Threads of Life: A Collection

Threads of Life: A Collection

by Sylvia Payne Tillitt


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Over a span of nearly seven decades, educator, artist, leading public speaker, visionary world traveler, and political activist Sylvia Payne Tillitt expressed her unique and compassionate vision of life in poems, rich in the spirituality of everyday life, now included in Threads of Life: A Collection. Although she became a woman of cosmopolitan interests in the arts, education, politics, and world travel, she was born in 1915 in Coachella, California, a small desert town where date palms shaded the family dairy.

At an early age, she began to take notes on those important events in her life, reflecting her lifelong journey as a spiritual person. Sylvia felt compelled to share the varied perspectives of her journey in her poetry and photographs, as she traveled the world, raised her two children, and participated fully in the civic life of her hometown. In her poetry, she focuses on the spiritual beauty of the earth, the grandeur of mountains, and the awe-inspiring vast African Plains, among other topics.

With her own imaginative imprint, Threads of Life offers Sylvia’s unique interest in all aspects of life in poetry and photographs.

The music is stilled,

The mind is at rest,

Peace unending, the eternal guest.

Warming in the afterglow of love,

The family stands;

Their outstretched hands

Filled with gems of remembered joys.

The whale’s tooth, delicately traced,

The barbed wit, subtly placed,

Perceptive views, the scholar’s bent

Cathedral spires, the Holy Rood,

Contemplation, where Martyrs stood.

Stay, O Man!

The music is not stilled,

The tones are only muted

Anticipating their new release.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781458207760
Publisher: Abbott Press
Publication date: 02/06/2013
Pages: 130
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.34(d)

Read an Excerpt

Threads of Life

A Collection
By Sylvia Payne Tillitt

Abbott Press

Copyright © 2013 Sylvia Payne Tillitt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4582-0776-0

Chapter One


Bill 6
Boyce 7
Recollection 8
Sandy 9
Sada 11
The Child 12
The Weaver 13
To John 14
To My Dad 15


    Borne by winds
    Scattering light and shadow
    Mid rays of hope
    Piercing shifting clouds
    That reflect the joy
    Of a soul released.

    Viewing anew
    The palm-lined road
    Hidden now by the
    Frenzied crush of many
    Observing the naked rocks
    In the river's bed
    Once hidden by rushing waters.

    Upward soars
    The unfettered Spirit
    Seeing once more "The Lady"
    Resting quietly
    In the cradle of Creation.

    Peace at last
    Found in the limitless boundaries
    Of God's love.

      © 23 December 1990


His light will shine
In a new Place
His caring ways
New scenes will embrace
The quiet wit
Reflects in Another's face.
Enduring faith
Brought strength to those
Whose vision was obscured.

Earthly tasks now have ceased.

Spirits soar
With the joyful sound
Of a soul released
To Life unbound.

© 8 July 1993


The music is stilled,
The mind is at rest,
Peace unending, the eternal guest.

Warming in the afterglow of love,
The family stands;
Their outstretched hands
Filled with gems of remembered joys.

The whale's tooth, delicately traced,
The barbed wit, subtly placed,
Perceptive views, the scholar's bent
Cathedral spires, the Holy Rood,
Contemplation, where Martyrs stood.

Stay, O Man!
The music is not stilled,
The tones are only muted
Anticipating their new release.

© 28 March 1984


The heart
Is full of tears
When the messenger
Bears the news
Of a friend held dear.

Lives were made rich
By his shared gifts
Songs that soared
Melodies of sweet timbre
To quiet the weary spirit
Hidden humor
Made light the load
The questing mind
Led to realms unknown.

Rest, dear friend
You are at Home.

© 16 October 1993


Still lies the needle
The thread is spent
Beauty remains to reflect
The shining light of faith
Touching all
Who linger in its rays.

Sensitive to her fellow-man
Forgiving those
Who forgot to be kind
A quick smile
The ripple of laughter
Lightening the load
As she bent to her task.

Deftly the needle
Pursued the artist's chosen course
Completing the path
That led to infinite peace
At the end of the way.

© 9 July 1992

    The Child

    The joy of teaching
    Is often lost
    In a sea of words
    Tossed in waves
    Of emotional stress
    Extraneous views
    So vehemently pressed
    Strain the senses
    Of the teacher possessed
    With the care and skill
    To lead the child
    Through paths as yet unknown
    His quest for knowledge to

    The child,
    He stands at the door
    Eager eyes
    Cast questioningly about
    This uncharted way
    He's set to explore
    His roving gaze
    Upon the teacher falls
    And stays
    Will this be the one
    To give wings to his mind

    To chart a course
    To foster his enduring curiosity?
    Confidently he enters
    Alert to the center
    Of which he is part
    Unaware of the sounds of the sea
    That churn the waves
    To a frightening height
    That lash at the teacher erudite.

    He seeks only the glow
    Of a world full of others
    With a passion to know
    And of a guide
    Who sees the child
    As the joy of teaching.

