Free Verse Revolution · Healing · Memoir · My Mother · Poetry · Publication

Issue V: Cassandra available now! — Free Verse Revolution:

It is finally here! Thank you again for your patience with this issue. It has been a busy week and a final hectic hour of making sure it is ready for you. Free digital download Issue V: Cassandra – digital version Print copy for purchase Issue V: Cassandra – print version Enjoy reading!

Issue V: Cassandra available now! — Free Verse Revolution:

Thank you, Kristiana Reed, for including my poem in this fine issue among so many insightful and lyrical poems.

My poem, ”My Mother’s Vanity” is on a tender and culturally relevant topic related to how the fire of personal truth is snuffed out by grief, guilt, and patriarchal shaming. I hold only love and compassion for my mother, who made a mistake ner first and only year of college in the mid 40s. Her choice of whether to bear the baby was taken from her by social conventions and her parents’ fear of embarrassment.

I wrote about Mom’s trauma to help her spirit heal. The fear, guilt, and shame she felt were passed down to her children, especially her oldest daughter. Me. She was very protective, knowing how easy it is for unguarded daughters to lose their way. I hold only love, compassion, and forgiveness in my heart for Mom.

When trauma is buried by secrets and not addressed, the rage and fear is released in unhealthy ways. Over reactions. Hyper vigilance. Rigidity. I had to work hard to gain my parents’ trust and my independence. Without knowing the truth behind their micromanaging.

“The truth will set your free.” While Mom held onto her secrets, I believe that disclosing abuse and trauma heals not just the individual but the ancestral line. The DNA. Studies have shown that trauma affects the DNA in the following three generations. I truly wonder if the trauma of Mom’s abortion left residual energy in her reproductive system, passing down her emotional turmoil to her kids. Mark Wolynn addresses the effects of trauma on subsequent generations in his book, It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle.

Hold to your truth. Your true nature and authentic self. That act alone is healing.

I would include the poem here, but the formatting would be lost.

Please read this sensitive issue on Cassandra and purchase a copy.

Healing · Memoir · My Mother · Poem · Recognition/ Honor · Spillwords

“Marie Kondo Cleans My Purse at Starbucks” Wins Publication of the Month at Spillwords

I am humbled and pleased to tell you that my poem “Marie Kondo Cleans My Purse at Starbucks” won Publication of the Month of January/February at Spillwords! Thank you for your votes! The poem will appear in the right sidebar widget this month, March 2022, as you can see if you click the link below.

Your support shows that we do not walk alone in this world. When we reach out to others, they reach back. I’m so grateful. 

Thank you, Dagmara and your editing team, for this opportunity!

The poem is from my as yet unpublished poetic memoir of me and my mother, who had Alzheimer’s. I was her main caregiver.

My memoir explores the many ways in which our lives were entangled. We both experiences brain injuries that burned away memories- hers from Alzheimer’s and mine from encephalitis. And as she cared for me when I almost died from measles encephalitis at age 6 going on 7, I cared for her as Alzheimer’s slowly dissolved her brain.

Also, as the eldest daughter, I was second mommy in command, helping her with the four youngest, who were born between 1958 and 1961! A toddler in diapers, a set of twins, and the last baby. She almost died giving birth to her last, so I enlisted to help with baby care as it took her a year to recover. However, I didn’t know at that time that I was infertile because Mom took diethylstilbestrol (DES) when I was in vitro. My memoir explores the many facets of the ”mother wound” (hers, mine, and ours).

At issue in the memoir is the question my uncle asked me when I told him Mom was moving to be near me. ”Do you love her?”

His question threw me into a crisis. Did I have reasons NOT to love her? How could I care for her otherwise? What had I done to make him doubt my love for her? Was I not a good daughter?

The memoir also explores other triggers. I knew it would be impossible for Mom to live with me for various reasons. My husband and I worked full time, and she couldn’t be alone. I found her a nice independent living facility, where she thrived. Still, had I abandoned her? No, but I think she expected that I would care for her like she did her mother-in-law, who lived with us after experiencing a stroke.

Then, when Mom needed even more care, my brother and I moved her to assisted living, and she was unhappy about that. Regardless of where she lived, I had to be vigilant as problems always came up with her care. I was grateful that she was close and I could watch over her, but I always doubted myself.

This poem is about letting go of the past. Releasing the traumas that bound us together. It’s also about forgiving her and myself for our imperfections.

