Ekphrastic Poetry · Poem · Poetry

Summer’s End

From seedlings in spring to tall grasses in summer sun, we stand, scanning the lapping currents from our spot.

Clinging to trees, cicadas call out an endless shrill.

Water bugs mate and die while widow skimmers dance on the waves in bright light.

A turtle basks on a dead limb that’s caught in a root wad along the bank.

Your kayak floats downstream in our shadows.

As an eagle keeps watch from a lofty sycamore perch, a warm gust lifts and sways us on the shore, and we seem to wave as you pass by.

Your evening ride succumbs to rain.

The wind stirs up wakes for you to command as an Asian carp pounds into your boat.

The beaver makes it to shore before you in the storm.

The river bank is summer’s bed of sand, where you seek refuge.

In the bluster, we bear our seeds at water’s edge. They scatter like tiny, startled bees.

Our ravaged arms reach for the falling light at dusk.

The glassy river reflects our age as our colors fade.

Our stems bend as though thirsty for noon.

 

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image “Sunset on the Missouri River” ©Dierik Leonhard

 

 

 

Ekphrastic Poetry · Original Digital Art · Poem · Poetry

Woman

Woman, how you portray
your complex essence and ambiguity.

You are a study of light
cast on the walls of your Self.

Shadows border your brilliance.

Your portrait is askew with flavors
that you offer to guests
enamored by your mystery
as you gaze into obscurity.

**Won third place in a local writing competition for this poem. My sister made a special image for it for this post.**

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image: “The Charmer” digital art © Martha Harris. See Martha’s Artistic Flarings @artisticflarings.blog

Ekphrastic Poetry · Poetry · Prose · Tai Chi

The Death of a Farm

I submitted this poem to the July 2019 Ekphrastic Challenge, but it wasn’t chosen. I don’t have permission to use the image here, but you can check out Ekphrastic Challenge on Rattle.com for the exact scene. For this post, I chose some free images on pixabay to illustrate the poem.

The image in the July 2019 Rattle challenge shows a small farm with a house and trailer on the right, positioned behind a pen. In the muddy field, there are two cows. In the background to the left, you see an old silo and in the center in the background, a barn. Above the silo is a jet making a descent. The image is named: Restricted/U.S. Air Force by B.A. Van Sise from the artist’s “Elsewhere” series.

For me, the image on Rattle elicited memories of my time on a farm in Missouri. Our large family rented an old farm house for a couple of years in the early 60s.

My impression was of the passing of an era for the house, the farm, me, and even the nation.

THE DEATH OF A FARM

The house was a woman of years

refusing to sell to developers.

She still had her wringer washer

and coal-burning stoves waiting to be fed.

How she quaked with the roar of the coal filling her bins.

She ate that coal like candy.

And the ubiquitous black dust fought me each winter

as I scrubbed and scrubbed the cracked vinyl flooring

and the sills and woodwork that trimmed her bodice.

Each summer, the dust blown in from the fields

would blanket the old woman.

Her ivory dress, tattered and stained,

spoke of bygone trials and triumphs on her American soil,

where she stood her ground.

I was her caretaker in our sojourn there

as she indulged this family of nine,

who needed a roof with substantial lodging.

She complied with the courtesy of a elderly southern belle

eager for companionship as she had been lonely too long.

Her barn became a nursery for newborn kittens

and a playground for boisterous boys.

They climbed the rickety ladders to view her farm

from the highest loft overlooking the pasture

and her crop of tobacco and such.

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The crops were farmed by hired teens

who tried to scare this young girl

with gross beetle larvae from across the fence.

Wanna smoke?  They would ask me.

I was too young for them  – and busy.

I worked for the sake of the house.

I would wring out the sheets and hang them in the sun.

The laundry on the lines would whip in the wind

to the songs on American Bandstand and the current top ten.

When free from the chores,

I took to the pasture to sing and dance to my own tunes

in the fescue that nourished the livestock.

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My heart wandered in the farmland hills and the trickling creek

as I imagined my possibilities.

But one autumn day, the pasture became my refuge of tears

when I heard that President Kennedy had been shot and killed.

I ran from the kitchen to the pasture and

slumped down. My cries resounded as a death toll

in the shadow of an abandoned silo.

silo-4379756_960_720

My old friend stared with wide, hollow eyes,

As her light dimmed to still night.

The cows scattered to the sound of a jet

descending to torn earth.

 

 

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Images: Pixabay

 

 

 

Ekphrastic Poetry · Healing · Poem · Poetry

Searching

I am crying for the Amazon because the loss of animal life and the trees is devastating. This poem honors our forests, the arms of the Goddess, still reaching out to us though we forget who she is, our dear Mother Earth.

The way goes deep

into these dark woods.

Your Mag-lit blinks

as shadows splice the light.

You hold your world

bound tight on your back

with ropes strung as questions.

The burden pulls down your smile.

You are not alone.

My trunk is your spine.

My roots reach out with food

and a protected path.

My limbs will hold you

and shield you.

I am the forest;

each sapling is nourished

by my grace.

I shelter and feed travelers

who rest in the moss at my feet.

I bring rain and make you a garden.

Lay down your burdens;

give to me all that you cannot carry.

 

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image: Pixabay

Poetry · Poem · Ekphrastic Poetry

Unless We Pray

The Coyote chases prey

its fur, matted where it lay

The Clown holds court and

the law is left to sway

as though he won’t have his day

The Trickster is King

and havoc he will bring

as we succumb to lay

much like cattle down on hay

The Jackal cackles

as the Dingo takes the babes

to slay

All Hail

All Hail

There’s nothing left to say

Unless we pray that

the Chariot comes our way.

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©Barbara Harris Leonhard@extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Images: pixabay.com

Ekphrastic Poetry · Original Digital Art · Poem · Poetry · Writing

The Sound of Silence

Listening for silence

Is like living with tinnitus.

The ears ringing resounding notes.

Chicks chirping for food.

Roosters crowing their warnings.

The chorus of frogs mating.

Cicadas rejoicing

In their summer release

From years of birthing

In their earth womb.

Released, they scream their tunes

Playing their tymbals for mates. 

The sound of silence.

It is the eternal now of song. 

It is creation.

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©Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Featured Digital Image: © “Silence” Martha Harris

Martha’s other image here is “I’m Listening”.

See Martha’s Artistic Flarings@artisticflarings.blog

 

My Mother · Poem · Poetry

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

Image: pixabay.com