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Letter Box — Newsletter #33

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    TRAGEDY

    Tragedy appeared on the road today:
    the shocking stagger
    of earthbound bird.
    Struck by mindless machine,
    the majestic red-tailed hawk,
    unable to escape
    mankind's flow,
    moved blindly forward
    seeking release from unforeseen pain.
    Black truck brings
    the gift of death,
    her final flight,
    twisting skyward
    only to fall
    bloodied and alone.

    Tragedy knocked on the window today:
    delicate mourning dove,
    tricked by reflective glass,
    tumbled, twitching, to the earth.
    Beak wide open,
    body convulsing,
    wings beat futile rhythms against hardened stone.
    There is no escape.
    A final gush of blood,
    a heaving sigh
    and once bright eyes fade away.

    Tragedy stepped closer today:
    horrified witness to life cut short.
    I drive by, helpless.
    I kneel down, helpless.
    Able only to offer
    tearful prayers that
    joyful flight of
    two small souls
    continues
    unseen.

Carol Lynn Mathew-Rogers

Salinas, CA

With much interest and enjoyment, I read the Spring, 2000 edition of The News. I found A'musings to be intimate, inviting and insightful. I particularly liked "I AM," submitted by Julia Blixt.The expression of thoughts aroused my own spirit of contemplation and creativity. Taking advantage of the heightened spirit, may I submit a'musing (or two)?

    BLISS IS THIS

    I want bliss
    for bliss I know...
    not so elusive
    as hard to hold.

    I swim in it
    and it in me...
    Behold now,
    Divinity.

    SOFT SMILES AND ANGEL WINGS

    The bright sunshinyness
    bursts through
    the clouds and mist,
    like a candle flame
    piercing the darkness.

    In its' wake
    is left,
    the exuberant,
    mingling kaleidoscope
    of colors,
    as night merges with day.

    The clouds part,
    giving proof
    that the sun was there
    all the time.

    In their gentle movement,
    they form soft smiles
    and angel wings.

    I stand breathless,
    stunned by the simplicity
    and the subtlety
    of forces
    greater than my own.

    The overpowering
    grace of gratitude
    swells my chest.
    This morning...
    enlightenment
    has vanished the distance
    and I am one
    with the dawning sky.

Betty Anderson

Portsmouth, NH

    WIDOW'S WALK

    I walk out
    into the chill
    of a November afternoon,
    uneasy, restless
    with widow's concern.

    Broad panorama
    of pewter ocean
    and sky
    spread before me,
    solitary landscape
    to match my mood.
    On the bluff,
    Chatham light
    blinks its warning.

    I walk down through
    the tawny marsh,
    dotted with thickets
    of dark cedars,
    low lying bushes
    of topaz, russet, old gold.

    As I bend to pick
    three perfect blossoms
    nestled in the yellowed leaves
    of the rosa rugosa,
    sunlight pierces slate skies.

Anne Dewees

Tucson, AZ

For the first time this afternoon I spent some time at the Letter Box On Line where you posted my poems. It was very enjoyable reading both mine and others.

It's Saturday and I thought of the gatherings in your fine house this morning for some reason. I went to a church service led by a very well-spoken Jew... It is always fun to sing and think about scripture, be it the Christian Bible or another book as fine as your beloved Tao Te Ching... It is good that so many can share their writings through your facilitation.

Chris Lovette

Colorado Springs, CO

As always, "The Creative Edge," has, once again, offered itself up as communion. Not the communion where we go separately to the altar railing, but the holding of hands and the receiving together.

I like the printed page and the thought that many eyes are reading the messages at the very moment that I am reading them. It makes me feel connected. I even love the emptiness I begin to feel after months have passed and I try to remember when the last issued arrived. The child like way I count on my fingers forcing memory to obey. The way my step quickens as I realize soon, soon it will arrive.

Do I want, "The Creative Edge," to become more convenient, less costly, go Internet? No. There is a price to be paid for convenience, and that price is the loss of the personal touch. We have loss too much of that already. What I do wish for, The Creative Edge, is that all those who so freely read this newsletter would begin to support it with donations.

I am a poet, a writer, a communicator. I know what it is like to produce a creation. The time and energy it takes to put all your deepest thoughts into written form and send it out into the world. Hoping that someone will support your dreaming.

