You may not be able to prevent them, for there are trials sent
           into human life for glorious growth, but you can remember
           that at the center of every whirlwind is a calm place of peace,
           called the "eye of the storm." Seek it within the spirit which
           is yourself, and there you will find the Truth of your Being.
           I am certain that you will also find the Eye with which to see your path.

    Shirley Tofte

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    Section D: .................................................................. October 15, 2005

    Carmel Valley, CA

      TO MY HUSBAND

      After your death
      I planted young grape vines
      urging them to grow tall
      to hold comfortable clusters
      of dark orbs, late summer offerings

      September's portent of autumn
      green large-veined leaves
      becoming golden, rust, magenta,
      wide as your open hands
      a palette of profusion
      before stark still surrender.

      Today plump purple fruit
      fulfills my earlier desire
      while vines shed occasional
      pale green translucent tears
      that drop to the earth before ripe.

      SOFAR'S CALL

      Biblical times
      tell of ram's horn
      blown to welcome
      each new year.

      Shofar's call created
      by hearty breath forced
      through calcium curves.

      Splendid sound
      of ancient prayer
      announces end of
      daylong worship.

      Essence of gratitude
      for every breath written
      in the Book of Life.

    Illia Thompson
    Illia99@aol.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      SUMMER ESCAPE

      Eager to depart,
      leave behind caustic hours
      in favor of melding
      with landscapes to the south,
      we become mired
      in miles-long traffic jam,
      motorcycle race weekend vehicular hell.

      Finally set free
      from the one-lane lockup of cars
      on Reservation Road,
      we shed frustration,
      turn on tropical tunes
      as calming component
      to humming wheels.

      At Paso Robles we head west,
      glide up and over rolling hills
      tinted in multiple shades
      of green and amber.
      Down the last steep grade
      a long line of blue coastal waters
      seeds our minds with salty language.
      We have been detained too long
      in the halls of obligation,

              break out into poems.

      DUNES DISCOVERY

      On the cliff trail at Montana de Oro
      sand shifts beneath my feet,
      burns calf muscles to quivering cords.

      At the waterline
      granite ledges align,
      stacked together, stone envelopes
      waiting to be mailed.

      Lavender-beach geranium
      amass on every hillock
      and arc along the path.

      Mists caress my face,
      cloak nearby mountain
      in gauzy vapors.

      Patches of blue emerge
      and disappear,
      sea and sky in a Virginia reel
      parallel-union
      at a coastal junction.

      I am between alliances,
      content to explore,
      ripe with gratitude
      for what materializes
      and departs.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

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    Section C: .................................................................. September 7, 2005

    Fair Oaks, CA

      AS MOTHERHOOD WATCHES

      Laughing,
      tumbling,
      shouting,
      layers of young lives
      joyously escape
      education's restrictions.

      Standing,
      momentarily caught by the flow,
      watching,
      waiting,
      hands on heavy belly
      feeling the pulse:
      new life yearning to be free.

      Groceries forgotten,
      I watch
      in wonderment
      knowing that soon
      my own new pulse
      would be there.
      A child.
      Our child,
      of love.

    Carol Lynn Mathew-Rogers
    mathewrogers@lanset.com

    Los Osos, CA

    Winter Soldier is a documentary (movie) made back in 1972. It was shocking then and from what I have heard, is just as shocking still today. Chances are that you didn't see it when it was new, since public sensibilities were pretty delicate back then and it was such a cold hard look at the brutality of war...

    Winter Soldier has been airing (now) in a few cities around the country. (This is) a glimpse of my perspective on all of this, my story I wrote a while back. It pretty much explains why I need to see this movie.

      TROJAN HORSE

      He came, a child,
      Not quite innocent,
      And left, no more a man.
      Monstrous—dark heart.
      War dog. Hound of hell.
      Suffering sorrows,
      Anguished agony,
      Scorched death—his own
              not allowed
              But inflicted.
      He would carry it long
      And live its agony
      In dumpsters and shadowed doorways
      stinking with old beer and piss,
      And nights of terror
      And hollow black emptiness.
      shattered.
      Lost.

    The year he was 18, his draft lottery number was 7. If he had been 19 that year he would have been drafted into the Viet Nam War in January. It was a wakeup call.

    He was a gentle soul from a family of gentle souls. No one ever argued in his family. It was not spiritual or mature to fight, and his parents did not tolerate it. He had assimilated the calm and gentleness of his family into his being from an early age, and the very possibility of combat duty in the most horrific and publicly examined war of his time was more terrifying than any possibility he could fathom.

    The next year, his lottery number was 137. Estimates were that the draft would roll around to his number sometime in the early Fall. But a miracle happened. The Nixon administration began to pull troops out of Viet Nam, and within the year, extricated the United States from the conflict entirely. Regardless of whatever stains may have darkened the record of Richard Nixon's presidency, he always would love the man for this act of sanity that had been so illusive to his predecessors in both parties. The draft never reached his number that year.

