Healing · Memoir · My Father · October Hill Magazine · Poem · Publication · Writing

Estate Sale

I have a new publication in October Hill Magazine, Spring Issue, page 92. The title of the poem is “Estate Sale”. You can also read the poem here, (but the format is not correct. I don’t know how to fix it.)


Estate Sale 

“When someone is missing, their possessions take on meanings.” 

– Claudia Emerson (1957-2014)

How the day lays the gray fog into rain
That presses on fallen leaves with bent stems.

Am I ready to sweep them into bags –
Gently used jackets, old woven mittens?

Tell me who needs this apparel of trees

One leaf still clings, my father, not yet braced

To give up his old toys, schoolbooks, first gun.

He wrote a memoir that ended with me.

Perhaps he thought I would know my story,

Or he didn’t want to get it all wrong.

A sole leaf still being written on bark,

He cleaves to the long branch of his mother.

An ancient oak, pruned to keep her health up,

She cannot stretch her limbs out to the clouds.

Instead, her girth grows thick, her stature short,

A broad support for plumage & branches,

To which father maintains a firm handhold.

I gather their china, albums, & garlands.

I wash her face & dress her in twinkling lights. 

Father lets go as I head to the sale.   


Audio · My Family · My Father · My Mother · Poem · Poetry

The House of Souls


The abode on the lake

Has housed many souls

From my lineage and anew

And survived many fates.


Dad, Earle of the manor,

An only child, his own best friend,

Took to adventures on the sandy beach of Lake Michigan,

His playground for swimming and skating.


Nature can be a foe and muster legends, as

The winter snow almost ate him when

He stumbled into a hole and was buried up to the neck, no siblings for his rescue.

And another boy wearing Dad’s skates fell through the ice.


Our pilgrimages there to see the sages,

Our faces burned by whiskers

After Granddad arrived home from the bank.

He built the house; it was also a Harris.


Our tummies filled with cherry pie

At the little round kid table by the nook.

Grandma Hattie’s apron and her

Kind, dark, deep-set eyes.


Our games and play for hours

On the sandy beach with the sun bearing down

To make blisters so big that

Bandages became our body armor.


Still, Sweet Grandma would hug so hard

The blisters would break open,

Soothed only by time and more cherry pie.

Lessons unlearned as we raced back to the shore.


Years passed with generations gone.

We moved there with Mom, for Dad went away to school.

How she survived is a testament to her resolve

As the Handmaid, the Mother, and the Queen.


This was our adventure, owning the castle.

Seven kids loving mischief,

Feeding Mom’s jewelry down the heating vent, and

Spreading around a bag of flour before the guests arrived.


Once the house almost died

As lightning struck it while Mom was away,

Having trusted the house and nature

To guard the seven treasures.


The house was hungry in the winter

Fed by coal delivered to the creepy bin in the basement.

How the house shook like a mighty beast when fed,

Satiated and ready for slumber.


Once I found Mom by the furnace.

How she looked wed to the fire.

Her eyes were blazing as she stoked the coals

And turned to glare at me. Of course, I ran.


The Lake had receded, so that year,

We only had waves of grass as our shore.

But the garage still had Granddad’s tools as toys,

And we could still smell him there.


This house was Dad’s soul and anchor,

Our refuge on vacations,

Our residence in a life transition.

I still hang my curtains the same way now,


Though I really can’t linger there

As was shown in a dream.

I saw myself as a young girl on the shore,

Dad and his parents inside at the nook.


Follow us, they said, leading me to the water’s edge

Though I feared the water and dared not venture too deep,

I followed and we became as frogs

Twisting with the current and swimming on the lake bottom.


Out we came to new ground

And I was made to walk on hot coals.

How I blazed on this path,

Glistening into my new fine diamond body


Until reborn into the Now.

For the past is but a house of memories

That cannot survive present winds or future travail.

And now the house that once held our souls has new occupants.


Copyright © August 11, 2017 Barbara Harris Leonhard

Image: Our House of Souls, which we had on Lake Michigan in Escanaba, Michigan















Essays · My Father · My Mother · Prose · Voices from the Veil

Writing Poetry

What I might call my best poems and writing is from Muse. I remember as an English Literature major being guided by my creative writing teachers to travel inward and seek the Muse. I always thought about this process in a theoretical way and never thought of it as genuine contact. However, where does creative work originate? There are some poems which I know I wrote pen to paper, but where did those images come from? Are they from Muse alone? Does Muse engage with my mind? Is Muse my mind? Is Muse really divine intervention? Does Muse deliver crucial messages?

My poetry is based on human experience translated from and into spiritual experience. I’m not sure what comes first. Maybe I’m trying to understand the deeper meanings and put the poems into the framework of universal human truth and universal spiritual truth. To do so, I listen. An intriguing thesis is proposed from somewhere inward, and I grab the pen or stylus and start to explore this proposition. If I do not do that instantly, I lose the moment of this truth and only hope it will return someday. Therefore, many poems are resting in my bones and flesh as a kind of wailing pain. I have found by returning to my writing in this recent thrust of creative energy that I have had less physical pain. Maybe the pain resulted from my deafness to Spirit’s, or Source’s, calling.

With more life experience and a treasure of images, I am able to listen again. This treasure trove of imagery and messages opened up to me after Mom’s death and led me to writing Voices from the Veil. I’ve been trying to trace the connections.

A while back maybe 3 or 4 years ago I was helping my mother a great deal because her memory was declining. She was living in an independent living facility in town. To get to her place, I always passed by a funeral home and cemetery. In a tiny plot of land near the road were the graves of children and babies. Come visit. Come visit. I felt I was being invited to stop there often. Finally one day I turned into the cemetery and visited those tiny grave sites. I was compelled to do so and to return to leave gifts to offer those little spirits. I know Archangel Gabriel was at my side in this endeavor. I could write a volume just on Gabriel’s influence in my life. I placed flowers and toys on the graves, most of which were already decorated with dolls, backpacks, infant angels, and other assortments to entertain the children. Some toys had been tossed about by storms, so it was important to anchor them down. I could not have children, so these visits were meaningful to me.

Mom eventually had to move to assisted living and within a year, her body failed her. Alzheimer’s shut down her heart and kidneys. Grieving her, my Muse reawakened. I wrote a few poems about this loss. In this poetry, I relived her last days and tried to make sense of certain signs and symbols that appeared before and after her death. Writing these poems led to others. After my retirement, I had time to review my poetry and was surprised at the number. I began this blog to continue to nurture my creative ventures.

One day, a year after her death, I asked my parents to visit me. Dad came in a dream and Mom, in a poem. While I was working on that poem while building my blog site, I recalled my visits to the babies and children in that small plot of souls. My mind also wandered to another beautiful cemetery near my home. I wondered if I could visit there and hear messages like those from Mom in that poem I wrote, Hello, It’s Mom. Without my even visiting the cemeteries in person, suddenly, more poems arose either out of me or to me. One from a young male teen and one from an older man, a laborer. Hence, I created a series of poems I call Voices from the Veil.

Copyright © 2017 Barbara Harris Leonhard

poetry and image (my garden)