Audio · Mother Earth · My Mother · Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry · Podcasts · Poem · Poetry

Before Eden Fell

       

This poem is included in an article I wrote for Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry (https://phoebemd.com/2020/03/12/fire-ice-the-faces-of-grief/).

The article is based on my poetry podcast Grief: Fire and Ice, which features this poem (https://meelosmom.podbean.com/e/grief-fire-and-ice/).

Before Eden Fell

We were all immortal,

our beauty, captured forever

in flora and fauna

so brilliant that light itself

had to blink twice

our true being stood naked

without shame

our reflection more lustrous

than knowing

brilliantine fabric

until the apple fell

into Mother’s soft hands

our Mother, the first to grieve

her garden lost

how she still clings to the maiden

the stunning beauty she once was

now deflowered, exposed to erosion

our Eden, our innocence and purity,

victim to change, to corruption, to decline,

our undoing

no one …. no thing is our eternity

our heaven forever

on this plane

nothing lasts

so we grieve

feeling abandoned by joy

and cast out of a divine place

though we cling to the fading innocence

of our Eden,

we bless grief

Written in Response to Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”

Nothing Gold Can Stay

BY ROBERT FROST

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

**Poetry Foundation

My poem ends with, “We bless grief”. Why? I explain in my podcast. 😇

©2020 Barbara Harris Leonhard

extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com

meelosmom@podbean.com (Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul)

Image: Pixabay

Audio · My Mother · Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry · Poem · Poetry · Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul · Writing

Erosion

This poem is included in an article I wrote for Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry (https://phoebemd.com/2020/03/16/alzheimers-grieving-the-loss-of-my-mother/).

The article is based on my poetry podcast Grief: Fire and Ice (https://meelosmom.podbean.com/e/grief-fire-and-ice/).

Erosion

A garden once planted in spring,

bearing life in shade and sun,

is now tangled with weeds and blight.

A hearty yield once sustained by dew and noon rains,

now forgets in autumn light.

Baskets of Gold, having bloomed and stretched for sun,

now shrivel, scorched by drought.

Honeysuckle, a trespasser in flora

that once nurtured monarchs and bees.

Wisdom of soils and seedlings,

now crumbles to dust.

Once a bounty of bliss, now wild bramble

on depleted soil.

Her secret garden.

399D6FDE-945B-480F-8C5E-27F0EA426F3B

©2020 Barbara Harris Leonhard (Revision of The Garden of Thoughts)

extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com

meelosmom@podbean.com (Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul)

Images: my end of summer garden

Revised from A Garden of Thoughts

Audio · Healing · My Mother · Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry · Podcasts · Poem · Poetry · Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul

Grace

This poem is included in an article I wrote for Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry (https://phoebemd.com/2020/03/21/grief-healing-through-poetry/).

The article is based on my poetry podcast Grief: Fire and Ice (https://meelosmom.podbean.com/e/grief-fire-and-ice/).

Grace

the leaves have fallen and stomped to dust

I am laid bare, exposed to wind

my limbs, brittle, still pleading

for a meal of sun

some days too short for food

nests lay bare as squirrels forage

the wind cools me to my roots

I am glass

holding on to my reflections

lest they be lost to twilight

Grace clothes me in a gown

meant for a bride embracing her heart

this pure finery sparkles as diamonds

on my icy bough

I rest with the Angel of Mercy

 

©2019 Barbara Harris Leonhard

extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com

meelosmom@podbean.com (Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul)

Image: my yard

 

Healing · My Mother · Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry · Poetry · Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul · Prose · Publication · Writing

Grief: Healing Through Poetry — Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry

By Barbara Leonhard [This is the third segment of a 3-part series on Grief and Loss. To read the previous post, click here.] I processed grief over Mom’s struggle with Alzheimer’s through poetry writing. The fact that caregivers—such as myself and many other poets—can relieve grief through poetry supports my belief that poetry is both the […]

via Grief: Healing Through Poetry — Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry

©Barbara Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog; meelosmom.podbean.com

Audio · Healing · My Mother · Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry · Podcasts · Poem · Poetry · Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul · Prose · Publication · Writing

Alzheimer’s: Grieving the Loss of My Mother

Phoebemd.com has published the second part of my article on my mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s. You can access Part 1 via the link provided before the article starts.
These installments are based on my poetry podcast on this topic.
https://meelosmom.podbean.com/e/grief-fire-and-ice/
Please like, share, and follow. Others with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s may benefit from the information.

 

Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry

By Barbara Leonhard

[This is the second segment of a 3-part series on Grief and Alzheimer’s. To read the first post, click here.]


As a way to examine grief and loss, I will share my story of the loss of my mother to Alzheimer’s, one of the most devastating forms of dementia.

What is Alzheimer’s?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Disease is a dementia caused by the building up of plaques—deposits of protein fragments that create spaces between neurons (nerve cells)—as well as tau tangles inside the cells of the brain itself.

View original post 1,538 more words

Audio · Healing · My Mother · Podcasts · Poetry · Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul · Prose · Publication · Writing

Poetry Podcast on Grief: Fire and Ice

I have another episode up on my Podbean podcast, Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul.