    © 27 July 1987

The Weaver

Spinner of yarns
Revealing skeins of life
As the shuttle
Artfully passes through
The follow warp.

The warmth of love
Guides the weaver's hand
Tracing anew
History's tangled path
Lighting again the unknown way
Of those sturdy souls
Whose footsteps led them
Far astray.

Quickly passes the shuttle
A new skein comes
The waiting warp to imbue.

© 18 February 1990

To John

The work of the Lord
Is filled with strife
It offers not, an easy life
But, joy unbounded
Does prevail
When a human soul
Pierces the veil
Of Man's obliqueness.

It experiences the glory
Of God's welcoming call
So keep the light burning brightly
To your faith hold tightly
And go forth with courage
To serve the Lord
Our God Almighty.

© 1 November 1985

To My Dad

I've known you for nineteen years,
You've been my help and chum.
And though now the end has come,
Be brave and have no fears.
God has watched and guided you,
And you have been so good, so true.
There have been times when we misunderstood,
And times when we haven't done as we should,
But all's forgotten and though you
Walk no more the paths of men,
May God be with you 'till we meet again.

© Sylvia Payne 21 February 1935

Chapter Two


Amarna 20
Beijing Requiem 21
Artist's Proof 22
Country Garden 25
En Route to Cheung Chau Island 27
Evening At Dana Point 28
Hong Kong Gardens 29
Hanauma Bay 31
Nightfall On the Deck 32
On Going to Lompoc 33
Summer Solstice 35
West Lake 37
Yellow Mountain 39
The Mountains on Sunday 40


Shards of time
Lie scattered on the plain
Silent forms
Stand unadorned
By human vanity.
Broken lives
Rest soundlessly
Hidden from prying vision
Mute reminders of dimming splendors
Wrapped in mists of memory.

Shimmering tones
Of ethereal beauty
Released from invisible Aeolian strings
Waft through the mists
Whispering hauntingly

Amarna, O Eternal Amarna.
© 6 August 1988

    Beijing Requiem

    Earth stirs
    Winter's chill has faded
    Returning warmth
    Sends waves of hope
    Surging through the heart.
    Winds of approaching Spring
    Warm dormant dreams
    Of those whose minds
    Seek the bonds of freedom
    Expectant eyes
    Fill with glowing light
    Awakened hopes
    Quicken the steps
    Of those who seek the joys
    Of an unfettered spirit.

    The chill returns
    A cacophony of voices
    Reject the bitter challenge
    Of returning power
    Harsh bursts of fire
    Signal imminent retreat.

    Lies the square
    No sound
    Of eager feet
    Pressing on toward liberty
    No shining eyes
    Scanning the horizon
    For freedom's beckoning light
    Only an idle wind
    Rustles through the dust
    Of crushed hopes
    Lying there.

    © 8 August 1989

    Artist's Proof

    Bravely resisting
    Time's insidious tentacles.

    Greyed timbers,
    Shattered floors,
    Shadowy corners
    Filled with the gossamer
    Of fragile dreams.

    Shifting sands,
    Retreating seas,
    The haunting cry
    Of birds in flight.

    The searching soul
    Turns yet again,
    Its reluctant eye
    Caught by
    A resurgence of hope.

    Delicate fragrance
    Comes creeping,
    The weathered boards
    Covered in triumphant beauty.

    Arise Dear Heart!
    Upswept with scandent joy,
    The greyed timbers
    Are not disconsolate.

    They have but
    Gone to roses.

    © 4 April 1984

Country Garden

Pewtered walls
With warm embrace,
Cradle in love,
An old-fashioned place.

Weathered sills
Reflect the blush
Of early Spring
Sapphire spires of delphinium blue,
Thrust eagerly upward
Toward Heaven's hue.
Royally placed
Is Grandmother's cushion,
Awaiting the throning
Of an itinerant bee.

A place of memory,
Dear to the heart,
Wrought through God's Grace,
For man seeking refuge
From the world's wearying pace.

© 2 May 1986

    En Route to Cheung Chau Island

    Smoothly gliding
    Through the restless sea
    The ship follows
    Its charted course
    Toward a distant isle.

    Twinkling lights beckon
    From the approaching strand
    Gentle breezes
    Bring the sound
    Of children's happy laughter
    Evening shoppers
    Fill small streets
    Fishermen offer
    Their day's catch
    Spicy aromas
    Emanating from stalls

    Filled with mysterious wares
    Entice meandering feet
    A flurry of bicycle wheels
    Giving chase to bouncing balls
    Turn the adventurer's steps
    Toward the idling ship.

    It is time
    To turn homeward
    Content with the sharing
    Of life in this tiny village.

