Poem · Poetry · Tai Chi · Writing

The Art of Warfare

He sees me at a distance

from the Salvation Army.

The soft glow of my white hair,

My short stature & square hips.

A slight limp, my stride is slow.

I am an easy mark to a

desperate bully.

 

Mam! Mam!

Come here!

Come here!

It’s like he’s found his prize.

 

He doesn’t see these deep lines

tracing the fingerprints of my soul

on my small face. Each mark, a scar,

a battle won. I am no kitten!

 

Come HERE! He commands.

I hear shouts of dominance,

impatience, & irritation.

Does he think I’ll cross to HIS side!?

I veer into the parking lot of a bank.

It’s CLOSED!

 

Mam!  He is crossing the

street in pursuit of me.

Come HERE! He demands.

 

I take to the ATM area to get to

Broadway. He’s advancing!

Leave me alone! I yell.

Go AWAY!

 

He’s on my back.

MAM! MAM!

Give me MONEY!

 

Leave me alone!

Go AWAY NOW!

I do not cower to extortion.

My duty is to self!

 

Give me MONEY! MONEY!

He flashes the cigarette butt

burning into his fingers.

He shows his teeth,

planted cock-eyed behind

tense lips.

 

I show him my eyes. The flames,

my light, my shield, my sword.

I am no stranger to bullies.

NO MONEY!

GO AWAY!

 

I advance to his face.

My scars deepen as I scowl.

My spirit finds its gateway.

My light is charged.

 

He persists, speaking loudly in

Another language, but not imploring.

He isn’t my tribe. He doesn’t know

the rules here.

 

I’ve read the Art of War.

“Do not press a desperate

soul too hard,” says Sun Tzu.

 

But I assess the enemy’s slight build.

If he touches me,

I’ll advance & strike him

under the jaw with the root of

my palm & throw him into the

ATM.  His cries will be filmed.

 

MONEY! NOW!

He practically hits me with his

near-empty bottle of Dr. Pepper.

I see no tears or cries

for pity. Only dominance

over an old lady.

 

“Show your banners &

beat your drums,” says Sun.

 

I glare at the offender,

Don’t let my shape deceive you,

I am a round stone

gaining momentum down a steep slope.

I will sweep you away

into a chasm.

 

Still he demands money. His tone,

You, Woman, give me money!

 

NO! I yell.

Leave me ALONE!

Go AWAY!

 

Sun Tzu says, “On contentious ground,

attack not. Lure the enemy by

pretending to flee.”

 

I open my purse & the perpetrator doesn’t

grab it. He thinks I’m getting money, but

I take out the phone.

Police! I’m calling the POLICE!

911!  POLICE!

 

I gather myself, my troops, & my honor.

I withdraw slowly onto Broadway,

my eyes always on my foe.

I wave my phone as

a new saber.

 

The baying jackal curses me &

retreats into the shadows.

 

Battle bleeds another scar.

Victory, purifying fire.

Harmony, restored.

 

“Such is the art of warfare,”

says the smiling Sage.

 

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image: Google search, Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Digital Art · Ekphrastic Poetry · Poem · Poetry · Writing

An Imperfect Bride

Let’s go! It’s time!

Now!?

I’m still in my floral blue knit night

gown, plum-colored sweatshirt, &

baby doll slippers from Walmart!

No one will see you or care.

Not important.

An uncharged phone?

A half-packed purse?

Uncompleted morning duties?

I gather myself,

an imperfect bride,

for the trip.

I view trees in autumn attire ablaze

against a sky the color of my blue on white china

left unwashed in the sink.

The creeks & river have risen again,

meeting us along the road.

Muddy currents obscure clarity.

Mesmerized by the mystery, I arrive at the bank

with dry lips the color of pallor.

In the stillness,

an ancient sycamore disrobes.

AutumnGoddesswallpaper (1)

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image: Pixabay.com and free wallpaper image on Google

Ekphrastic Poetry · Poem · Poetry · Writing

Kama

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Royal honey is the blood of my womb,

lush creation, even messy havoc,

hungry for birth.

I am Kama.

My desire burns as the sun;

I breathe floral light,

savor the dusty bloom of your earth &

devour your elixir.

I enchant you with my dance & song:

          See me.

                 See me.

                       My heart is a comb

                             of many rooms

                                      gushing golden treasures.

          Dare to venture

                 into my mystery.

                       See me.

                               See me.

                                      I will gather you into me &

                                              transport you.

             I am Kama.

                     See me &

                            I will make you a God.

 

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Images: Pixabay

 

     

Ekphrastic Poetry · Poem · Poetry

The Visitant

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A house

that grows taller

may collapse

or be reborn,

 its brick spine

realigned,

& new colors

applied to the relic.

This house

stands rigid

in gauzy light,

an old man

using breeze

as an inhaler.

The front steps creak

under the Visitant,

bearing cerements.

