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Images From My Soul

Leslie Stern

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Author's Brief Bio

Leslie E. Stern was born in Los Angeles, California, an only child. She graduated from the University of Miami in Coral Gables at twenty years old. She pursued her doctoral degree in philosophy and was offered an Assistant Professorship. She attained her Master's Degree in English literature. She went on to an illustrious career in public relations, garnering many prestigious clients but she never forgot her roots in fiction writing.
She wrote her first short story and her first poem when she was ten years old and has never stopped writing. Her passion comes from her family. Her step-father was world-renowned animation genius Iwao Takamoto, whom her mother married when Leslie was five years old. His passion for his own craft was such that he always boasted that he never worked a day in his life. When she is writing, it is not work. It is sheer pleasure as it has been since her childhood. Her mother continues to be a loving, supportive part of her life.
Leslie is currently completing the homage to her step-father “Living with a Legend”, a non-fiction book of personal anecdotes about famous Iwao Takamoto.

Book Description (Synopsis)

My book of poetry Images from my Soul is the lifetime accumulation of my deepest feelings and is broken down into chapters, as is life. The chapters begin with Images of Life, Images of Mankind, Images of Love, Images of Nature, Images of the Sea, and Images of Family are the sections that illuminate the heart with wisdom and beauty.

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Back Cover Description

My book of poetry Images from my Soul is the lifetime accumulation of my deepest feelings and is broken down into chapters, as is life. The chapters begin with Images of Life, Images of Mankind, Images of Love, Images of Nature, Images of the Sea, and Images of Family are the sections that illuminate the heart with wisdom and beauty.

Author's Book Dedication

To Pam Kalista for her artwork that brought my spirit to life. My love, respect, and admiration make Pam yet another Image from my Soul.

Story Keywords

poetry, nature, sailing, ocean, love, life lessons, poems

7000

Book Completion Date
Acknowledgements

To my publisher and dear friend, Bruce Moran, who has had the patience of Job and the humor to keep our disagreements from becoming arguments.

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Advertising Hook

My book of poetry Images from my Soul is the lifetime accumulation of my deepest feelings and is broken down into chapters, as is life. These sections will hopefully illuminate my readers’ heart with wisdom and beauty.

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Contest Manuscript Details

Destiny

That which
is written
in the stars;
that which
is pre-determined
by the strength
of nature;
that which
we call destiny.

We aspire
to the belief
because it preserves
the fantasy
that there is a plan.
That which is
due us
will surely
happen.

We question it
as though
it really exists.
We curse it
because
it does not
exist.

Self

The most difficult
person to understand,
to appreciate,
and to respect,
is our
Self.
It is the person
with whom
we are most intimate,
yet it is the person
we are most frightened
to see.

When we meet
strangers,
we may quickly understand them,
appreciate them,
or respect them.
But if we don’t,
we can quickly
walk away
from them.
This we cannot do
with our
Self.

Those attributes
about our Self
That vex us
or others,
we must either
seek to change --
a most arduous task;
seek to accept --
a most depressing task;
or seek to blind our Self to its presence --
a most unproductive task.

If we do not strive
to understand our
Self,
appreciate our Self,
respect our Self,
and most importantly,
better our Self
so that we may some day
love our Self,
Life has been
a wasteful
Gift.

Objective Reality

Objective Reality
is that which we
cannot see
but must see.
It is what is right
before our eyes;
yet our eyes blind us
to its existence.
It has the limits
of our imagination;
yet our imagination
is its limitation.

Objective Reality
is that which we
dare not see
but must fight to see.
It is the beauty before us;
the pain inside us;
the love within us;
the rage among us.

Objective Reality
is the sight that will bring
these forces together
to become a soul
with complete
peace.

Without the acknowledgement
that reality is objective
we have only
rationalization;
It is that
rationalization
that keeps us blind,
and strips us
of our
hope.

The Real World

The gentle movement
of the sea;
the lilting melody
of the goldfinch;
the affectionate love
of a hug –
this beauty
is the
Real World.

The vicious
anger of drivers;
the harsh discords
of the boss;
the cruel insensitivity
of many
who surround us,
lead us to the
misconception
that this is the
Real World.

The quiet warmth
that penetrates
our soul
cannot be taken
for granted.
Viciousness can be replaced with
Love;

Harshness can be replaced with
Gentility;
It is sometimes
difficult to find,
but it is worth
the search –
for this is the
Real World.

Feeling the Music

When sounds
of melody
gently enter
your soul,
it is called
Music.
It takes
the beauty
and sensitivity
of the spirit
and raises them
to a higher
level.

Music takes
mundane conversation
and creates
an atmosphere
of pleasure
that can help
expression
find an
outlet.

But when the sounds
of melody
echo madly
within your head
so that beauty
cannot enter
your soul
and only
the pounding
of rhythm
vibrate your spirit,
it is no longer
Music –
It is merely
Noise.