    © 5 October 1993

    Evening At Dana Point

    Winds fade,
    Calm descends.
    Man's frenzied spirit is arrested,
    Caught in the blinding sheen
    Of a sun that has spent its

    Fragments of color flash by,
    As beach people retreat
    To a distant refuge.
    Eager to escape
    The encroaching anonymity of
    Sailing ships,
    Deterred from their pursuit
    Of loosely chartered flight,
    Reluctantly surrender their
    To that beacon's compelling

    Bobbing sandpipers
    Flirt with the teasing waters
    Inching with unrestrained
    Toward the deserted shore.

    The cliffs rest.
    Renewing their resources
    From those iridescent rays
    Nestling under the protecting
    Of Mother Earth's chaparral.
    Night descends,
    Enfolding the world in a mantle
    of infinite peace.

    © 5 July 1986

Hong Kong Gardens

Like flowers
Searching for the sun
The mirrored structures rise
Cerulean walls
Chastely etched
Reflect brightly
In the crystal
Of neighboring polygons
Treasured gems of history
Glisten on the city floor
Reminders of an era past.

Nature claims its space
With the soothing sounds
Of waterfalls
Nurturing miniature gardens
Symbols of Man's need
For beauty
E'en in the expanding designs
Of an ever changing world.

© 5 October 1993

Hanauma Bay

Spume reaching for the sky
Lashing barricading rocks nearby
Wind-cut lava
Spilled o'er the land
Reveals the story
Of an early Man.

Jagged peaks thrust upward
Softened with greens
As they unite with the sea
Splashes of beauty
Dot the land
Echoing songs fill the air
Noting the passage of birds
Sing o' Sing
Ye birds on the wing
Proclaim anew
The miracle of birth
In every corner
Of this vast earth.

© 28 September 1992

Nightfall On the Deck

Earth sounds are stilled
Quiet pervades
We rest
Reflecting on the day past
A zephyr wanders by
Diffusing the day's rigours
Peace returns
Night draws its curtain.

© 23 July 1988

On Going to Lompoc

Blest is he
Who serves the Lord
Who accepts the challenge
Of unfurrowed earth.

Are the rewards
That lighten the burden
That quicken the steps
Of weary feet.

The warmth of God's love
Refreshes the spirit
Anew the steps of the disciple
Set forth toward
The eternal Goal.

© 19 January 1991

Summer Solstice

Golden poppy
Glistening cup upturned
Seeking eternal life.

Misty spires of brilliant hue
Wafting their fragrance upward
In clouds of heavenly incense
Seeking the Lord's delight.

Weathered cliffs sustaining life
In wind-tossed gypsy seeds
Clinging tight.
Silent birds' outward flight
Herald the dawn
Of a season's renewal.

Quietly lie the seas
Their jubilance repressed
Awaiting the close
Of the summer solstice.

© 15 March 1985

    West Lake

    Virgin growth
    Shadowed by drifting clouds
    Greens the low-lying hills
    Encircling the West Lake calm
    A triad of captive jewels
    Glisten in the radiance
    Of a turquoise sea
    Lotus leaves bow
    To the whims
    Of a transient breeze
    Stirring not
    The sheen of the lake
    Pearls of time
    Reminiscent of past treasures
    Gleam on the distant hills

    Symbols of a nascent order
    Jut sky-ward
    Man's vision
    Of a dawning tomorrow.

    The day wanes
    Lingering rays
    Of an earlier glow
    Rest gently
    On folds of layered beauty
    Transcendent peace
    Cloaks the waiting world.

    © 7 October 1993

    Yellow Mountain

    The winding way
    Is long
    Rolling hills
    Terraced by tea
    Rise above
    The golden rice
    Awaiting the farmer's flailing
    Verdant fields of cane
    Toss merrily in the breeze
    While trays of yellow corn
    Dot the roadside scene
    Eager people
    Fill this land
    Anticipating the harvest
    By many diligent hands.

    The mountain looms ahead
    Layers of beauty
    Float wraith-like
    Between layers of dignity
    Shaped by nature
    In surrealistic forms
    Autumnal hues
    Flow as a rainbow
    O'er chiseled canyon walls
    To an unseen end
    Day's course is run
    The glowing sun
    Bows to the swirling mists
    Silently they wrap the earth
    In quiet peace.

    © 11 October 1993

    The Mountains on Sunday

    Monuments of Time
    Majestically they rise
    O'er the earth
    Winds of the world
    Brush them
    Scattering seeds of Creation
    In their passing
    Sowing palettes
    Of goldenrod and purple sage
    On the hillside sweeps
    Scattered trees
    In early Autumn dress
    Fill the sunny hollows
    Willows line the wandering
    Yon bank
    Provides the place
    Where a fallen giant rests.

    Pinnacles of Power
    What was their measure
    When first on this earth
    Who knows
    Their span of life.

    Is this their Eternity?

    © 12 September 1993


Excerpted from Threads of Life by Sylvia Payne Tillitt Copyright © 2013 by Sylvia Payne Tillitt. Excerpted by permission of Abbott Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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