This podcast episode is about grief and in particular, my grief over my mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s. I describe grief and the havoc Alzheimer’s wreaks on its victims, especially Mom. In addition to my poems, I include a poem by Robert Frost and another by Walter Bargen, Missouri’s first Poet Laureate, appointed in 2008.

Thank you for listening! This podcast is around 40 minutes.

https://meelosmom.podbean.com

©Podcast, Barbara Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

©Walter Bargen’s poem, “Migration” is from his book of poetry My Other Mother’s Red Mercedes (2018, Lamar University Literary Press)

Robert Frost reading “Nothing Gold Can Stay” https://www.modernamericanpoetry.org/video/robert-frost-reads-nothing-gold-can-stay

See also, Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”, Poetry Foundation

Image and Music: “Fire and Ice”, original tune ©Dierik Leonhard, Ironweed Bluegrass Band, found at ironweedbluegrass.com

Audio · My Mother · Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry · Podcasts · Poem · Poetry · Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul

Picking Blueberries with Mom

This poem is hyperlinked to an article I wrote for Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry (https://phoebemd.com/2020/03/21/grief-healing-through-poetry/). The article is based on my poetry podcast Grief: Fire and Ice (https://meelosmom.podbean.com/e/grief-fire-and-ice/).

Picking Blueberries with Mom

On hot summer Michigan days,

Mom loved picking wild blueberries.

We would be on that promised trip to the beach of Lake Superior

When suddenly our plans would change

At the sight of wild patches of blueberries

In a meadow drenched in searing sun.

We would leave the car by the dusty road and

Barrel out for her sake to scatter in the patches.

Truthfully, berry picking was not my love.

I thought we were heading one place

Only to be sidetracked by this venture.

Our trip to the lake, postponed.

Yet Mom took to the field like a young girl,

Her smock stained blue and her lips made ready

For purple kisses.

While I kept watch on the tree lines for hungry bears,

She lost herself in the foraging, requiring us to gather

What we could in our shirts.

My back ached as I did this work, and

I impatiently waited to be on our way

To seek some relief in cool lake water

Away from bees, mosquitoes and flies.

Yet Mom looked rejuvenated by her adventure.

She sang as she picked, her tunes resounding as prayers.

I didn’t realize blueberries were regenerative,

Bringing forth blessings and eternal optimism our way.

Mom was radiant as she harvested this bounty,

As though recapturing the time when

Her mother took her to her first blueberry patch,

Where she learned a way to halt time

And sing in meadows.

 

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog,
My poetry podcast, https://meelosmom.podbean.com (Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul)

 

Image: pixabay.com

 

Audio · Healing · My Mother · Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry · Podcasts · Poem · Poetry

Grace


This poem is included in an article I wrote for Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry (https://phoebemd.com/2020/03/21/grief-healing-through-poetry/). The article is based on my poetry podcast Grief: Fire and Ice (https://meelosmom.podbean.com/e/grief-fire-and-ice/).

Grace

the leaves have fallen and stomped to dust

I am laid bare, exposed to wind

my limbs, brittle, still pleading

for a meal of sun

some days too short for food

nests lay bare as squirrels forage

the wind cools me to my roots

I am glass

holding on to my reflections

lest they be lost to twilight yet

Grace clothes me in a gown

meant for a bride embracing her heart

this pure finery sparkles as diamonds

on my icy bough as

I rest with the Angel of Mercy

 

©2019 Barbara Harris Leonhard

extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com

meelosmom@podbean.com (Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul)

Image: my yard

 

Digital Art · My Mother · Original Digital Art · Poem · Poetry

This, a River

This, a River

This, a river,

I am not lines but curves

Winding around sand bars

Creating islands 

Revealed in low tide

My current pulses life

Tadpoles, carp, algae

I smile in light

Shimmering reflections

I draw in birds to feed

I am poetry for travelers 

On barges

I hold kayaks as toys

To capture in my eddies

This, a river,

My legs flutter waves

Swimming to create

This flow

My arms formed from rivulets

Guiding this charge of current 

Gravity’s way

My power carving out

My face

I shape Mother

As she wishes 

I clean up her storms 

The overwhelming swells

Of branches and trash

Dissolve into me and my banks

I do her work

Feeding her life 

Dispersing its bones and teeth

For children to seek as treasure

This, a river,

Can hold you

Transport you

Can gather you into me

Into my dark

My hungry fury

Beneath my churning 

My currents are scars

That run as bottomless incisions

Into crust

My age is Earth

Study me

Learn me

My mystery is beauty

My myth is enigma

My abyss is danger

This, a river,

What made me

Our Mother 

Her tears washing away our history

Revealing our present

She is in the sun 

Warming our life span

Reflected into my ocean

My soul of 

Beds and banks

Flora and fauna

My aura is your atmosphere

My depths are your cosmos

Mother’s grief can nourish or drown, but

This, a river, 

Cannot cry.

©Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.com

Image “This, a River” digital art ©Martha Harris See Martha’s Artistic Flarings @artisticflarings.blog

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

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