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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #9

  • Section A: July 15, 1999
  • Section B: August 15, 1999
  • Section C: September 15, 1999
  • Section D: October 15, 1999
  • Section E: November 15, 1999
  • Section F: .................................................................. December 15, 1999

    Carmel, CA

      COLD FRONT

      with Dawn again
      only

      us

      and light bearing
      Venus

      ménage á trois

      and the wind
      too has

      blown

      the stars away
      has blown

      the weight

      off my shoulders
      amongst

      all these

      planetary
      emotions

      and figures

      emerging
      all in all

      the livelong day

      particulate
      and wave

      i observe

      myself to be
      longing

      full body mass

      wide-eyed
      awake

      attending Earth

      swerving
      sway

      released

      perchance
      to play

      CAVE OF THE SKY

      i will

      i must leave
      this poem

      unformed

      find the poem
      forming

      on its own

      between us
      this wisdom

      of insecurity

      is crazy
      wisdom

      so why

      do i not feel
      the dying

      this morning

      not even
      yours

      why do i smell

      seasalt and taste
      this wierd

      aliveness see there

      we are we are
      that pair o ducks

      and all this is all

      so short shortlived
      longlived

      i find that life is very long

      and i hear this
      mad flapping

      as Dawn slips

      away in stark
      brightness

      converging

      with this day's
      incompleteness

    John Calvin (Dotson)
    athanor@mbay.net (Athanor)

    (Check out John's new program: on KAZU 90.3 fm
    Saturdays at midnight until two a.m. with E-mail contact.)

    Pacific Grove, CA

      UNTITLED ( for J.H.)

      The fogscape at the treetops
      is place to roam,
      a pasture to peace.

      There are those who'll say
      it's deception at the heights:
      a comedic set-up for tragic fall.

      But as I approach and descend
      below
      I carry the sunshine you've given
      the unspoken sayings of love
      and think of all things
      that could fall
      through those clouds
      to me
      to soil enriched
      deeper earth
      and then ascend
      any bleak outlooks
      with the ever-growing
      roots of Reality.

      And I wink.

    Iskandar Soekardi
    ismail@mbay.net

    San Jose, CA

    AN ANGEL SOMEWHERE IN TIME

    Once somewhere in time I know I had a special love. I long to remember
    her. In my mind's eyes, I have tried to caress her sweet and tender
    cheek. I have tried to look into the gentle affectionate eyes, that
    reflected my love so very long ago. But she in not there. Yet I know and
    believe that she was!

    She must have been there, because what else explains my tears at sunset?
    Why else would tender melodies make me feel horribly alone? And what
    else explains waking in the morning and looking for her body in my bed
    only to imagine that I smell her fragrance?

    This life time has brought me much pain. I have lost so much. And there
    have been so many times, I wanted it to all end. As I lay bed in the
    night I have called for my angel to fall from the city of angels. I have
    demanded that she come to my bed and warm me with her love. And many
    years, nights have gone by with this chant on my lips

    Recently a woman has come into my life. She is full of obligation. And
    those obligations dictate her. She is effervescent and full of kindness.
    I said to myself I could love a woman like this. And then ever so naturally
    I looked into her eyes. And what I saw was my loves reflection.
    We embraced. The world stood still. And she loved me back.

    Then she explained with great patience that this was just a reflection
    of our place, somewhere in time. She talked about a different world with
    other responsibilities. I listened and I thought, she doesn't want my
    lips against hers. She talked about her ethics. And I thought, I will
    never wake up in her arms. Then she said, she will always be my friend.
    And I thought you will always be my love.

    Newell Dodd
    r.n.dodd@worldnet.att.net

    Carmel, CA Gayla Mackenzie
    gmmackenzie@earthlink.net

    Soquel, CA

    Not knowing why, some years ago I began to practice Zen Buddhism, one of the hardest and simplest things I've ever done. This poem is an expression of my gratitude to my teacher.

      KATHERINE THANAS, TEACHINGS

      They elude, the words.
      I cannot say my teacher's
      clear teachings.

      It has to do with darkness,
      it has to do with a bursting.

      The darkness is not dark,
      the bursting is not light.

      The darkness is not seeing
      what is seen;
      the bursting is so soft a seeing
      what is seen.