I send to you my twenty dollars. And when it is possible I will send it again, and again. If that is what it takes to keep this hand held communion alive. I would miss this green bird perched in my mailbox. I would miss its sweet song that says, "I am here, take me home—open me, there are others out there dreaming with you."

I admit that my thoughts are self-serving, for I do not own a computer. I use to have e-mail, but when e-mail began masquerading as correspondence, I gave it up. I love you and I miss you signed at the end of someone else's story was simply not enough. It was convenient, but it certainly wasn't intimate. As a poet, intimacy is the one thing I cannot afford to give up.

I choose to spend my time, and my money in others ways. I choose to support, The Creative Edge. A newsletter that I have come to appreciate. I choose to spend a mere five cents a minute on a long distance call to a friend so that I might drink in the sound waves of their voice. I choose the slow, deliberate thought form a letter demands. Somehow, for me, a blank sheet of paper invites intimacy, initiates courage to think and rethink your deepest thoughts.

I particularly liked this last issue of The Creative Edge. The part you refer to as the, A'musings. For me, all the thoughts, all the poetry seemed to be speaking of a falling away. And nowhere in all the writing was the illusive, why, present. It was as if the falling away itself was the answer.

With this new millennium, I too, have felt this falling away. It feels as if we have been placed in the eye of the hurricane, but there is a dilemma present. Do we move with the storm hoping to maintain its center. Or, do we stand firm hoping the storm will wear itself out before it passes over us. I send to you my poem on these thoughts, this falling away, this waiting, this unknown space.

    THE VOID

    1 lay
    in waiting,
    for what𔃉 do
    not know, is it for prey,

    Or for purpose?

    The heart
    quickens in
    this unknown space

    Waiting—
    as the thistle
    waits for the bud
    of a rose that seeks

    Life from the thorn.

    Waiting—
    as the night waits
    for light to burst upon

    The horizon.

    I surrender
    to this waiting
    as life surrenders
    to death, knowing that
    death and dying are a part

    Of living.

    This day
    has died and a part
    of me has died with it.

    Who will
    I be tomorrow,
    the thistle, the
    thorn, or the rose?

Patricia Ann Doneson

Soquel, CA

From dark, to darker, now to darkest in my poems. Or maybe this poem isn't. Maybe I'm just nervous and fearful, for The Far Shore, more than any other poem, makes me feel vulnerable. For years I suffered from depression not knowing what it was, not naming it. When I was diagnosed as clinically depressed, I resented it and tried to keep it secret. When in states of depression I contrive not to see people. Years of therapy did little if any good in my battle. I must add that I do now take medication and it has made a difference. So, this is a coming out, of sorts. A coming out because I want to say to anyone who suffers from this thing, and the consequent feeling of worthlessness, you can find help.

Today, I find myself with two questions: first, am I in love with the idea of depression? And, second, and more importantly, can I learn to love depression enough to accommodate it and see through to that other side I believe is there?

    THE FAR SHORE

    Standing on ice
    feeling the cold
    making me numb.
    How long have I been here?

    The ice beneath my boots
    crackles, crazed, frosted spider webs around me.
    I can feel it give to my weight.

    I am on a flooded low land
    now frozen with black ice.

    It is so cold.
    The sky is an engraver's template gray
    and it is so cold.

    I stand on ice looking at the shore:
    Fields with dead grass.
    Beyond, a factory.
    Abandoned.
    Every so often a piece of it falls
    then everything waits, counting,
    until another something falls.
    It may take years.

    Every little careful step I take,
    the ice crackles white lines
    in frozen lightning bolts.

    My fear
    is not that it will break
    and I will drown,
    but that it won't.

    I turn and concentrate on the shore.
    I step, little steps, listening to the ice.

    I step, trying with each step,
    to care. One step, one pause,
    one try to care.

    Each step slips.
    Reduced to only keeping my balance.
    My weight turns me on the ice,
    step, turn, care,
    step, turn, always,
    always toward the far shore.

    It will soon be night.
    I step, slip, turn.
    It will soon be night
    and nothing matters.