So this year, I hope to find a publisher for my collection, which I currently call “Three-Penny Memories”. And the reason for this title is another story and too long for this post.

Again, thank you all for your readership and support!


Healing · Honors · Memoir · My Mother · Poem · Publication · Recognition/ Honor · Spillwords

“Marie Kondo Cleans My Purse at Starbucks” – Nominated Publication of the Month at Spillwords

I am honored and grateful to the readers, and Dagmara and her editing staff for yet another honor.

May I have your vote? It would mean the world to me.

You can vote here: https://spillwords.com/vote/

Voting will cease on 3/1 and soon after they will reveal the winner.

Please note, you need to register and/or login to vote.

Here is my poem up for consideration as Publication of the Months of January and February. The format here is incorrect.

Marie Kondo Cleans My Purse at Starbucks

Konmari sees me at Starbucks,

my purse spilling over at the counter.

“May I help?”

She gathers me up

like I’m antique lace

washed too many times.

Before she begins, she whispers,

“Hello, the House,

I am safe. May I enter?”

She pokes through my purse,

pulling out the deck of cards

Mom once carried in her own purse.

A heavy bag of Mom’s pennies

to redeem for cash.

Her checkbook.

The messy old calendar

that listed her appointments

alongside my own.

The quilt she made me,

now falling apart. A cookbook

compiled in her own hand.

Konmari extracts other artifacts,

laying them gently on lined up tables.

People gather. My eyes bleed.

The extra-large pair of panties

Mom made me wear to Sunday school.

The wash, still not done.

A half-used bottle of Diethylstilbestrol,

she was prescribed to prevent spotting

when I was in vitro.

The tricycle she rode

around town at age three

because her mother never watched her.

My cancer scares, scattered

on the bottom of the purse

like cookie crumbs.

The scabs inflicted

by her compression stockings

I failed to wash one last time.

The clump of tissue

I miscarried, swaddled

in an inner pocket.

Her hysterectomy scar.

My hysterectomy scar.

Entwined on a spool.

My t-shaped uterus,

clenching a half-used packet

of Puffs Plus.

A dogeared photo of Mom.

A mirror reflecting

who I want to be.

Konmari has me

hold each item

one last time, saying,

“Thank you, tiny soul,

for sharing your life. I am

grateful.”

She teaches me

how to fold joy

three times.

How to throw out

what I can

no longer carry.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support!

Image: Pixabay

Memoir · My Mother · Poem · Publication · Spillwords

Marie Kondo Cleans My Purse at Starbucks

New poem up at Spillwords! Thank you Dagmara and the editing staff! This memoir poem is from my poetry collection in progress.

I’m looking for a publisher, by the way. 🙏🙏🙏

This poem, as do many in my collection, explores grief, the Mother Wound, our mother-daughter relationship, letting go, and healing. She suffered from Alzheimer’s, so I held her memories for her, especially her medical history for doctors, prescriptions, shopping lists, and the like. My purse was filled with both our lives intertwining. I was not only her daughter, but also her caregiver and guide.

My collection spans our experiences since my childhood. Mainly the ones that reveal the source of conflict and grief. When I was in vitro, Mom was prescribed diethylstilbestrol (DES), which made me infertile and caused my to have many cancer scares. This drug damaged many lives, as a matter of fact, for both men and women, and if they did manage to have children, their children’s reproductive organs were also malformed, and so their children also has to deal with cancerous tumors.

Mom was able to have seven kids, but I could have none. For some reason, she forgot why – perhaps her memory problems started years before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – and sometimes shamed me for not having kids as she was able to have so many. This was the wound.

Indeed, as the oldest daughter, I helped care for all the ”little ones”, her toddler, a set of twins, and her last baby, all born between 1958 and 1961. Can you imagine? I didn’t realize at the young age of 9 that this would be my only chance to mother babies.

My poetry collection also explores other parallels in our lives. We both experienced brain damage and memory issues, hers from Alzheimer’s and mine from encephalitis, which nearly killed me at the age of 6 going on 7. At that time, she was my caregiver.

Without a doubt, working this collection of poems has been healing as I excavate my past and pick through the artifacts to understand my relationship with my mother and to forgive her, as well as myself, for the wounding. When I realized she would need me to care for her in her final years, I felt an upheaval of unresolved grief, and I knew that I had a great deal of inner work and self care to do so that I could be present to her.