      My teacher abides
      in my struggle
      with the self to be met.

      With the attenuated stillness
      of a man in a belfry
      waiting for a signal,
      I hear faint stoic echoes
      in her compassion;
      an integrity mark on the air
      about the paused moment.

      In listening I am aware
      I am not aware.

      Feel saturated with doubt,
      singed with fear. Want to run away, be small;
      spit icepick walkaway words.

      "Notice," my teacher says
      in so soft a voice,
      "Next time you feel that way,
      just notice."

      There is the offered path
      and no path.

      There is a place
      my doubt so long denied.
      Everyday kindness is there.

      I take the no path.

    Donald Marsh
    marsh@cruzio.com
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

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    Section E: .................................................................. November 15, 1999

    Carmel, CA

      LUMINOUS

      the luminous

      Moon is
      mahabindu

      of Night

      swaying so
      elegantly

      behind this

      morning's thick
      silver veil

      unfolding unto

      Dawn not yet
      appearing

      ——(mahabindu = Great Point)

      ARRIVAL

      Dawn arrives

      Venus tags Orion
      galaxies and all

      dancing stars

      are finding places
      now to hide

      among her scarves

    John Calvin (Dotson)
    athanor@mbay.net (Athanor)

    (Check out John's new program: on KAZU 90.3 fm
    Saturdays at midnight until two a.m. with E-mail contact.)

    Sacramento, CA

    I am sending you the poem I wrote during the recent Creative Arts Retreat Weekend, I would be honored to have it on the Creative Edge web site, please consider this as a submittal. Thank you again for your hospitality and the opportunity you provide with the Creative Edge.

      THE NEST

      Building my nest, in the soft needles of pine
      Surrounded by sound and action
      Soft, round, safe, like my body
      Growing and learning and knowing who I am
      Going back to center, to the core, to my soul
      My soul, it has kept me going on my journey to wholeness
      My soul, longs to be recognized and honored
      Not by the world, but by me
      Honoring self, loving self, a task that seems impossible
      Yet, so necessary to thrive past survival

    Billie Custock
    billie@coyotespeaks.com

    San Jose, CA

      DANDELIONS MAKE ME CRY

      There once was a little girl, walking
      in a grassy field, on a hill above a blue
      and rushing river. There were white and
      wispy clouds rushing by...driven by
      the same winds that blew her
      hair, here and there. I looked on in
      adoration. I thought she has my hair.
      She wore a turquoise dress that
      highlighted the blue, blue moons of her
      eyes. And I thought...only once in a
      great while is somebody blessed like
      this.

      She stooped down to pickup a bouquet
      of seed pods, from the dandelion tapestry
      that carpeted our path. She brought
      the seed pods up to her kissing lips to blow
      them into the wind. But disappointment
      appeared on her face when she realized
      that the wind had magically taken them
      away before she could bring her breaths
      force to effect. But a moment later she
      excitedly began chasing along after the
      then air born seeds, on their journey
      of adventure. It was this constant excitement
      and wonder that made me love her so much.

      As she grew she became strong. Her
      passions dominated her. And I could
      see that she was made for love. I was
      pleased and terrified at the same time.
      She had grown into the beauty I had
      expected. And I tried to protect her with my
      intelligence born of fear. But as fate would
      have it, I failed! I should have known that
      you can't protect beauty...you can only
      appreciate it. And that foolheardy protective
      effort damaged that love. It tarnished
      that windblown dandelion day. And both
      our cups filled to above the brim with pain.

      Then there was horrible emptiness. Such a
      long emptiness. There was so much tragedy.
      The pain seemed unbearable. I had lost my
      babe. Then one overcast day I heard the news.
      My little girl had given birth to two dead baby
      girls. How can news hurt so much? How can
      words describe such rippling pain? Today I
      am still alone. My bloom has gone to seed. I
      I haven't seen my daughters blue eyes in a
      blue moon. And dandelions make me cry.

    Newell Dodd
    r.n.dodd@worldnet.att.net

    Molieres, France

      MASKS LIFT IN THIS HOUSE

      of blue and yellow light,
      dark corners owned
      by eight leggeds
      and common gnats.

