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Poetry

As well as writing freelance poetry for magazines and journals, I have written poetic lyrics and jingles for flyers, memorials, birthday parties, presentations, wedding speeches, and various other occasions, as well as for a client’s personal use in cards and gifts. Prices will vary according to the size of the project and the labor hours required. Any questions, please contact me on the link listed above.

Thank you,

Leila Paulson Howe

“The Sands of Ages Past”

 

The Sands of Ages Past
Blown formidably across the face of Man,
Shifted their direful dunes,
Amid toneless, supplicating tunes,
The other way at last.
Kind faced Jobs,
Adorned in priestly robes,
Mouths spewing ripples of religious lament
Across the dry tide,
Found their sound spent
As the water dried. 

Blinders dropped with roaring sound,
Ripping pieces of eye shred from ignorant sockets,
And scorching the infertile ground where they lay,
As the sands swirled around that day.
The host of men wailed their loss,
Forcing cries of fear through parched lips,
That had been too long thirsting for truth,
While the tips of their hearts
Became as hardened moss,
In surging dread of the new light. 

Self-proclaimed prophets condemned the sight,
Through proselytizing gaps that were mouths,
And they swung their dark robes
Over cracked bodies
To paternally protect,
In their traditional way,
Other souls against the sands
In their shifting that day
From past to future. 

And the priests,
Smiling at the chaos that was their food,
Threaded many a theological suture
To bind the bleeding wound once more,
And make everything as it was before.
But the sand filled hungry hordes
With choking lumps of reality,
While they were already gorged
With humanly created platitudes of ideality,
And throats could not swallow the coarse grit
That was their salvation in the face of it.
Many became bloated as the vomit of truth
Ran rivulets across the dunes,
While waves of fear floated
Frantically towards the moons.
The sand was denied entry into body and soul
And wholeness was rejected. 

Eons later,
The wise of every nation reflected
On the meaning of the Holy Writ,
Etched by the grit
Upon the annals of history,
And they looked for meaning
In the shifting of the sand
Upon which no one dared to tread. 

“It was evil!” some said,
While others cried,
“Man was the fool as he died!”
His feet hung bound to the branch of the tree,
For the length of all eternity,
Where all he sees is upside down,
And round and round whirl the shifting sands,
Creeping into the soul hollows of infinity. 

The Fool’s throat rejects all nourishment
And spits out truth’s purity
In a stream of vile vomit
From mouth to ground,
Not realizing that only he has the voice
And the choice
Of untying his bonds at last,
And smiling with inner wisdom,
At the whirlwinds coursing around him
From the Sands of Ages Past.

By L. L. Paulson Howe

 

“Your Last Embrace”

Your last embrace was long ago,
For years the sorrow hurt me so,
And the loneliness was endless. 

Like a swirling, silken stream,
Cast suddenly on the mists of a dream,
The feelings haunted my memory. 

Why does love die?
Or is it I who caused it to end?
Not willing to spend
The sacrifice of vulnerability? 

Many questions are left,
In the space where I wept,
And wisdom is kept
In my heart. 

By L.L.Paulson Howe

“Clouded Eyes”

Through the clouded eyes of a child,
We see what we think is there,
And thinking gives birth to feeling.
And feeling explodes into fear –
A fear born of glory for self,
And on the shelf of antiquity
Lie souls doomed for infinity,
While the religious chant:
To make you afraid,
We’ll send devils to plague you,
While saints and messiahs
Will come to save you! 

Through the clouded eyes of a child,
We see more than is there outside of ourselves,
And less than is there inside of ourselves,
And fear of the outside grows
Into monstrous shadows
As the years creep upon us,
And the voices all around
Reverberate with the sound:
Thank God for God! the sinners cry,
But sinning he needs a god,
And a god needs sinners,
Else religion would die.

Through the clouded eyes of a child,
We can no longer see what is real,
Only what is unreal:
Hideous monsters born of men’s minds,
Under the guise of good,
And, in kind, when all is understood,
They will raise hooded faces in power,
And, every hour, we give them the birthright
To take away our birthright,
And all around us
The Hollow Men entreat us:
Step this way into Heaven,
But first accept there is a Hell.
One cannot exist without the other,
And it’s just as well
That we do not see there is neither,
For there would be no fear,
And out eyes would be clear. 

Through the clouded eyes of a child,
The world looms large and cruel –
A world that does not want us
Or need us.
We have to earn the need.
Where did God say
That on fertile ground,
He would plant the seed?
The seed is a child,
And the world I see
Is fertile for all …
… except for clouded eyes. 

By L. L. Paulson Howe

“For the First Time”

The ocean of eternal being
Reflected in your eyes,
Of liquid, gossamer clouds
And beautiful azure skies,
Touched my seeing
And sent me reeling
For the first time in my life. 

Your hand reached for mine,
And I held its warm gentleness,
Which seemed ageless through time,
And your breathless pulse
Flowed into my soul,
And I felt whole
For the first time in my life. 

Passionately, you led me
To the crumpled warmth of your bed,
With bodies entwined,
And skin soft to touch,
You gave me so much
In those hours of love. 

I transcended above
The endless void of living
With your sensitive giving,
And I felt whole
For the first time in my life. 

