Healing · Poem · Poetry · Reiki

Manifest Love!

Manifest Love!

Fear is deforming;

Love is transforming.

To change your view,

Change your eyes.

When one heart changes,

So do all.

Empower Soul;

Empower Love!

Copyright© Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com

Image: pinterest


Poem · Poetry

Abandoned Eyes

Abandoned Eyes

Eyes are wise.

With lids open to view,

They deepen light into truth

And soul into song.


Eyes hold memories

In colors that blaze from rainbows,

Where owls take flight

Before morning dawn.


Eyes have will

For those who choose.

Eyes portend

For those awake.

Eyes are tutors in all realms

For those who seek.


Eyes view outward and inward,

For inner sight takes the journey

Of the Blind Swordsman

Into realms of tangled woods

And sculpted caverns,

Sanctuaries of sages there to teach.


Inner sight echoes outer sight

In collages and montages

Of memories snapped

In fleeting gazes or

Focused convergence of

Light rays on the soul.


Light is tincture,

The pigment of self.

The eyes open to a vast museum

Of your art, and

Your themes are held in

Your inner sight.


Outer sight is voluntary;

Inner sight is willed.

These eyes can be abandoned

By those surrendering to slumber,

Knowing not that the light

Is the beacon to the heart,

Guiding the seeker

To self and soul.


The world is not just

That before you.

Your eyes are funnels

Drawing light into your heaven.

Where outer meets inner

Is creation blazing.

Light converges with light in spirals,

Drawing you deeper and deeper

Into your being.


Vision is a vortex,

Outer truth swirling

Into inner knowing

In another dimension

Which is your empyrean.


Outer vision opens to life

And closes to death.

Inner vision closes to life

And opens to death.

Be now a seer

Without abandon.


Copyright© 2018/02/24 Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordianrysunshineweaver.wordpress.com


Image: https://pixabay.com/en/face-spiral-eye-stone-structure-2212070/










Honors · Poem · Poetry

Becoming a Barista Favorite

February 12th was the first Promote Yourself Monday at Go Dog Go Cafe. We would like to share the Barista Favorite with all of you, written by Barbara Harris Leonhard at Extraordinary Sunshine Weaver. My body was a cage With only eyes for doors. My arms, contorted, Like branches twisted in shadows. Voices, hollow sounds, Called […]

via Barista Favorite: Hope Was Not a Loss/Barbara Harris Leonhard — Go Dog Go Café

Poem · Poetry

The Sea Tree

The Sea Tree

With trepidation, I set off

Through the fierce waves

That clash around my feet.

I feel uprooted from

Such a long journey.


The salty broth sweeps me

Along the green wetness;

Misty are my memories

Tossed behind

Like dead leaves,

Those other days.


And now I am gone

Not as I began, deceiving truth,

But seeking it

And fearing it, hidden there

In the darkness of a heavy shadow

Of an old tree along the shore

Of this vast sea,


The shore that holds me.


To turn back would be a lie;

To claim what once was

As what is, or

To claim that what is not

Is truth,

Is a lie.

I hate it.


My limbs feel long and strong

Yet worn, like bark torn and shredded.

On this sea journey.

I run to what?

The shore?

A dot it is, a bigger dot,

A continent.

I see it, I seek it,

I fear it, for

There awaits the darkness,

Unnamed yet vivid

With some gloomy promise.

A promise? A fate?

It waits.


I see it now, but

Not before the journey

Did I care

What fate is or was or

Will be.

I was a child then,

Bathing in a vast

Bubble bath sea,

My ship of ivory

Floating with me.

I carved it myself.

The best shape, broad, Spartan,



I had many battles that conquered

The foam and dirt

On my dusty skin, but I

Was never really clean afterwards.

I did not care to be clean.

No warrior dies without blood

In his nails.

I only cared

That my ship floated

And did not melt

In the hot water.


It is all a dream now,

Those times,

Those sunny times

Under the mint-green leaves

Of summer light.

But even then,

There were shadows.


To the shadows I was drawn

By humming bees

And chanting crickets.

I loved the sounds,

Sounds like no other.

I was there.

And there I went for good deeds,

I thought,

To step on the tiny ants,

Black, and shiny, and ugly,

To make them crawl

Towards my impending foot.

I loved the shadows for that

And the belief my sport was


I was Someone

To contend with.


The sun seems hot now,

As it did then.

To wait for the deep shade

On that looming shore.

The waves sway me

To that beach of tall trees

And hidden trees

In a deeper, thicker, blacker heart,

To myself.


It is still there

I can see it now,

Black and still.


Always black is my mind

Inside, and deep is

The stillness within.

But it stirs with the shore noises.

Deeper and deeper it stirs,

Warning me, yet

Engulfing me and twisting me

As the sea is.