      Walls slide wide
      and ancient,
      glow with quiet light
      The bare sliver of moon
      has slipped away,
      Spring frogs are silent
      and Fall feels on the air.

      All sleep except me
      and other night creatures.
      Silent wisp of wings,
      scurry of small animals
      close to the ground.
      Moths hug my candle,
      flurry around my face
      in joy of light again.

    Sharon Davies

    Soquel, CA

      CANADIAN GEESE EXCITING THE AIR

      They come elegant,
      in a long freehand vee,
      fanning the air in unison.

      Then for a mighty instant
      directly overhead
      in an urgent hush—
      sound of soft excited susurrus,
      wings rowing oceans of air
      in long sculling thrusts.

      In them a telling,
      a place, an intent,
      a canopy of energy
      giving the air a sound,
      purpose, life.

      Then gone,
      black dots
      diminishing.

      A bubble of sorrow
      in the throat—
      and not, in words,
      knowing why.

    Donald Marsh
    marsh@cruzio.com
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

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    Section D: .................................................................. October 15, 1999
    Del Rey Oaks, CA

    Here is a poem that I wrote for my little sister who died in April.

      TO MY LITTLE SISTER JILL ON 4-24-99

      The time has come
      Just give me a kiss and say "Good Bye"
      Don't linger long with grief
      Don't hold too strong your pain
      Just give me a kiss

      I'll be on my way.

    And here is another for a friend who just died of a brain tumor.

      GUNNEL

      it was color that I thought of
      in the moments that followed my knowing
      all of the iridescence came into the sky
      as her children gather on the hill
      coming out of the sunlit fog now
      becoming pearl
      down the hill towards the river
      bearing her shroud upon their shoulders
      wrapped in all white silk they gently lower it
      into the boat on the shore
      as they wait for their turn to come
      the boat with its strong cargo
      sails off into the color of sun
      it was color that I thought of
      in the moments that followed my knowing

    Steve Brown
    SteveArtis@aol.com

    Shawnee Mission, KS

    My youngest sister, Barbara Christie Mansfield, who was also my best friend and wisest advisor, died without warning on Nov 5, 1996. This poem is about the "little" physically unexplainable things that happened in the next several weeks, especially relating to comments she made in what was our last... though I didn't know at the time, conversation.

      TO CROSS THE MIST
      (Dedicated to Barbara)

      Your fingers reached across,
      The chasm between life and death,
      To warm my imploded senses
      To comfort my bereaved heart.

      At first I barely dared to hope
      That you could bridge back,
      And yet you persisted in act
      Expressing your spirt, yourself.

      Showing me that you still are
      Laughter, mischief and love
      Gentle touches across the mist
      Where you stand just out of sight.

    The process I used to write goes something like this:
      I'm hit with a "double-take" thought...the subject.
      Next, I listen, and write down what I hear.
      No edits, no changes.

    I've written every day since I was 9 and was published at 15 (poetry). I realize, my poetry hasn't changed since then... either the process or the depth. I make my living as a writer, but in the areas of non-fiction. It has been a game for me to master each medium.

    Gloria C. Christie
    POLAR10000@aol.com

    Monterey, CA

      CLEANING DAY

      I got up early this morning
      And cleaned up all the useless dreams
      That lie around my house.
      Stuffed them into two Hefty
      Lawn and Garden bags
      And left them for the trash man,
      Whom I heard muttering
      As he dragged them to the truck
      That I must have filled those bags with rocks.
      But I feel better now
      With room to move around,
      And I haven't stubbed my toe all day
      On a discarded dream.

    Charlotte Sky
    Caballera1@aol.com

    San Jose, CA

      WINTER SUNRISE AT THE SOUTH RIM

      Cold crunchy steps on the descending path
      pierce the silence.
      Darkness eases into shadows and shapes,
      allowing them to emerge from the invisible.
      Ravens' wings, beating the air, enliven the stillness.

      The Ancient Mother, the Canyon, opens Herself,
      embracing; calling to be embraced.
      Cliffs emanate a glistening, reflecting the fire
      of the rising sun but seeming to be lit from within.

