Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #3
This poem was written by my husband, Jon Ruffatto. He was impressed by Creative Edge and wanted you to have the first poem he's ever written. Jon works at sea aboard an asphalt carrier. He saw a butterfly with very colorful wings "lift" from the sea and saw the beauty in it -- and at the same time felt sorrowful about the Bosnian situation; thus he was inspired to write the poem. (Joyce Ruffatto)
Today I saw a butterfly
the butterfly that lifted
when great bells, swing, made to ring,
were there holes in the wings?
but miss the little things
Don't forget the butterfly
the bells ring, the tears sting
Don't forget the butterfly.
The first time this Monday's poem was published, I didn't put my name to it, using Random Acts, a small group I belonged to, instead. I sometimes am self-conscious about my thoughts, feelings, beliefs. Occupational hazard.
Everything is sacred,
Sacred are the churches,
Even those that insist
It is all the boom, flood,
I am starting to write poetry more as a result of a challenge that I gave myself... I would do something creative each day. It is a resolution that I have kept up, except for two days, this past month. When my son asked me to write some poems for him, this short poem came to me:
My son asked for my poems.
Stephens City, VA
This is my first attempt to write a poem.
I joined the net some months ago
I looked at so many sites, you see
I found a site that seemed okay
I am a little shy, my nature, you see,
The first two were lonely, looking for love
Still lonely, I browsed more bios you see.
She was divorced and living alone
It has happened so fast, this affair of my heart
Together we will walk through life hand in hand
All of my poems/stories are based around my life and the situations that build in it. I base a number of these on my fiancee, who is the love of my life and my inspirational dreamer. With out him, I just don't know how I could express myself and who I am. My poetry comes naturally to me to express these feelings, and how many people in society do you know who would accept somebody walking around talking in that manner or context? Alas, in any relationship, there are also conflicts which must be resolved, and again, my most reliable source of resolution is my writing. It is the truer side of who I am.
We should have been together in a different age,
Here is my next effort that I think is ready for anybody to see. This one is more a story than a reflection of life on the service. Yet because my writing style is cryptic, it does have meaning between the lines. I hope you deem it worthy to publish -- and thanks for publishing my last piece. Boy, have I grown up since then -- I have learned that if you persist long enough and have enough faith then anything is possible!!!!!
Once upon a time in a land far, far away there lived a great old toy maker whose house was full of all sorts of toys. People throughout the land would go to this toy maker for he was the master craftsman, and he knew all his toys because he would talk to them as he made them.
Every night when the toy maker would blow out his candle and go to bed, the toys would come alive and they would play games together and laugh and have fun. The Barbies would dance with the G.I. Joes, and the Lego would play cards with the chess pieces. In fact all the toys would have the merriment of their lives.
All that is, except for one; a puppet who sat high on the shelf unable to move for he was tethered by string and needed someone to direct and guide him. The puppet would question: "Why great toy maker, have you tethered me with string, unable to move without your guidance and directions?" It would make him sad, to have to sit back and watch the remote controlled cars zip by, free to go where they pleased, to race around -- to slide jump and flip. "I want to move and play and be free like the others. Toy maker, when will these strings become not a burden?" the puppet would cry.
The next day the toy maker was dusting his shelves and came across the puppet. He picked up it's cross and marveled at his workmanship before directing the puppet to walk. "I have a strong feeling about you," he wondered out aloud, "There is a reason why I made you like I made you. Yes, I have strong feelings about you."
That night when the toy maker had blown out his candle and had gone to bed, the toys came alive and started from where they had left off. From high on the shelf, the puppet watched as the remote controlled cars took themselves where they pleased, but gone was the zip, the slide jump and flip. The puppet wondered; and looked at his tethers: "What are these pieces of string?"
The next day, a man walked into the toy makers store. "I am looking for a toy for my son," he said, "What about one of those cars?" The toy maker looked up and replied, "A car will go as it pleases, and tires as a result. But this..." he said as he reached up for the puppet, "needs guidance, a skillful hand and thus will never tire."
The man took the puppet from the toy maker and tried it out. It danced,
"I'll take it."
As the man left with the puppet, the toy maker thought -- "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and learn not unto thine own understanding. In all ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thine path." (Proverbs 3: 5,6)
Nov 6: I'm going through this difficult yet potent time of my mother's passing. I've written several poems during the process and wanted to share them with you. It's as though I'm able to climb into my "observer" self and carefully chronicle my emotions through writing. Yesterday my tears finally broke down my carefully constructed dam and they haven't stopped flowing since.
DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY
Heavy body that cannot turn.
Years of leaning on your advice.
I want you to feel good again.
I want the rock wall back
Nothing to push against now.
This is the hour
only leave her trapped
This is the death vigil.
I feel like my heart
I'm alone again.
As old ones have died out
Now I'll be at the top of the chain.
I awoke this morning
I planted a garden
in her honor
I ate my lunch.
Then the call came!
Details will follow
Nov 24: I just received a call from my brother that my mother finally did pass away. A strange phrase, pass away. For the body remains, still and frozen in time and the decaying process. What is it that passes away? Their living, breathing, moving presence for us passes away, no longer available. But as I sat holding Mom's hand yesterday and looked into her eyes that could recognize me, what remained of ther living, breathing, moving self? All that moved was her breath, and that was so labored that it puffed out her neck such that it came even with her chin. Her hand was no longer able to squeeze mine. Her lips could no longer move to form words. The most they could do was hang onto the damp sponge we put in her mouth to give her moisture. Her vocal cords could not form words either, only little grunting sounds, mono sounds of trying to communicate. Once when I told her I was leaving to go home now, her mono sounds came out rapidly in a pair... sounding like uh..uh. So I sat with her a little longer, stroked her, kissed her, cried a little and told her it was ok to let go. That we were all fine. That she lived and would always live in my heart. And other words that came pouring out of my mouth that could still form words.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
It was terrifically exciting to see my writing in the most recent LBOL. You were very right on about seeing one's work "out there". I have even received a response from someone in Australia which has really been an inspiration -- to think someone halfway around the world has the opportunity to read something I have to say. It's really a mind-blower. Thank you, thank you for being there!! Here's another couple of my "musings." Hope you enjoy!
SANIBEL Part II
Shell collecting is a truly profound spiritual experience for me. Now, I suppose different people have different experiences they find deeply moving or profound. But, its amazing to me how every time I have ever walked along the shore on the Sanibel beach (not just any beach mind you) and looked at shells and stooped over to pick up ones that catch my eye -- I am overwhelmed by the magnitude and timelessness of God and life and this planet we call home.
And all this profundity sparked by a silly little thing like a seashell. Maybe, they're not such silly, little things after all... And who knows where these particular shells on the southwest shore of Florida originated -- they could be from the other side of the world for all we know... And what's more, over thousands or maybe millions of years the shells become the very ground we walk upon.
So here I am, taking a leisurely stroll along the shore and I start to pick up a few shells and WHAM, I have the whole history of the universe laid out before me. Life never ceases to amaze me.
Thank you God for the opportunity to realize your magnitude and magnificence -- to feel your presence in the form of a simple shell -- in simplicity, period.
The challenge then, of course, becomes how to carry this simplicity -- this awareness -- this experience of God back to civilization -- to the frantic pace of life that most of us live -- the desperate struggle to survive -- to get ahead -- to succeed -- How do we merge these two? A difficult task perhaps -- but not impossible...
Like any other aspect of the quest to live a more enriching, fulfilling, spiritually-oriented life -- I guess one has to begin with ever-increasing awareness -- and then simplifying --and a dash of discipline thrown in -- ultimately achieving a greater and greater sense of balance.
ISLAND OF WONDER
Soothing and reassuring
Enveloping the weary traveler
Feeding the starving infant
Weave your magic
Call your lost children
IN THE PRESENT
You speak to me of things
Kimberly Anne ( Butterfly )
ON WRITING POETRY: II
And I do not
It was one of my strongest desires to come from a close nit family, and after four years of trying and being slapped in the face for my efforts, I have given up. Yet by giving up on my family, I feel as though I have made a huge sacrifice in the eyes of this society. That is the sad part. My family will never like each other, and even if by some miracle we did, then would I have to sacrifice my creativity and individualism, which is the very reason why I am the Black Sheep in the first place? It's the whole question of the lesser of two evils.
The following is my contribution to the forum.
Today is a sad day for I am reminded of the sacrifice I am giving up in order to live out my dreams. The sad part tells me that I really do want to make this thing work even though I know it won't, and that even if it did it would make things harder and more frustrating.
But how hard is hard? And what are the limits of self determination? I think you should push things to the limit; then will yourself to take that one step further before digressing and using the energy and self-discipline/control to follow the next dream. (Or part of the whole one)
You should push against something -- a challenge? -- something that will test your mental soul, until you can't push anymore. And then break through. Once you have broken through, use that experience to your advantage. Learn from it, build from it, steal its energy. Then jump to the next level of your creativity. This is how you succeed.