Away from the sunlit fields

And trees that were once

In the meadow of life,

A dream in time.


It is all a dream.

So deeply I dream in the blackness,

A dream that is a dream –

I hope is a dream –

But it stirs so real now,

As real as the chanting crickets.

And so fearful

But so inevitable,

It stirs with the beat of my heart –

The dream, the sound,

The truth of it.

It stirs.


I am alone, yes.

I should be alone,

And the shore is near.

I feel old;

I feel as old as life is.

I feel I want the shore

To be under my feet,

To be my roots.


And here it is.

The waves have slapped me

Onto the shore.

I look for the ship,

But it is gone.

I think when I see

That thick, humming veil of blackness,

Of my times in the meadow

When I crossed the shady paths

And killed

Those tiny creatures,

Those black, helpless creatures.

I stepped on them and squashed

Those tiny lives.

Oh the horror I would feel now

If I had killed the chanting crickets,

As well!


Deep into the darkness, I walk

From the shade to the darkest deep;

The beat of my heart stops

As the sea roar never will.



This poem was written years ago in response to Heart of Darkness. This poem can be applied not only to Marlow and Kurtz but to all humanity because all of us confront that final darkness, the death of our ego, and have to come to terms with our deeds. The sea in this poem is life beginning and ending for this man, and yet, it is never ending.

The image of the tree is the man who is growing from an innocent boy, to an imperialistic youth, to an old man, who is facing truth. The shore holds the enchantment of evil, the seducer, and of the inevitability of a long-awaited death. The death is not just physical but spiritual with the realization that violence and domination are not justified. The speaker knows what awaits him and surrenders.

The root of any suffering is ego, which is the Shadow Companion that puts this man on a pedestal and deceives him into thinking that power and self-esteem are gained by oppression and brutality.  Facing this shoreline, the confronts his ego and must come to terms with his life choices. In this sense, his death brings anguish and grief, not salvation.

Copyright© 2018/02/12 Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com





Image: https://pixabay.com/en/m%C3%B3n-sun-sunny-nature-blue-lake-2366603/











Healing · Poetry · Reiki

Hope Was Not a Loss

This poem describes how I felt when I was paralyzed with measles encephalitis at the age of 6 going on 7. I could neither walk nor speak intelligibly. My arms and fingers were contracted. This time was very frightening. I went into a coma for a period of time. Though I awoke able to speak, I was still unable to walk, facing life in wheelchair since I was told there was no hope. I was only able to watch others play outside. Lonely, vulnerable, and scared, I made a conscious decision to walk again. I taught myself while my parents were out of town at the time. This poem describes my inner world and decision to heal. This picture is of me around that age.


Hope was Not a Loss

My body was a cage

With only eyes for doors.

My arms, contorted,

Like branches twisted in shadows.

Voices, hollow sounds,

Called from the dinner table, but

My legs, dead trunks,

Held me to a bed

With a view to other children.

How they danced,

Like pansies and violets,

Their blooms outstretched,

Gathering rays for Grace

But not for the night of storm

Clashing in my bones.


My lips held back the truth.

My cries were muffled in my throat.

Each wail, the language of stones

Falling on deaf ears.

Mother spoke the tunes of clouds.

Her words carried her young to the stars,

Not to the dead rocks lining

The bed of flowers

That could be me.


Rocks and earth held down

This young one with muted cries.

I’m still here.

In here.

Don’t forget the light inside this bud

Afflicted with blight.

How I want to burst out of

This stiff casing

To stretch my arms and fingers

Like tiny leaves unfolding in dawn.

I am stuck in mud,

Too dense for birth;

Too turbid for food.

No gardener is churning the soil

To give me air.

I am buried under new blooms

Dressed in violet and pink swaddling,

Dancing on my grave and beckoning,

 “Come and play; the day is divine.”


And so, I clawed my way

Out of the stiff core,

Muck and stone,

And peered into light

Blinding my infant eyes.

My arms and fingers unfolded

Into new green.

My tiny legs stretched into roots

Holding my core as it danced

In breezes carrying buoyant rays

Like waves hitting my face.


Is birth a choice?

Or is Spirit’s breath

Irascible in creation?

Can a flower remain a seed forever?

Or does it cast its casing aside

In a mighty battle

To forage life.

The seed knows choice;

Its soul has Will.

For some, the earth’s bed is always home.

For this one, hope was not a loss.

Copyright© 2018/02/10 Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com


Image: https://pixabay.com/en/wild-flowers-stone-the-scenery-2623636/




Essays · Poem · Poetry

Memorizing Poems: The Poet as Storyteller

Memorizing Poems: The Poet as Storyteller

Those of you following my blog know that I record audio of my poems. The audio is sometimes rough (too monotone) I think, so I am getting voice coaching. Indeed, I learned that I may be trying to get too technical in my delivery. My voice coach, who is the lead singer in Ironweed Bluegrass Band, Swampweed (a Cajun Band), and Pigweed (a country band) encourages storytelling and not just the technical reading of a poem or expression of a song. She has said more than once that story telling is a major responsibility of both singers and writers. Telling good stories, whether they be songs or poems, requires several techniques.