      I notice how exuberant I feel, powerful,
      drawn to follow my own desire,
      capable of anything, of all possibility,
      Discarding, for that moment, the shackles
      of rules and limits projected onto the Other,
      Blending, for that moment into unity
      of the Self and the Other.

      The Divine Mother lives in my heart
      and all around me now.

    Adriana Farkouh
    AdrianaF@aol.com

    Soquel, CA

      BUTTERFLIES AND GARGOYLES

      Everything is sacred,
      sky, inventions, moths,
      oceans, dust, cliffs,
      the lonely dance
      of a piece of paper
      next to a busy highway.

      Sacred are the churches,
      pimps and palimpsests,
      campfires, bridges, thistles,
      butterflies and gargoyles.

      Even those that insist
      only certain things
      are sacred, are sacred.

      It is all the boom, flood,
      then stillness of things
      and you are at the center;
      and if you don't believe that,
      well, that is sacred too.

    Donald Marsh
    marsh@cruzio.com
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

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    Section C: .................................................................. September 15, 1999
    Carmel Valley, CA

    I was browsing the Creative Edge web site and decided to submit something for Letter Box On Line. While this is not a poem, this is a piece I am fond of -- I wanted to capture the depth and connection that occurs writing in the group process.

    COMING TOGETHER

    Monday Journal Group April 27, 1998

    "We seek not rest but transformation. We are dancing through each other as doorways." Marge Piercy

    "A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom." Robert Frost

    Coming together from our individual agendas and lives, we meet on Monday nights around a table to share writing as a means to better understand ourselves. We and our offerings of food gather at the dinner hour in the fading light. Sharing nourishment and conversation first, we ease into the protection of common risk and reward. A single candle flame gives illumination, spiritually and literally, to our pages. A poem, a quotation, a picture, almost anything becomes a ticket to our paper journey. For long periods there is only the scratch of pen, turning of page or a deep sigh. We are exploring here, feelings and histories, old wounds and new pleasures, winding deep into the core of who we are, uncovering the layers and healing the grief. The moment comes when we lay down our very soul in an astounding phrase and we are that much more complete. But then we go one step further. We open our hearts and listen to each other. What one risks in reading, another recognizes some part of herself previously unexpressed. The words drift above the table, waltzing from ear to ear. No one is alone, no one isolated, all connected by chords and melodies that have been flowing in our blood, our feminine bond. Ages uncounted, we travel forward and backward on the stories we have written in the candlelight and humanlight -- speaking our reality and trading wisdom for wisdom as women have always done. At the table we are five sisters and one dancing fire.

    Laura Bayless
    ctblaura@redshift.com

    Near Carcassonne, France

    The air here seems to rob me of immediate memory...perhaps I'm living more in the moment? Or more in the words that want to flow out and be captured like the gosamir wings of a dragon fly in a spider's net. Speaking of which, I sketched a quick poem after overhearing some shouted words.

    What is sparked inside those that have had a violent past when that flicker of life angers them again? How difficult it is to control the anger-impulse; the hand that lifts to hopefully, this time, relieve the intensity of the feelings.

      UNTITLED

      I heard the angry Belgium today
      in the timber and tone
      of his son's voice
      shouting at his children;
      as he had heard
      when he was young;
      as I hear when the dog
      creeps out of her shadow
      or a family member slinks
      out of their assigned slot.

      The tales of his anger-raised
      stick as he stalked the village
      ring from the memories
      of those also old to the village.

      I saw him, the father,
      as perhaps his father
      would have been,
      shout at me.
      His red face cortorted
      as he threw words
      into the air,
      weaving venom into a web
      spun to his liking,
      swirling me into the vortex
      of his will.

      I shook at the sound
      but pulled my feet free,
      my mind into the brisk,
      fresh air.

      Today he totters
      through the village
      with cane in one hand,
      the arm of his sturdy wife
      clutched in the other.
      His heart has suffered,
      faced the surgeon's knife.

      Mine shall watch from afar,
      hear him echo through generations,
      an unbroken line of anger.

    Sharon Davies

    San Jose, CA

      FROM DEEP INSIDE

      Dumped on a country road
      Suitcase in hand, just standing
      The woman's young girl feels desolate
      to the deepest core of her being.

      What now? Who now? Where? How?
      Looking left, right, up and down
      So alone, unsure, untied
      She collapses to her knees, afraid.