    But having escaped the draft, he still could not escape the spectre of Viet Nam. Many of his friends had gone. The luckiest ones seemed to be the ones who came back in coffins. America spent the rest of his generation wrestling with the horror that little war unleashed on her children. He often wondered why he had been spared. He was truly certain that to go would have utterly destroyed him, and suspected providence. But why had providence smiled on him but not on so many others he knew? He could not feel guilt for being spared, but was uneasy with it anyway. It lurked in his heart unchallenged and unhealed for almost 30 years.

    After a few years, movies about Viet Nam began to surface. He never went to see any of them. The chaotic senselessness of the war still disturbed him too much. There was something in it that he could not identify—something that tore him apart inside even though he had not personally experienced the war first hand.

    As the years passed, he never examined this overpowering aversion and terror. It seemed to crop up whenever he heard explicit accounts of violent, horrible abuse of groups or individuals at the hands of others. Holocaust stories and genocide and serial killings all seemed to stir the same dark brooding aversion. He avoided movies that depicted such events, and consciously practiced diversion from thinking about such things. He had always taken a measure of comfort in how repulsive such things were to him. It seemed to anchor his goodness and moral strength.

    One day he made an emphatic comment to a friend about never watching Viet Nam movies. Her eyes lit up. His aversion was too strong. There must be some dark thing beneath it. She prodded him to explain it and for weeks they discussed it. Then one day, it came clear to them both. The problem of Viet Nam was not that violence had been done. There were accounts of violence every day in the news. There were instances of violence everywhere in the entertainment media. These were deplorable to him, but most of them didn't evoke anything of the revulsion that they were examining now.

    The problem of Viet Nam was that it forced America's sons to confront their darkest, most horrifying potential for inhumanity, and then it abandoned them to the hell that boiled up from their hearts. Viet Nam moved and tore him so deeply because he knew that the monsters forced to the surface so violently and out of time for the veterans who had gone there were no less present in his own heart and in the hearts of human beings everywhere. Viet Nam had been a window into the dark shadows that lurk deep and unmolested in all of us. He had read essays to this effect over the years, and had intellectually assented to their theses. But this was different. Those essays had not touched the shadow in his own heart. They had been ideas to him. This was his own shadow.

    Now he saw that his aversion to deeds of inhumane evil was not so much an indication of his own moral strength but rather a deep dread of his own capacity to move in such dark places himself. What would it take to push a gentle, peaceful man like him into an unthinkable act? He knew that the world he lived in was capable of such a push. The things that were so repulsive to him were examples of just such a push—examples of people much like him who found themselves in circumstances that left no moral high ground; no clean way out. Or people who had been pushed over the edge into pain that deadened their hearts to their own humanity.

    The fact that his life had not pushed him so far was little comfort. He was clearly aware for the first time in his life that the darkest, most diabolical evil he could imagine was within his capacity. He had after all, been the one who imagined it. And he began to see how his upbringing had loaded the shadow with moral urgency. It had not just been good to be calm and peaceful and full of gentleness in his family—it had been mandatory. The struggle to overcome evil had depended on it. He had carried the banner. He had fought the good fight. And yet he had always been beset with this nagging undefined horror within. He was a Trojan Horse, and so, could never risk a moment to rest.

    He began to grow a deepening sense that he must come face to face with this black potential and learn from it. This would be the only hope to overcome its terror. Only by knowing it well, measuring its reach, testing its energy, could he trust his ability to live with it in balance and peace. This was perhaps, the greatest challenge he had encountered thus far in his life. It entailed walking into utter darkness to encounter monsters made of shadow. He must feel his way along, and trust his heart in darkness as well as he had learned to trust it in light.

    ©2005 Michael Reddell
    michael@reddell.net

    Colorado Springs, CO

    I send you my offering for Sept... I was so fascinated with Aug. LBOL. Three poets with three points of view, but each of us writing about the same thing. At least that is the way I saw it. We each seemed to be in the same place and searching to describe how this space felt to each of us. I think that is what I love most about poetry—it gives everything a voice, even the profane.

      THE MIRACLE OF TWINS

      The mystery of twins
      has arrived in our clan—
      entered in masculine form.
      Are they two souls with a single
      song, or will their dance reflect to us
      their opposites. I stare in amazement
      as the mystery hooks me.

      What is it like to be a twin?

      No mirror is needed they have
      carried their own in with them. What is
      it like to have no escape from your own
      reflection. Knowing that to turn away
      from this image is to turn your back
      on the bond that created you.

      Do twins
      then bring in a special
      strength that the rest of us lack.
      A courage to fight for individuation
      against enormous odds. Aware that
      the likeness they carry might be
      their greatest obstacle.

      I am caught in the wonder of it all.

      Two faces,
      with the same smile,
      greet me. Validate my curiosity
      to understand this great mystery.
      Such wisdom already visible to me their
      student. They speak, I, the Grandmother,
      listen. Is this communication merely
      the prattle of the infant, or is it the
      pure essence of a language that
      all of us have forgotten.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Del Rey Oaks

      POINT LOBOS
      10-15-04

      long wave
      grey and green
      playing coasts
      sky fog
      lines up
      the pelicans
      awards the surf line
      tops turning white
      to settle down
      gently steel grey
      pine bark texture
      reaching into the sky
      awards for life
      awards of life
      given and taken
      by the comarants
      to the otters
      played by seals
      along the edge

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      LOST POEMS

      I want to reclaim the words
      that arrive while walking
      and vanish by the time
      I return to pen and paper.