For one, memorizing a poem will help me ‘breathe’ the poem better. She recommended I repeat the poem while pacing and moving around. Moreover, it is more powerful to read aloud while standing than sitting to open up the airways. I have found there is more opportunity to use body language to emphasize points while standing.

In this process of learning how to be a storyteller, I am encouraged to find words with emotive power and to emphasize them. Which words convey the story? I am also becoming more aware of the use of sounds and the stretching some syllables to emphasize key elements in the poem. For example, I plan to stretch out the words “somewhere” and “blindly” to emphasize the storyteller’s dismay and anguish at misplacing something important.

Another factor is pausing. I’m a poet who uses commas, periods, and other punctuation to set off thought groups. Without these marks, I’m not sure where to pause. In fact, breathing correctly depends on knowing where to pause. Pausing also conveys meaning, I find that by changing pauses, even when writing a poem much less reading one out loud, the interpretation changes. If the interpretation changes, so does the story. Why is that so?

The period is our strongest pause in English. We use it to end sentences or to take a long pause in breathing. That’s followed by the semi-colon (;), the colon (:), and then the comma (,). The comma is the weakest pause and the shortest breath. Altering these marks can change the meaning of an utterance. Take these simple examples.

What’s for dinner, Grandma?    (Grandma, we’re hungry. What’s for dinner?)

What’s for dinner? Grandma?    (Yuck! We don’t want to eat Grandma!)

Lets eat, kids.    (OK, children, it’s time to eat.)

Let’s eat kids.   (Yuck! What a horrible idea!)

In addition to considering pausing, I am considering intonation, the rising (/) and falling (\) of my voice. Intonation is as important as pausing in the oral delivery of a good story. The following example shows how changing punctuation can alter meaning.

What’s up the road? (\) A head? (/)   (Is that a HEAD I see on the road? Let’s not drive over it!)

What’s up the road ahead? (\)    (I can’t tell what that is on the road. Maybe I should slow down.)

Although the featured poem asks many questions, I may avoid the rising intonation that goes with yes/ no inquiries. I think the falling intonation may add more depth to the interpretation of the poem. Maybe the storyteller has misplaced many things routinely and is tired out from it. Possibly the storyteller is guilty of all those actions. On the other hand, using the rising intonation may show the storyteller’s anxiety about misplacing something important. Maybe she is searching for any excuse for this mistake.

Jane also encourages me to mark up the poem as much as I want to study the words and syllables that I want to emphasize. So I formatted the featured poem with more spacing as reminders to pause and to allow for a stronger delivery.  I also indicated which syllables to strengthen. Since I’m a visual learner, I drew doodles to help me recall the lines (See the featured image).

I managed to memorize the poem in just one day with her advice. I haven’t redone the audio yet but will soon. I’m still working on the final delivery. I am playing with all these tools like they are new toys, and I have discovered that making audio of a poem is like singing a song. Every mark is a note, and every word makes the story.

Here is the original, un-illustrated poem:

Somewhere Blindly

Somewhere blindly

I misplaced you.

Was I asleep in my tea?

Was I meandering on a twisted forest path

Of past life contemplations?

Was I hanging off a headline

Or falling off the edge of the Internet,

The dot in com,

Mesmerized by pixels and bytes?

Did I lapse you into a bed

Of forget-me-nots

By the Sea of Forgetting

On a beach of lost marbles?

Poem and Image: Copyright 2017 (See archive July 4, 2017) Barbara Harris Leonhard at extraordinarysunshineweaver@wordpress.com

My voice coach, Jane Accurso, and the website showing her many bands. The man with the banjo is my husband, Dierik Leonhard. He and Jane are the backbone in the three bands.


See also these books by Mary Oliver, A Poetry Handbook and Rules for the Dance



Audio · Poetry · Prose · Voices from the Veil

Streaming Prayers into Birth

Streaming Prayers into Birth

Sitting at the altar waiting for poems,

Random thoughts; fleeting clouds,

Images reflecting on the mirror of the soul,

Words perched on limbs of inspired trees

Take flight as snow kicks up from breeze.

May they stay; their song, my meter!

Ice freezes their tunes in the thin air of the breath.

Limbs crack in frost under tired sun.

Stillness is ice burning the skin.

The mind is numb till spring thaw.

The altar beckons; the soul fights sleep

In sheer white light,

Where I wander, seeking novas

Streaming prayers into birth.


Copyright© 2018/01/16 Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com

Image: Pixabay.com