      Abandonment-it digs, pokes, and tears
      at the very structure of her being.
      Opening the woman to rawness and self-plundering,
      And to new developments and possibilities

      Looking left, right, up, down along the country road
      Won't reveal the path she seeks.
      What will? Only looking inside
      holds the key to her becoming whole.

      So step by step she moves along
      the inner path to Life,
      walking, running, sometimes
      kicking and screaming she moves.

      Sometimes the way is straight,
      other times it twists and turns,
      sometimes the path is smooth,
      other times it's rugged.

      What else is there to do?
      No matter what she'll die.
      But dying along the inner path
      can only lead to Life.

      UNTITLED

      Awaken creativity, bring in all elements.
      Every life, my life, counts.
      Care, face the pain.

      Live, live at the center,
      ----at the seam which binds and blends
      ----the dichotomies that seed creativity

      Live, live in and with the pain
      ----of seeing, knowing consciousness
      ----that there will always be gaps.

      Live, live.
      Be the bridge.

    Adriana Farkouh
    AdrianaF@aol.com

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    Section B: .................................................................. August 15, 1999
    San Jose, CA

    I came across this poem the other day in my old computer and a little inner voice inspired me to send it along, since, very rapidly we're approaching another winter.

    I suspect it sprung from a growing awareness that seasons and cycles exist within my own being as well as in Life and Nature. For many years I was disconnected from deeper sensitivities to these aspects and others such as ritual, stages, ages, layers, and even Spirit. But Spirit, Soul and Life have propelled me toward growth. Step by step I have been opened to new dimensions. What a blessing! I now understand that Winter can mean many things. Winter can be devastation and destruction of the old to make way for the emergence of something new. It can be any time of the year when dark and quiet want to prevail, where seeds that have been planted, perhaps long before, begin to germinate and send shoots toward the surface of Life.

      WINTER AROUND ME, WINTER INSIDE

      Around me, inside me, is Winter, contrasting,
      conflicting, struggling with Possibility.
      There are the Cold, the Wind, the Rain, the Snow.

      Days bring bright, startling Sunshine,
      now embedded in bold cobalt blue, now
      peeping through white mountain clouds,
      and now damp, gloomy, foreboding.

      Nights fill the black skies with stars and moon,
      enshrouding, with a fleece blanket, the earth below.

      Breath taking, tear-bringing Dawns and Dusks,
      resounding in vibrant color and hue,
      steal my breath, bring tears to my eyes.
      (The power of God speaks loudly in this).

      In winter comes deep, deep, dark huddling
      in the innermost parts for warmth, gathering
      strength, energy and re-source for life
      to push out and spring forth anew.

      Winter transforms and ends, distilling
      to the Essence which births the New.

      Winter inside and out gathers up,
      burrows in, detaches, and holds fast to
      faith in the cycles and seasons of Life.

    Adriana Farkouh
    AdrianaF@aol.com

    Santa Cruz, CA
      7/11/99

      Seven, eleven, ninety nine.
      Seven, come eleven - is that craps?
      Today it feels like everywhere I look
      Someone is winning or losing, rising or falling.
      Is that it?
      Is that what it's like in the Rapture?
      Either rising or falling-
      It's all the same,
      One doesn't come without the other.
      If I can push on the borderlines of my life,
      I can make room for that movement.

      My heart feels too hard.
      It's easier to be outraged.
      I have to let myself sit with
      with the one truth I do know.
      Things will change.

    Sandra Peters
    sundance@cruzio.com

    Near Carcassonne, France

    WAKING IN A DREAM (Notes to my friends)

    Yesterday was a day of contrasts. After the joy of meeting nuns that came to our hameau, in the afternoon we took a drive in the countryside south of here ... I found a small lake in an area we hadn't explored yet, so off we went in the car ... It wasn't what I had hoped for, a semi-hidden, willow draped body of still, reflective water -- somewhere to take a kayak or canoe that reminds me of the Lafayette Reservoir (in California), a place where I can be "on" the water and drop to that dreamy state within myself that is soothed and mesmerized. What we found was a "vacation village" of sorts along a fashioned, windy water that didn't appeal to me. So we turned down the road toward a chateau we saw in the distance, pulled into a small, dirt parking area and walked up the dirt path. Near the entrance we came to a dim sign that looked familiar somehow. When we saw the lady right behind it watering her plants, we recognized the "honey lady" from the Friday markets in Limoux. I've bought her products before and chatted a bit as she speaks English, having been here from England for 25+ years.