Donald Marsh

Carmel, CA

Dick Criley (Oct. 20, 1911-June 18, 2000) was a civil rights and labor activist whose battles for personal freedoms and equality spanned seven decades. At his death he was Executive Director of the Monterey County Chapter of the ACLU. Elliot Roberts served on the Board with him and was his neighbor on the Big Sur coast of California.

    SPLITTING WOOD
    —Elegy for Dick Criley

    The metal maul striking the metal wedge,
    Like the clapper hitting the inside
    Of a bell, drifts up the mountainside
    Over the coast highway; rings above
    The tremulous cadence of the waves,
    The ocean speaking as oceans do
    Of the eternal note of sadness
    In a world so like a darkling plain
    Where ignorant armies clash by night.

    Splitting wood—the heft of the twelve-pound maul;
    The deliberate, slow raising above
    The shoulders; the grip on earth of outspread
    Feet, the life of muscles rocking soft and
    Smooth and moist; the arc above the head, then
    Falling of its own weight, guided by
    The miracle of human sight—shoulder,
    Arms, hands, eyes so coordinated
    That the flat head of the maul strikes solidly,
    Squarely on the flat head of the wedge, hits
    True, and rings, and the wood splits, the halves
    Of the round falling cleanly from the block,

    The way your mind worked, focused so clearly,
    So cleanly—you knew the grain of what stood
    Before you; how to place the wedge—you cleaved
    Issues, and while you could not—no human
    Can, some things too gnarled to split—stop the waves
    From echoing on the shore, stop the turbid
    Ebb and flow of human misery, you
    Let us hear the pure sound of what could be,
    Of a world attuned to the common good
    Where love and need are one, and all honored.

    Now, only memory, the sound of you
    Splitting wood. The maul handle you have worn
    Smooth waits for our hands. You have shown us how
    We go on. Now, before us, the woodpile—
    Cypress, pine, oak, madrone, eucalyptus—
    Waiting to be split.

Quotes from the following poems appear in "Splitting Wood:"
Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach"
Robert Frost's "Two Tramps in Mud Time"
Gary Snyder's "Axe Handles"

Elliot Roberts

DOC, Tennessee Colony, TX

I thought I'd mention that the Spring Issue #32 at the section Thoughts on Creativity was very inspiring. For me, creativity is my attempt to share my innermost feelings and thoughts with others because I think that most all of us have something to share with others that just might be interesting and beneficial in one way or the other. Being imprisoned, my writing is my escape and allows me to find something new and different on a regular basis.

    THE BEAUTY OF THE MOMENT
    (or A Hang Glider's Joy)

    He lived for the
    delicious shiver
    like the flutter in
    his belly when he
    looked down off a
    skyscraper,
    this time it was
    indescribably better
    as the thrilling-shiver caressed
    his spine when he stepped
    over the safety railing at
    the very edge of the
    gigantic sandy cliff with
    countless rocks below,
    instantly he's reminded of
    what is meaningful,
    the beauty of the thrilling moment.

    He's hypnotized by the crashing
    waves leading him on
    as the earth crumbled slowly
    under foot,
    he waits with tensed nerves,
    toes clinging the
    treacherous ground of beautiful
    Laguna Beach Park,
    then he's checking the hang
    glider with shaky hands from
    a sensuous inner heat,
    relaxation takes over as he
    l—e—a—p—s—
    a strong ocean breeze carries him away,
    instantly he's reminded of
    what is meaningful,
    the beauty of the thrilling moment,

Chester Vinton HAAS III
Coffield Unit TDCJ#327322
Rt. 1 Box 150
Tennessee Colony,TX 75884

Salinas, CA

My collage "The Dreamer" is based on the five characters surrounding the sleeper. Counter clockwise top left is "Memories of the Day", then: "Longing," "Values," "Old Business" and finally "Spiritual Grace."

[The Dreamer image]

Linda Losik

Carmel Valley, CA

    ANY UNFINISHED BUSINESS

    A perfectly round mottled white moon
    hovers over the ridgetop at dawn,
    not ready to descend.
    I remember
    how I left her to cross over
    in the company of the morning shift,
    the ministrations of trained hands.

    The tableau remains, narrow
    metal frame bed,
    sheets whiter
    than the moon,
    fraudulent pink walls,
    thin curtain between roommates
    a fallible concession to privacy.

