Healing · Neurographica Art · Poem · The Wombwell Rainbow

Not Alone

Not Alone

Loneliness
an illusion –
we’re always connected
by threads of light
dreamt and drawn –
this webbing cradles
our minds
our hearts
our souls
like bones
that form a whole –
we’re not alone –
if only we can see
our connections in time
and space
without squinting.

My poem and drawing are also up on The Wombwell Rainbow today, May 12, 2022. Paul Brookes offers a beautiful venue celebrating and honoring good causes. I met him in Twitter through Lynne Jensen Lampe, and we both enjoyed his poem-a-day challenge during poetry month this year. at times, it was a challenge! However, now I have a bundle of poems! Check out poets’ responses here –
https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2022/05/12/mentalhealthawarenessweek-9th-15th-may-this-years-theme-is-loneliness-day-four-please-join-rachel-deering-barbara-leonhard-sue-finch-dana-clark-millar-cy-forrest-pe

Neurographica is a fairly new form of art therapy. You can learn about it here – https://neurographicacademy.com/.

I’m currently taking the Basic User Course. I haven’t been able to stop drawing since I discovered Neurographica in April. I found many free videos on YouTube but decided to learn about the history, principles, and techniques with an instructor.

I feel transformed by this art therapy. I completed a 21-day transformation challenge on my anxiety and feel much calmer and lighter. My energy of worry is now a creative force. As you can see, I’m starting to combine the art with my poetry. I’m now completing a gratitude challenge, which will heal anger, the top layer of all suppressed emotions.

I can’t heal the world, only myself. If each of us heals ourselves, then we can have peace on earth.

Copyright Barbara Leonhard

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The poem is from my as yet unpublished poetic memoir of me and my mother, who had Alzheimer’s. I was her main caregiver.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

Healing · Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry · Poem · Publication

Bene [a poem] — PhoebeMD: Medicine + Poetry

By Barbara Leonhard | Featured Contributor A note to encourage you in these challenging times. May you walk through the new year with grace and ease. 232 more words

Bene [a poem] — PhoebeMD: Medicine + Poetry

Thank you, Phoebe, for helping me share this blessing. This poem grew out of notes I sent out this year to family and friends.

♥️ May we all support one another in these uncertain times. ♥️

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.

Ekphrastic Poetry · Poem · Poetry · Writing

New Year’s Blessing

The year 2021 has slipped into history,

the bright spots and shadows all melted away.

I see 2022 shaping up into something magical.

Different from any year. New, perfect, stunning in its design.

Magical, distinctive, one of a kind.

It will be fast, like this year, but every moment sublime.

We must hope for its sacred perfection,

the integrity of its design, cast at this moment to dream.

It will be what we dream.


Happy New Year, everyone!
May your new year be joyous, safe, healthy, magnificent!

(Photo, pixabay.com)

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

Honors · Memoir · Poem · Publication · Recognition/ Honor · Spillwords · Writing

An Honor

My poem Cooking a Life with a Wire Spine has been nominated for Publication of the Month at Spillwords Press. People can vote for the poem by clicking on the link. You may have to register for free to vote. Thank you!! 🙏🙏🙏

Update: My poem didn’t make Publication of the Month. Maybe another time! 🍾🍾🍾

Memoir · My Mother · Poem · Publication · Spillwords

Cooking a Life with a Wire Spine – New Publication

Today, as a FEATURED post, Spillwords Press published a memoir poem I wrote about me and my mother. I’m so excited. Thank you, Spillwords!

https://spillwords.com/cooking-a-life-with-a-wire-spine/

This poem is one of 63 poems in my first poetry collection, a poetic memoir of my mother and me. More to come on that!

Dark Poets Club · Healing · Poem · Publication

New Publication!

I received a nice surprise today, another poem up with Dark Poets Club (England). They are generous and accept poems from your blog, in case you are interested. So some of you may recognize this poem. Also, I like them because the small submission fee is donated to mental health causes.

https://www.darkpoets.club/post/the-unwelcome-tenant