    Well, as I said, contrasts. The nuns were filled with deep pleasure that bubbled up and over and took us into their joy whole-heartedly. But Eyvonne, although she seemed to warmup when she recognized us, she soon fell back into her dour countenance that we've noted in the market before; each word seems heavily wrought. It was more her beingness that spoke out loud. Although she's done a magnificent job, and a difficult, back-breaking one at that, with her place there in one of the four corners of the chateau (it has four square corner towers, 3 stories connected by broken down walls around an interior grassy courtyard with a tall "keep" in the middle), there the initial interior "light" that we glimmered in the beginning was soon restrained and "dour" won out. I asked a few questions based on her "negative" comments, but no, the villager were honest, friendly, etc. and she seemed to get on with everyone. Didn't seem to be an outright "reason" for her general demeanor.

    I wonder if we have a "natural landscape" within us that is true to who we are from the beginning of life. Then if we cultivate that landscape, if we're lucky enough to be surrounded by people who help us learn to garden well ourselves, our "natural landscape" flourishes and spills out of us. I'm sure it's true and like our outer surroundings, that landscape can be honored and allowed and become a natural fountain for all life; but if it is shaped, roughed up, covered over, then another kind of "landscape" grows that does not nourish life but shines a focus light on the hardships, the ugliness that can exist. And one's true, natural light cannot grow from a wee candle in a huge darkness to a essence that beams brighter than the stars.

    I can't help but hold the three women side by side in my remembered experience: the two "soeurs" from the abbey, being old and wrinkled, not too pretty but radiant and beautiful with the one "honey lady", younger, hardly a wrinkle, pretty but dour and unlovely. Where did they all start? What happened along their ways? How much was "under their control"? They all three have been hard workers ... the honey lady with her bees and single-handedly wresting the land and building into order, the nuns members of a "working" order tilling the land.

    As I wrestle through life with my "natural" sensitivity, I wonder how much "control" I've had, or have. We hear that we can choose our "attitude"; "walk joy and you'll be joy", and the like. But I've had too many years where I could feel myself covering over the natural, interior flows of my life with an outer slip of "cheerful", and other years (these are all bunched and warped and wafted in bits and pieces) where I've been grumpy but have chosen to "be kind" or to laugh or to simply spend a bit of time alone to "regroup" so that I could "be kind", and my grumps have melted into a mellowness and acceptance.

    So here I sit, near to tears and not knowing why, writing into the darkness of an early awakening, at 57 still not knowing; still fumbling and always questioning. Maybe it's just knowing that transition is upon me once again and that I have a day and a half left here in Molieres.

    Ah yes, waking to a dream ... I was in a dream where at the end Molly (my daughter), as a much younger girl, was showing me her hand with cuts and scraped places. She was telling me that there were 4 girls at school with razor blades that cornered different girls when they were alone and cut them. She didn't seem disturbed at all; but I, of course ... well I awoke to a full moon and the frogs still in full chorus (4 am), not only worried about Molly, but about all the children ... the ones who are in danger and the ones who hurt others.

    Thrust, by my dream, into the chaos that is modern civilization, perhaps simply the mileau of all human existence, for all time -- there is no safety in the mere outer shell of life.

    Oh, I just heard the first birdsong so morning must be about to dawn. The full moon is still up in the sky but there must be a different quality to the brightness of the sky that awakens the birds.

    Sharon Davies

    Soquel, CA

    Charles Bukowski, a poet and novelist, once wrote, "I notice there are a lot of poets around, but not much poetry." I have never wanted to be anything but a poet and have spent too much of my life pretending to be someone else in various disguises. I have never been blessed/cursed with ambition or organization and have always felt the last thing a poet should do is conform, especially to what other poets think a poet should be. Or, reflecting, maybe I have an ambition too damn big and scary for me to name. I have been quite serious -- no doubt too serious -- about writing in pursuit of my lone vision.