    An inadequate minstrel,
    I hold her arm,
    sing somewhere
    over the rainbow,
    wanting her to dream in color.

    Death knows no limit
    to indignity,
    steals her flame
    in relentless increments,
    subduing her mobility to one
    restless arthritic hand rising
    to beckon her deliverance.

    She, in pain, knows it is hard
    watching her die,
    chases me from the futility
    of final hours
    with a drawn out wail.

    What else could I have done.

    NOT EVEN A MONTH

    Not yet,
    I haven't found the words,
    what it was like
    a month ago
    watching her die,
    knowing
    the inevitable
    on all sides,
    hovering behind her gasps
    and grim breaths,
    a presence in the room.

    I am not sure I can
    say it today. The clouds
    are opening up, emptying
    their burden of moisture.
    I carry my memories
    of her last days,
    a cloud
    thick with recollections
    I cannot release.

    I listen to rain
    knowing I will one day pour
    these feelings of terminal
    encounters into poems.
    I will be thirsty,
    spill into myself
    healing waters,
    rivulets of words.

Laura Bayless

Monterey, CA
    MY GARDEN

    Come with me
    Into my vegetable garden.
    Each head of lettuce bursts
    With a lively green
    Energy destined soon to flavor
    Somebody's salad,
    Satisfying and fresh, and with it,

    Long, strong green onions,
    Once tiny thin seedlings,
    Fighting for life against hoards
    Of earwigs and snails,
    Emerging victorious now,
    Thanks to our vigilant
    Efforts and regular care,
    Not to mention enormous luck,
    Watering, weeding, composting,
    The help of the sun, the rain,
    And a prayer or two
    All of which helps.

    There are beets in our garden,
    They fought a good fight,
    Alas this season they didn't do well,
    Oh well, there are more seeds to plant,
    And plant them we will,
    Until late in the fall.

    Last year we ate from our garden all year,
    Potatoes galore, parsley and chives,
    Jerusalem artichokes, tasty and fresh,
    Like manna from God. Praise God!
    Our garden is full, and so lovely to me,
    That it causes my heart to sing a glad song.

    It welcomes the birds,
    The beautiful bees, and butterflies too.
    It's crawling with worms.
    It's bursting with promise
    Of bounty to come!
    I can see it all now on the table,
    Tomatoes, Potatoes,
    Zucchini, bell peppers,
    Oregano, Pole beans, Swiss chard,
    Apples and lemons as well.

    It's so full,
    I know that this garden is more
    Than a vegetable store.
    It is life becoming and being
    And growing with joy.

Shirley Tofte

Black Mountain, NC

I live too far away to participate in your programs, but I do enjoy receiving The News! I am enclosing a recent poem which speaks of North Carolina woods. I know that dogwoods are not familiar to most people in California.

    DOGWOODS ARE FOR LOVING

    My dogwood tree hangs over my deck,
    It makes an umbrella, and serves to connect
    My house and my yard, just like a room
    In the spring when my tree is full of white bloom.

    I watch my tree through the winter chill,
    Through the ice and the snow and the wind, until
    The green of the tiny leaves shows through
    And I know that bloom time is almost here, too.

    Once when I went overseas in the spring,
    My mind could think of only one thing ...
    This year I would miss that dogwood bloom,
    When again my deck became a garden room.

    One year, I looked over the trees of my land,
    And asked for help from a tree-smart man.
    "Cut it down," the man said, "for I honestly fear
    This dogwood can't make it through the cold of next year."

    My own heart froze like a large chunk of ice;
    There was no way I could take his learn-ed advice.
    So 1 let the man go without a decision...
    My mind's eye was full of a springtime vision.

    And sure enough, when the next spring arrived,
    Because Heaven and I had together contrived,
    My dogwood tree a new vigor had found
    And looked like a bride in a white bridal gown.

Mary London Jackson

Thank you for your creative offerings!

I invite readers to share their own creative works with a few words about the context of their work for either the new Letter Box On-line or regular hard copy version. I look for work and comments I feel support understanding and encouragement of the creative process, and hence, the process of life.

Submit your name, city and state with your works to Donald@creative-edge.org for publication. I also encourage you to approve adding your E-mail address. Submit images in 72dpi GIF, JPEG or TIFF format.

The Editor

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