Poetry

The sounds,
the tastes,
and the feelings
of poetry
emerge from the depths
of one’s soul;
from the inner spirit
that can only exist
in theory –
that is why
it can never
be duplicated.

There is no lesson
to teach a soul to feel,
a spirit to soar,
or the inner freedom
to proclaim it.

There is no lesson
to teach the fingers
to place letters
in such an order
as to become
Poetry.

Poetry emerges
from a fertile mind,
an open heart,
and the need
to express
them.

Present Passed

As I sat in the cool Autumn air
amid the white wicker
and hardwood floors
of the quaint Bed & Breakfast,
I found it most difficult
to transport myself
back to the era
that endeavored to beckon me
from within its Victorian walls.

Though the homes were lovely,
the atmosphere cried out in despair:
We are living in the present -
We will sell you objects
from the past -
but we will not allow you
to enter into
its sacred spirit.

Even the drawing room
which echoed the past
by re-creating the world
it once was,
did not succeed.

It only served to tease
by displaying the surface glimpses
of days passed
without approaching
the soul
it cried to portray.
The earnest heart
of warmth and innocence
was lost.

The Beauty of Life

Is life the beauty before us?
The blue sky above
the turquoise water below;
and the shade trees that surround us?

Is life the love
we cherish internally?
The empathy that touches our soul;
the affection that surrounds us?

Or is life the anger before us?
The cynicism that tears at our soul;
the hatred that surrounds us?

Life is what we choose internally.
The beauty we choose to touch our soul;
the empathy we choose to feel;
the love we choose to surround us.

Fantasy

What are we willing
to suffer
to fulfill
a fantasy?
The pain
of excessive noise;
the exhaustion
of sleepless nights;
the claustrophobia
of crowds of strangers;
the embarrassment
of being a part of the herd.
All to witness
a fantasy
become a reality.

If we don’t have good fantasies,
we have nightmares;
but fantasies
are always disappointing.
They usually
succumb
to expectations
that are too high.

The Creative Spirit

The spirit that is imbued
in the human mind to create art
is tapped by few;
only those who are able.
Others may possess
the ability to appreciate
the beauty that surrounds them
but they cannot understand
the innate ability to see life
through the eyes of potential art;
the depth,
the inner grace,
or the imagination
to transform that world into
the words of a poem,
the strokes of a painting,
or the notes of a symphony.

Those with such spirit
are able to see life
through the three-dimensional eyes
of artistic potential,
even as a child.
The intense color,
bouquet,
and form;
as though developing the sensitivity
to transform a simple flower
into a poem

while still in infant stage.
As a mere infant,
they begin to see the world around them
with a purpose;
with the inner knowledge
that one day they will be called upon
to describe that world with the eloquence
of the written word
or the fine strokes of a brush.

Most people do not even possess the ability
to detect artistic spirit;
some cannot even appreciate
the beauty and grace that surrounds them
in their daily life.
But there have always been
those members of true humanity
who were favored with the perceptive capacity
to at least appreciate the spirit in others.
They may not have been endowed with this spirit themselves,
but they have sensitivity
and clarity
to recognize it in those who do.
These are the patrons
that have enabled art to flourish;
without them,
the artistic spirit would simply eat away at the soul,
with no purpose
and no escape.

The Jazz Club
As I gazed
at the brick walls,
the remnants
of sweet sound
echoes the rhythmic
beauty
of moments passed.
The basses
and trebles
soothingly radiated
from the
glowing lights,
as though the music
that had just
entered my senses
was a living,
breathing,
Entity;
Its beauty permeating
all that it
had
Touched.

The remnants
of such sweet
beauty
will remain in my heart –
breathing its Life
into my
Soul.

Art

Art is the magic
of the
Spirit;
Whether it is
with
Colour,
with
Sound;
or with
Words.

Art is the essence
of Man’s ability
to capture the love
within him,
the beauty around him,
and the creativity
that compels him
to translate it
for the rest
of the
World.

Virtue is Next to Godliness

Cleanliness is next to godliness?
Wash your hands
and go
to heaven?

Make your bed
and greatness
is yours?
shower daily
and no human
can surpass
you?

The creator of this parable
must not have lived
when gods walked
the earth.

Did Mohammed
smell as sweet
as a showered
Jack the Ripper?
Did Jesus’ robes
rival the freshly
laundered shirt
of Adolf Hitler?

Did Buddha’s breath
smell as sweet
as that of
Ted Bundy?

Cleanliness
may smell sweet
but moral character,
empathy for
one’s fellow man,
the ability to love,
or creative genius –
these virtues
are far closer
to godliness
than superficial
cleanliness.