    Over the years it has brought scorn, self-doubt, pity, self-pity, laughter, sympathy for my wife and children, admiration, praise, despair and depression. It has also brought moments of dancing glee and something more, something I'm not going to name, but I hope you feel it in your life too.

    "The Last Poem" isn't the last poem, it is just called that. Each poem might be the last, because, after all these decades, I still don't know where poems come from or why.

      THE LAST POEM

      So how it finally happens
      is a sitting down.
      Not at the end
      but at the as-far-as-you-can-go.

      And not a sitting down
      as a falling into a sit.

      Or none of that. A shrug perhaps,
      or just slowly conscious
      you're holding your mouth different.

      And it's not about being
      in love with being a failed poet,
      hoping it will then end all noble.

      But the end, rock gray and cold,
      a give-up.

      Too tired for tears
      or anything much
      but an old rage shattered
      unrecognizable.

      Writing has been a long wonder
      and suicide, a using up.
      Dead, there remains the ritual business
      of acting dead.

      No breath to fog the mirror;
      things then seen plain
      with a small laughed oh:

      It ends beginning all over again.

    Donald Marsh
    marsh@cruzio.com
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

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    Section A: .................................................................. July 15, 1999
    Near Carcassonne, France

    I fussed and fudgeted around phrases, sounds, meaning, original intent, inspiration -- saying all versions aloud to the walls beside me, the tree tops frothed by the wind, my "listener" who sits somewhere upper left in the air and frowns at every awkward sound and keeps me going... on and on and on... I would leave "final" versions open on my desk, come back to them between playing cards, house cleaning, lunch and cleanup, reading ... and this is the current "final" version.

      MOLIERES SUR L'ALBERTE

      Flies whine at the window.
      Clouds scud across a gray sky.
      I'm drawn outside into the strong wind
      and tossing trees.

      Language cannot find me
      along the village path
      lined with walls of ancient stone.
      My voice lies hidden

      in the river flowing fresh
      with morning's rain,
      the sweet song of birds
      and wild red poppies
      flashing in the green grass.

    Sharon Davies

    Salt Lake City, UT

      UNTITLED

      Layers of sediment
      sand
      limestone
      elements remember
      what time
      wind
      water
      and sunlight can accomplish

      Nature--
      such a body, our bodies
      evidence of God's hands
      even between rocks
      in our lives

      Roots
      like fingers
      permanently suited
      in a small
      patch of red soil

      Twisted wood, a Joshua Tree
      shoots up the rock
      alongside
      a small yellow cactus flower
      where
      beyond the shadow of the clouds
      a horse lies
      on its side
      and a sprinkler wheel
      makes circles
      with water.

    Ingrid Middleton
    IMiddleton@aol.com

    Soquel, CA

      ADVANTAGES IN BEING OLD

      I can fart my way
      across an average-sized room.

      I carry a Swiss army knife
      and people think it practical.

      I can have a "Senior Moment"
      and not worry about it.

      I squint and smile
      and nod knowingly
      and people will think me wise.
      I know I did when young.

      I meet with an old friend
      and instead of talking women,
      we talk doctors and medications
      and can laugh about it.

      Old age is like every age,
      interesting if you're there for it.

      I can have a "Senior Moment"
      and not worry about it.

      When a supermarket checker says,
      "Well hello there young fella,"
      I can think of the knife I'm packing.

      I can take delicious naps,
      particularly at poetry readings.

      I wake in the middle of the night
      and go and sit in the dark
      and be content.

      I can be kind to anyone
      for no reason at all.

      This afternoon
      I watched a perched butterfly
      move its wings in a summer sigh.
      I have never seen its like before.
      I may never see it again,
      making the moment
      all the more exquisite.

      ROUND ROBIN

      He
      thought of his life
      as hastily opened envelopes.

      She
      thought all she did
      was procrastinate.

      He
      blurted out,
      "How about a date?"

      She
      answered, after a pause,
      "I'll think about it."

      He sputtered,
      "Why?"

      She
      whispered,
      "Maybe I'll write you and tell."

    Donald Marsh
    marsh@cruzio.com
    (To receive one of these free original poems emailed each Monday, contact Donald Marsh.)

    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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