By L.L. Paulson Howe

“Tips of Eternity”

As if blessed during sacred times,
The wind softly plays chimes
Across hollowed shingles,
And the tingle of leaves,
Falling down and around
Swirling and curling
Toward their destiny
On the barren ground,
Is like a melody
Sing from God’s lips,
Touching the tips
of Eternity. 

By L.L. Paulson Howe

“The Cocktail Room”

The corporate game always seems to be the same,
I sigh to myself as I walk into the chandeliered room.
My eyes absorb the myriads of colorful swirls and curls,
Draped from health spa bodies quivering with the fear of age,
And the cage of rejection it brings. 

Manicured hands hold toddies of sparkling liquid,
Raised occasionally to lips which speak of the superficial of life,
For to speak too soon in phrases that plunge deep,
Will keep one on the outside of acceptance. 

The rules are sharp and clear,
And to depart from what is clear
To those whose lives rest precariously
On the edge of lucrative anonymity,
Totally smothers depth and feeling,
Specialness and meaning for me. 

For approval is given on what one has,
And how one acts, not on what one is –
For to be is to sin.
Come in, they entreat us,
And eat and drink with us,
Like a mother welcoming her children into the womb.

But, instead, I see a tomb,
Where the natural potential of women have died,
In the game of corporate expectations.
I enter …
I drown …
And down and down … 

Only the robot remains,
Raising glass to plastic lips,
While the tips of my soul
Cries to be whole once again,
And my inner voices go unheeded
… and unneeded …
In the cocktail room.

By L.L. Paulson Howe

“Silence”

Thoughts which do not become words,
But lie dormant behind the closed doors of your mind,
Are not enough to sustain the length of my loving for long.
And this love was expected to give each of us a power beyond human frailties –
A sixth sense that would know without words,
But the power never came,
And your silence was deafening. 

Words that do not hunger for action,
Become mere pearly strings of melodious prose,
Hanging meaningless in the tense air around me,
Only to fall, crashing to the floor of love’s illusions,
And trust slowly dies.
My ears heard many broken promises and barren endearments.
I still hear them to this day, even though they come from other mouths.

Actions that deny feelings and conquer them,
Sending messages contrary to the heart,
Only push intimacy to the farthest corner,
There to rest unused and unwanted,
And the outstretched arm is shoved away as something to be avoided.
I cried out for you and you ran.
I still feel alone even though I am surrounded by crowds. 

Feelings which are horded inside,
And padlocked with the fear of rejection,
Never to be shared with the beloved,
Are as gold pieces which never pass hands,
And become worthless save to their warden,
And then love lasts only so long as hope lasts. 

I never knew…
I had only hoped for awhile with a longing built on dreams…
But I never really knew…

By L.L. Paulson Howe

 

“Memories”

Memories are like Heaven’s stars
That twinkle and shine so bright,
With  a gossamer, glowing light
Against the blanket of velvet night,
Until they dwindle and fade
Finally vanishing from sight.

But some are like hell’s comets,
Gaseous flames rushing to Earth,
Spinning down and around,
Crashing into the ground,
Leaving blackened, charred hearth,
Where green grasses once grew
And blue violets bloomed.

 by L.L. Paulson Howe

Published in “America at the Millenium: The Best Poems and Poets of the 20th Century,” Jeffrey Franz, Publisher, Watermark Press, One Poetry Plaza, Ste. 709, Owings Mills, MD, 2000.

“Moon in Capricorn”

Upon every word and phrase that falls from your lips,
I hang a thousand days and the fragile tips
Of my sensitive self-confidence.
In turmoil of emotion,
And the passing of the moon in Capricorn,
I always entertain the notion
That my ways are forlorn,
And only yours are right,
And the feelings and sight become cloudy.

I ask you …
Blame me not, when I speak harsh words,
And lash out at my own sensitivity
Which admires you more than I do myself.
It is respect and admiration I pay you,
And love of the things you have created,
But,
Once in awhile,
I tend not to smile
When my own judgment has abated,
I wish it to be a compliment,
Under the misplaced sentiment,
And I really mean I care,
And want you always to be there
Because,
Over the years,
And after the tears,
I love you still,
And will love you until
The moon never passes Capricorn.

by L.L. Paulson Howe

Published in “A Different Drummer,” poetry journal,
Samuel Evans Brown Publisher, Drummer Press, Tom’s River, N.J., 1977

“Before I Die”

What do I want to do before I die?
You asked this yesterday of the mask I show the world,
Twirled and swirled in the confetti of society –
And I realized the mask could say one thing,
While I want another — a better thing.
I want to create an object or idea
That will not tarnish with time,
That will linger long after I have passed on,
That will  whisper in the final line:
I will not forget you.
And on and on,
I fear being forgotten,
Tossed on the heap like an old toy.
I want others to reap the joy of my words,
And the beauty of my work,
For my being wants to exist long after I leave,
Reflected in the mirror of thoughts and ideas
That flow through my mind and fingers
Onto sheets of paper.
And, when someone experiences my creation,
They will experience a part of me.

by L.L. Paulson Howe

Published in “A Different Drummer,” poetry journal,
Samuel Evans Brown Publisher, Drummer Press, Tom’s River, N.J., 1977