The porch, a broken hip

holding up thin walls of bone,

 struggles with the sacred load.

The Visitant enters, offering vespers

 in sepulchral whispers to the reluctant

host, shrouded in brown.

Thin hallways carry away the

clutter of memories from

a heart beating slowly.

The weary drummer

laments on a forsaken

rug stained with years.

An old clock

resounds with birdsong,

announcing the hour of requiem.

Drapes close the eyes at last for

a holy sleep of languor in

the arms of the

Visitant.

 

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image: Pixabay.com

Ekphrastic Poetry · Poem · Poetry

Summer’s End

From seedlings in spring to tall grasses in summer sun, we stand, scanning the lapping currents from our spot.

Clinging to trees, cicadas call out an endless shrill.

Water bugs mate and die while widow skimmers dance on the waves in bright light.

A turtle basks on a dead limb that’s caught in a root wad along the bank.

Your kayak floats downstream in our shadows.

As an eagle keeps watch from a lofty sycamore perch, a warm gust lifts and sways us on the shore, and we seem to wave as you pass by.

Your evening ride succumbs to rain.

The wind stirs up wakes for you to command as an Asian carp pounds into your boat.

The beaver makes it to shore before you in the storm.

The river bank is summer’s bed of sand, where you seek refuge.

In the bluster, we bear our seeds at water’s edge. They scatter like tiny, startled bees.

Our ravaged arms reach for the falling light at dusk.

The glassy river reflects our age as our colors fade.

Our stems bend as though thirsty for noon.

 

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image “Sunset on the Missouri River” ©Dierik Leonhard

 

 

 

Ekphrastic Poetry · Original Digital Art · Poem · Poetry

Woman

Woman, how you portray
your complex essence and ambiguity.

You are a study of light
cast on the walls of your Self.

Shadows border your brilliance.

Your portrait is askew with flavors
that you offer to guests
enamored by your mystery
as you gaze into obscurity.

**Won third place in a local writing competition for this poem. My sister made a special image for it for this post.**

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image: “The Charmer” digital art © Martha Harris. See Martha’s Artistic Flarings @artisticflarings.blog

Ekphrastic Poetry · Poetry · Prose · Tai Chi

The Death of a Farm

I submitted this poem to the July 2019 Ekphrastic Challenge, but it wasn’t chosen. I don’t have permission to use the image here, but you can check out Ekphrastic Challenge on Rattle.com for the exact scene. For this post, I chose some free images on pixabay to illustrate the poem.

The image in the July 2019 Rattle challenge shows a small farm with a house and trailer on the right, positioned behind a pen. In the muddy field, there are two cows. In the background to the left, you see an old silo and in the center in the background, a barn. Above the silo is a jet making a descent. The image is named: Restricted/U.S. Air Force by B.A. Van Sise from the artist’s “Elsewhere” series.

For me, the image on Rattle elicited memories of my time on a farm in Missouri. Our large family rented an old farm house for a couple of years in the early 60s.

My impression was of the passing of an era for the house, the farm, me, and even the nation.

THE DEATH OF A FARM

The house was a woman of years

refusing to sell to developers.

She still had her wringer washer

and coal-burning stoves waiting to be fed.

How she quaked with the roar of the coal filling her bins.

She ate that coal like candy.

And the ubiquitous black dust fought me each winter

as I scrubbed and scrubbed the cracked vinyl flooring

and the sills and woodwork that trimmed her bodice.

Each summer, the dust blown in from the fields

would blanket the old woman.

Her ivory dress, tattered and stained,

spoke of bygone trials and triumphs on her American soil,

where she stood her ground.

I was her caretaker in our sojourn there

as she indulged this family of nine,

who needed a roof with substantial lodging.

She complied with the courtesy of a elderly southern belle

eager for companionship as she had been lonely too long.

Her barn became a nursery for newborn kittens

and a playground for boisterous boys.

They climbed the rickety ladders to view her farm

from the highest loft overlooking the pasture

and her crop of tobacco and such.

barn-101273__340

The crops were farmed by hired teens

who tried to scare this young girl

with gross beetle larvae from across the fence.

Wanna smoke?  They would ask me.

I was too young for them  – and busy.

I worked for the sake of the house.

I would wring out the sheets and hang them in the sun.

The laundry on the lines would whip in the wind

to the songs on American Bandstand and the current top ten.

When free from the chores,

I took to the pasture to sing and dance to my own tunes

in the fescue that nourished the livestock.

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My heart wandered in the farmland hills and the trickling creek

as I imagined my possibilities.

But one autumn day, the pasture became my refuge of tears

when I heard that President Kennedy had been shot and killed.

I ran from the kitchen to the pasture and

slumped down. My cries resounded as a death toll

in the shadow of an abandoned silo.

silo-4379756_960_720

My old friend stared with wide, hollow eyes,

As her light dimmed to still night.

The cows scattered to the sound of a jet

descending to torn earth.

 

 

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Images: Pixabay