      Murmurs and sighs
      punctuate a lost narrative,
      left behind in the landscape.

      Descriptions drip
      with the honey
      of symbolic parables.

      Fat bumblebees drone
      embellishments.
      Suggestions of significance
      drift away.

      I toss-phrases out
      to the tempo of my steps,
      hope rhythm
      will bind them to my mind.

      What doesn't get written
      is harder to catch
      than sunbeams.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

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    Section B: .................................................................. August 15, 2005

    Colorado Springs, CO

    I debated about sending this one. Sometimes the conversations I am having with myself hold too much of the truth. I wonder how much is me and how much of me has been defined by those who taught me. I seem to be a combination of it all and somewhere buried in all of this acquired junk is my authentic self screaming to be set free.

      THE WISDOM IN FORGIVENESS

      Believing myself to be honest I
      approached life with a sharp
      tongue. Sharper still were
      the words I delivered.

      Words that easily shot down
      small birds and, better yet,
      words that pierced the
      hearts of old stags
      still believing
      themselves
      in power.

      Even though compassion was gifted
      back, forgiveness offered...I refused.
      Not yet finished with punishing
      myself, and punishing others
      for what I perceived they
      did wrong. The priest in
      the confessional had
      taught me well about
      sin and penance.

      Laying down these earlier teachings
      by those I trusted the most is not
      easy. They didn't mean to harm
      me. For them these teachings
      were true and the only path
      back to their fearful,
      vengeful god.

      Wrapped in their own pain and
      suffering they neglected to
      teach me of a loving
      presence. They too
      were well trained.
      In learning to
      forgive them
      for their error I am
      now free to love and forgive myself.

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Del Rey Oaks

      POETRY WHY DO YOU EMBARRASS ME

      Poetry why do you embarrass me
      you whore?

      Why do you cross the street to greet me
      when I am in polite company
      surrounded by gentile folks
      who know you for what you are
      a harlot?

      Unwanted by polite society
      ridiculed by the sports folks,
      who's testosterone runs the world,
      the greed maker who won't support you,
      "does it add to the bottom line?"

      Why do you run towards me
      and embarrass me
      and make me ashamed?

      You and your sister culture
      have had your day
      when things were beautiful and free.

      It is time to pay the piper

      Poetry why do you embarrass me?

    Stephen Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Carmel Valley, CA

      I WRITE TO STAY ALIVE

      How does it come to this...
      solitary afternoon beside the sea,
      a long stretch of curved sand,
      foaming hiss of small waves
      all that breaks an otherwise silence.

      One gull stands guard
      on the crown
      of an anaglyph tower
      of boulders.
      This empty beach a temple.

      Limpid sunlight sifts
      through high clouds.
      A congregation of crows
      gathers for early evening vespers.

      Somewhere between contentment
      and loneliness
      I sense all the the loved ones
      in my life slowly disappear,
      contemplate forty years
      of grief condensed to this one moment,
      needing some one and no one

      and tomorrow

      deciding whether to go or stay.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

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    Section A: .................................................................. July 15, 2005

    Colorado Springs, CO

    I was deeply touched by Shirley Tofte's poem, "Dark Angel". This magnificent piece of writing deeply touched my soul. Such grace deserves praise. Thank you, Shirley.

      CELEBRATION

      Today—
      I celebrate your life!

      Not the years,
      nor the days, but
      all the mountains you
      have climbed, all the
      rivers you have crossed.
      The rise of your chin
      above the water when
      the fast moving current
      of life caught you unaware.

      Always looking upward.

      The smile on
      your face and the
      strength of your hand
      as you reached out
      for the shoreline.

      Determined—To stand
      firm again on solid ground.

      You—
      journeyed
      the path of a woman,
      tasted its sweet delight,
      known its bitter struggle.

      You have lived life,
      and you have given life.
      No wonder—today is a celebration!

    Patricia Ann Doneson
    padoneson@earthlink.net

    Carmel Valley, CA

      INLAND ODYSSEY

      Just off Elkhorn Road the trail turns
      west on a weed-choked track
      toward the five fingers of a wetlands marsh.

      Meadow barley, salt grass, and wild radish
      merge with dense woodlands
      along shallow mudflats.

      Tiny suncups edge an overgrown path
      down to a gray weathered dock,
      its bleached legs anchored in rusty pickleweed.

      A painted lady, wings motionless,
      feeds on a hillside pasture
      buttered with blooming field mustard.

      At the promontory of Parson's Slough
      three gulls notch the sky, glide and dive
      over receding estuary channels.

      Itinerant flocks of shorebirds
      dine on burrowing invertebrates
      on the ebbing tide.

      In the distance the breeze carries
      the desolate wail, clang, and rumble
      of a passing freight train.

      Sunbeams glint through streamers
      of swaying eucalyptus leaves
      and the outstretched arms of oak limbs.

      Your mind drops a stitch,
      loves the lonely whistle of the kestrel,
      the bristly beauty of the cobweb thistle.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    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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