Physical Beauty

Is beauty found
in the perfection of
features?
A perfect nose?
A perfect smile?
Or is it
the lack
of perfection
that emits
true beauty?
Soft eyes -
Crooked smile -
that glow
from within.
Here lies
the deepest
and truest
of beauty -
A beauty
that can be felt
rather than
seen.

A Gentleman

It is a sad commentary
on our society
that man
who is filled
with kindness,
blessed
with consideration for others,
cursed
with inner shyness,
and dedicated
to display such respect
is labeled a homosexual.

In 1900
such a man
would be considered
a gentleman
and well received
by society.
He would be pursued
by women
for matrimony,
and pursued
by men
for friendship.

One hundred years later,
such a fine man
is considered
a freak.
I hope society
learns a lesson
from it’s most gracious
past.

Adulthood

With the emergence
of adulthood
Life no longer
holds
the simplicity of youth;
the curiosity -
the immortality -
the security.
Adulthood
brings with it
the fear
and apprehension
of self-reliance;
of necessity.

With the excitement
of youth
Life holds
the unknown future;
With the perspective
of adulthood
Life holds the
reality of
potential failure.

Blindness
Kindness
Sensitivity
Love –
Where have
they gone?

Cynicism,
Bitterness,
and Hostility
are Man’s new armor
that protect him
from the
Beauty
and Goodness
in the world.

Man closes his eyes
in the hope
that he will see
only Goodness;
but the Blindness
also erases the
Beauty.

Continuity

When days
become monotonous
and everything feels
like it's been done
a hundred times before,
that is the time
for reflection.

What am I doing?
Where am I going?
Who am I?
Cease feeling average.
That is the time
to take hold
of the continuity
and overcome
a difficult obstacle.

It is by
meeting a challenge
that the dreadful
continuity will cease.

Life is changing;
things are happening.
And continuity
can only continue
if the mind
is clear,
the heart
is open,
and challenges
are met.

O’Hara’s

As I gazed
at the walls
the remnants of
sweet sound
echoed
the rhythmic beauty
of moments passed.
It soothingly dripped
from the glowing lights,
as though the music
was a living,
breathing
entity;
Its beauty
permeating
all
that it
had touched.

Loneliness

Being alone
is a great relief
that can turn into
loneliness
with the blink
of an eye.

Man strives
for the peace
and tranquility
of solitude
but it is only
a temporary respite
from the fear
and rejection
of society.

Envy

Why is it
that regardless of quality,
regardless of beauty,
size is what
impresses --
especially
men?

Sitting in a beautiful
outdoor cafe,
a boat slowly
glides by.
If it is the
finest sailboat built
but is only
forty feet long
no one notices.

But a large
motor yacht
struts by,
and all
of the men
react.

The women
scarcely notice.
but the men --
all of the men --
their heads turn
to catch
a glimpse.
The larger
the yacht,
the more
the attention.

The envy
of men
for something large
seems to follow
them;
at the very least,
Subconsciously.

Football

On a neutral field
they arrive;
the modern
gladiators
with only the weapons
of Wit,
of Strength,
and of
Heart.

They plunge headlong
into the bulk
before them,
trying to retain
their dignity
as they silently
weep from the pain –
hoping the spectators
see only their graceful
spirit.

They arrive full of Hate,
Anger,
and Strength.
But are they teams?
Or are they men
who want only
to survive long enough
to give
the spectators
just one more
Show?

Maturity

He sits alone;
afraid.
His heart is filled
with goodness;
with love.
But his mind
is afraid
to commit.

His soul holds the masculinity
of his years,
but his mind
refuses to accept
the beauty
and the stability
of Maturity.
His fear
is not of reality
but of the demons
he believes exist
with Maturity.

The true beauty
in his life
will only begin
when fear disappears,
and it is replaced
with the acceptance
of a calm
that will fill
his soul
when he accepts
the grace
and beauty
of Adulthood.

The Drinking Establishment

Sitting at a bar
watching the people
ordering Escapism
by the glassful;
drugs to dull
their minds,
elevate their
voices,
and deaden
their ability
to be kind.
Their only hope
is that they will not remember
the humiliation
of their actions
the following
day.

Escapism;
Irresponsibility;
and Repugnance –
these are the
course of fare
at a bar.

Valuable inhibition
which was created
to maintain our sense
of Propriety,
Decency,
and Kindness
toward our fellow Man
are slowly
lost.

The Crazy World

They who create friendship
out of convenience;
They who pursue,
yet fear
attainment of the
pursuit;
They who love,
yet their soul
is empty;
They who smile,
yet their heart is
cold;
They who attend,
yet are unable
to commit;
They who speak;
yet no words
appear;
They who hear;
yet cannot
listen.

Life is filled
with
They whom
I dare not
Know.

The Miracle of Food

A delicate aroma -
The curiosity
of texture;
of sudden crunch
after a blend
of softness.
Sweetness,
Saltiness,
Tartness,
and ultimately
physical
satisfaction.