But it is sad. It's sad to know that sometimes somethings don't work out even though you wish to God that they would; but wishing that they didn't as well.
Here is a poem and drawing (#9) from my Puti series (Puti: an Italian cherub -- they fly around Rococo alters.).
As time begins
Carmel Valley, CA
Here's my Thanksgiving Haiku
Your web site has been an inspiration to me -- I love it!! "Despair" was really just a silly little poem that I did on the spur of the moment after having described my 'despair' to you -- I was really only having fun with the word itself and thought you might get a chuckle out of it... I can't imagine that anyone would like it!!
Oh, Despair, my old friend
You were there when I needed you
You used to lurk in the shadows
Ah, I recall the day you left
Oh, Despair, my old friend
I wrote (the first) poem on March 6, 1995, when I was 18 yrs old and a Senior in high school... I was dealing with all the stress of graduating when I wrote this, and all I wanted to do was get some rest and dream of more beautiful and peaceful worlds. Also, I had just become a Christian a year and a half before, so I was discovering the wonder and joy of looking to God for my strength, and dreaming of what being with Him in heaven would be like (He's "the One whose redeeming/ lets me rest in the rushing, hushed blessed."). The second poem is from college.
Let me sleep in the rushing noon-tide
Let me sleep in serenity upon soft sand
Let me sleep in the rushing noon-tide
WANDERING THROUGH THE LIBRARY (Sept. 24, 1996)
I am trapped in a sea of dust and knowledge
Fort Lauderdale, FL
I am so thrilled to have found you!! I especially liked what you had to say about revealing "our personal thoughts and feelings in the public arena" and the Creative Edge being a vehicle for that.
Since I am still at the point in my creative development where I find it difficult to "put myself out there," I am thrilled to have found a community of kindred spirits who are giving me an opportunity to share myself and my innermost ideas and feelings. The following is what I call one of my "musings." I hope you enjoy it.
THE DAWNING OF NEW LIFE
Yesterday my friend Susie gave birth to her first child--a 6 lb. 7 oz. beautiful, baby girl. I just had a long conversation with her getting all the details of the labor, birth, etc--and as I got off the phone and I began "musing" about the wonder of it all.
Is there any experience we know of or could even imagine that comes close to the awe, mystery and wonder of birth? I can't think of one.
From the conception--the merging of male and female energies--to gestation--growth--maturation--to labor--and finally, birth.
Isn't it interesting how for thousands of years there have been no rule books or How-To's regarding this most intricate, mysterious process--it just seems to "happen" on its own--guided by its own wisdom. And yet today, in our highly-developed, ultra-sophisticated, "evolved" world, we have reached the point where we seem to need to know "how to" do something that has been "doing itself" since the beginning of life itself.
The act of creation is and always has been. PERIOD. From beginning to end--the process has its own timing--its own "knowing"--Just like Susie was saying about when it was time for her to push--it was just time for her to push--she just knew--
Somehow these thoughts about a new birth and the incredible wonder of it all led my mind to contemplate the similarities with the process of creativity, in general. Conceiving of an idea--allowing it time to gestate--mature--going through a labor period and then voila--giving birth--and seeing the idea in its physical form. A thrilling experience for me, without a doubt.
But what I am coming to understand is that any act of creativity, like creation itself, has its own timing, wisdom, "knowing"--and for me, I am coming to realize that the more I allow myself to "go with the flow" of the process--to trust it--the more creative I actually become.
I am presently in the process of writing a book which I call Celebrations of Wonder. Besides my own reflections or "musings" on the subject (like the above), I would like to include stories, impressions, experiences, anecdotes, etc. by other people, as well.
If anyone would like to contribute a short piece, please contact me. Credit will be given, of course.
Wembley, London, UK
THE PHOTOGRAPH, a short story
This story emerged quite spontaneously and was jotted
Carl J Shoemaker
El Cerrito, CA
I just found your page... It is always a delight to find like minded souls out here in cyberspace... I have facilitated classes, workshops and one retreat in Maui for woman on opening the channel of creativity in everyday life and work. I very much enjoyed reading your comments on creativity, and find them very timely as I push through barriers of emotions to release my own creative work.
My work has taken me to the depths of the human spirit and shaped my life as a writer a poet and a philosopher.While surfing in the net I found about the Creative Edge. It was a wonderful revelation and comfort to know that I am not alone and I am not dammed to the loneliness of the free thinker. Here is my definition of talent.
TALENT: Realizing that we are unique allows us to be authentic.