That I had this opportunity to care for Mom and hold her until her last breath was truly a gift.

Healing · Intuitive Listening · Memoir · Publication · Spillwords

The One and Only Real True Santa: A Memoir — Spillwords

The One and Only Real True Santa A Memoir written by: Barbara Harris Leonhard @BarbaraLeonhar4   I I was looking forward to the annual church Christmas party in the fellowship hall. 67 more words

The One and Only Real True Santa: A Memoir — Spillwords

Thank you, Spillwords, for publishing my short memoir for your Twelve Days of Christmas series!

Featured Image: one of my collages

Healing · Memoir · Mother Earth · Publication · Silver Birch Press · Writing

Instituto Terra by Barbara Leonhard (HOW TO HEAL THE EARTH Series)

Painting: DEER IN THE FOREST by Franz Marc (1913).

Thank you, Silver Birch Press!

Instituto Terra by Barbara Leonhard “Nature is the earth and it is other beings and if we don’t have some kind of spiritual return to our planet, I …

Instituto Terra by Barbara Leonhard (HOW TO HEAL THE EARTH Series)
Anti-Heroin Chic · Memoir · My Mother · Poem · Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul · Publication

“Mother’s Light” – Up in Anti-Heroin Chic

My gratitude to the editors of Anti-Heroin Chic for publishing a poem of mine in this month’s issue.

http://heroinchic.weebly.com/blog/poetry-by-barbara-harris-leonhard

Free Verse Revolution · Healing · Honors · Memoir · Podcasts · Poetry · Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul · Writing

Poet Weaver

I am a poet weaver. Many of my poems are spiritual, for I love going within to excavate the bits of my soul that need reassembly into words. As a sunshine weaver, I’m also a collagist, assembling snippets of images into a new whole with deep meaning. Each collage is a poem.

My poetry weaves together the metaphysical, metaphorical, magical, and mystical around grief, loss, love, and forgiveness. I believe healing words are so needed at this time. It is empowering to read poetry aloud, so I also started a poetry podcast on Podbean called Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul. meelosmom.podbean.com

I have compiled a poetry collection called Three-Penny Memories: A Poetic Memoir, which is about me and my mother, who passed from complications related to Alzheimer’s in 2016. Our lives were woven together in amazing symmetry, like a collage, around our mother wounds, our near deaths, and losses that impacted our relationship. I am looking for a publisher for the book and am investing in entering some contests.

Meanwhile, I am submitting poems from it with some success. One poem, “Cooking a Life with a Wire Spine” was published as a featured work on Spillwords, and in August 2021, was nominated as Publication of the Month. Also, in September 2021, Free Verse Revolution: A literary magazine, published two other poems from my collection, “Hestia for Hire” and “Mermother: A Rogue Dream Poem”. Kristiana Reed, the editor of Free Verse Revolution: A literary magazine, kindly writes in an email, “The portrayal of a parent/child relationship in both pieces was incredibly raw and moving.”

It is humbling that my poetry is getting recognized in other ways. In the anthology Well-Versed 2021 (available on amazon.com), “Picasso Dreams Broken Glass” won Third-Place in Poetry and “From Your Son” received Honorary Mention.

I’m married and have two rescued male cats, Saga and Jasper. My husband Dierik is a musician of Bluegrass, Cajun, and Country music. He’s also a wonderful music teacher.

Catch me at…
Poetry Podcast: meelosmom.podbean.com
Facebook: Barbara Harris Leonhard
Twitter: @Barbara17609138
Instagram: @meelosmom123

Why Extraordinary Sunshine Weaver?

Weaver is Source, who connects all things.
Strings and threads are cloth woven for wear.
Sunshine is Source, who reaches out rays
Like fingers to heat and heal,
To create Spring, spiritual connection,
To nurture Gaia,
To create rain as food,
To dream life,
To forge love
And evolve Source.
Extraordinary is this mystery.
All extends from Source as fingers of light
To nourish and thrive,
And as night falls awake so do all
Return to Source.


Copyright © 2021 Barbara Harris Leonhard

Image: by Jessicajoh on Pixabay


Unless otherwise stated, all published works are the original works of the author and are copyrighted. Contents of the blog may be re-used either for personal or commercial purposes, in part or whole only with permission and the author duly acknowledged with links to the blog embedded.