Reading the wonderful stuff people are sharing, these lines kind of wrote themselves and I felt like sending it too.
God is the greatest game inventor.
Why is it that
That is a feeling,
The most accurate way to describe my writing is that each poem is like a piece of my soul. Emotions are the most powerful substance on this earth and I believe they form many different shapes inside of a person. This can be described at best by things like a person has their demons or monsters or whatever they choose to call their painful emotions. My way of exorcising my demons is to expose them. That gives me the control over my demons and purifies my perception. It also allows me to give certain people an idea of exactly how I think or feel on a subject.
Kimberly Ann Sowko
I climbed to the top of the mountain
The white owl became my mentor
I threw a line to a drowning man
When that poem was written, I was at a low point in my life. For some years I had worked diligently with a Vietnam Marine veteran (my silver wolf), trying, as it were, to "fix" his life. He and I 'walked' and 'slept' on some lonely paths. During that period in time, I also worked a full time job, took night courses at the city college 3 nights a week, and somehow managed to nurture my 13 year old son (getting him to music lessons, etc.); and I was semi-active in the causes of the American Indians at that time. I felt good (the 'superwoman' syndrome!!) Then everything fell apart in my life. The man I loved decided to move on, my son was growing up and seemed to no longer need me, I quit school, and most of all I hated my job of 17 years!
I sat in the forest one day summing up my life -- mentally taking credit for my accomplishments and recognizing my failures. A white owl flew up and landed on a branch within 5 feet of me -- just sat there staring at me. The owl told me that I had failed -- not failed the people I loved, but that I had failed myself. I had been so busy trying to improve other people's life that I failed to feed my own soul. Even knowing this, I still told myself that I could not change. I fell into despair and self-pity and likened myself to the great whale whose destiny will surely be extinction in an uncaring world. So the poem was written by a person (me) who was feeling deep despair.
I would like to point out that about 2 years later, I again witnessed a white owl sitting on a limb; he only looked at me briefly, then spread his beautiful wings and soared through the air with the grace of a sparrow. It all clicked into place, and I too flew, soared, danced away, did handstands on the rainbow!! I still care for others, and help them whenever I can; but I have learned to love and nurture myself as well.
Salt Lake City, UT
True love is perhaps
True love is too
Ingrid Maria Middleton
Pacific Grove, CA
I was playing around writing yesterday and followed a theme to see where it would go. This short story is the result. It has a surprising ending.
I stumbled quite by accident across this site, and was amazed by so many people with the same experiences, and feelings. It is not just a site, but an experience!
You said in NL#24:
"However to be reborn in newness of life, one must be willing to look for their secret hiding places in forgotten often traumatic memories -- like the affliction from Pandora's Box, then engage them with sensitivity and finally, work to make a creative relationship with them as part of our rich inheritance."
I have been an actress all my life. Playing the game of life, as if I had it all figured out. I was quite good at it up until four years ago, then came the collapse. First came the blackouts, but I tried to carry on as if nothing was happening. But when the darkness came, and I had no inner resources to call upon to save me...
I began to seek out someone to tell me what was wrong, what was happening. Little did I know that no one could really answer those questions for me. All they could do was make very educated guesses, give me tests, and medication. And when those didn't work, more guesses, more tests, and more medication.
Soon growing tired of this, I discontinued all of it. I understand that's typical for survivors like myself... Supposedly, childhood trauma or memories are the root of my problem. Therapist had a hard time with me because I could not feel the pain that they felt I needed to in order to exorcise the demons. It seems in order to survive, I learned a lesson I cannot un-learn. I remember, but I feel no animosity concerning my past, and it seems I must, or I am destined to forever live in this void.
After all this, I finally get to the reason for my writing. I too believe that one has to recognize that their past is part of them, and is the reason for their being who they are. I believe the hardships of my past, are to be looked on as a gift. I do not mean that the things done to me were right, but there is no future in blame or self-pity, and I have strengths that enable me to endure what many cannot.
I am now working on coming to know the person I am. I do not know how long this is going to take, or whether I will be any better for the knowledge of it. I only know that I must find me before I can give of myself to anyone.
Except for God, and my family, I am alone on this voyage. I am at peace most of the time, as I have quit fighting and have learned to accept that which cannot be changed, except by time and God.
Expressing myself by writing, is one part of me that I have discovered. I think I am pleased by this, though maybe a little intimidated because of my lack of education... but it helped me to write it. I need to learn to share myself without fear of what others will think of me... a problem that has plagued me for a long time.
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.