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 · 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

 

Bagua · Poem · Poetry · Tai Chi

Uphill on Walnuts with a Weak Leg

Walking the Bagua circle,

I move like a snake 

Slithering on patchy grass

Or a path etched by other warriors

On dry soil, as they are

Space holders and guardians

Of the world in this vortex,

This circle of yin and yang.

But uphill

On walnuts

With a weak leg, 

I stumble.

Why can’t –

This way –

Be easier!

Why can’t it be smoother!

The walnuts underfoot are like boulders

Throwing me off the path.

I step forward, and

Grip the soil with all my weight

On that leg.

I bring up the back foot

Without it leaving the ground,

The toes turned in

To throw off my opponent with

No lifting of the toes or heel.

This is to be a surprise attack,

My snake step is to be swift

And smooth,

Securing my position in battle

As I throw the offender

Off balance into the tree.

Unless –

I am going uphill –

On walnuts-

with a weak leg.

Is this how it always is

For the aging warrior –

The bramble,

The rocky soil,

The clumps of weeds,

The dips and potholes –

My true opponents,

grabbing me and throwing me

Off balance to the ground?

No one can hear my stealthy step

But for the sound of my grinding hip!

Can I expect the way to battle

To be paved asphalt or even

Polished wood? 

That is no way to train

Regardless of age.

The snake knows how to

Maneuver uphill on walnuts

And isn’t concerned about 

An old weak leg.

 

(My teacher, Dan Miller, consoled me with his humor one day. No matter how well we cleared away the walnuts and obstacles on the Bagua circle, I felt challenged on my path. So he helped me laugh by saying, ‘uphill on walnuts on a weak leg’.)

Image Wording and Poem: ©Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.com

Image: Sun Lutang

Audio · Ekphrastic Poetry · Poem · Poetry

Sleep Sit

Sleep Sit

Fields of rice

Beating sun heat

Hands for hoes

Dry dirt for shoes

Meals over fires

Water to haul

On bent back

In a land with no shade

Bits of life

Carved into the skin as

Canyons and dried rivers

Crossing each other or

Stitches of the days

Woven like a rug for prayer

And held in two hands

With the rising moon

Of slumbering eyes

 

Copyright© 2017/11/10 Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com

Image: by ThuyHaBich©    https://pixabay.com/en/portrait-sleep-sit-2870659/

 

 

Audio · Ekphrastic Poetry · My Mother · Poem · Poetry

New Audio: Mother, Great Pine

Mother, Great Pine,

Stretching in her years.

Needles springing from craggy trunk

In need of water.

Branches reaching for cloud mist.

Perches for birds with nests

Gathered in crevices hidden by owls.

Her hair of needles

Cracks in Sun’s heat

And breaks in Sun’s breath.

Her roots dig into springs

Dried to stain on parched sand,

Blown to rock in forgotten forests,

Where memories remain.

Mother, Great Pine,

Life marks its initials

On tattered bark

Dressing her soul.

Her shadow marks a path

For Time to travel

Dawn to dusk

Without fail.

 

Copyright © 2017 Barbara Harris Leonhard

Image: https://www.google.com/search

pine-tree-e1334339816520

 

 

 

Audio · Poem · Poetry

Grief

Grief is ice.
Anger is fire.
Fear is boiling oil.

Aging is a slow death.
Feeling outmoded.
Feeling regretful.
Feeling guilty.
Feeling fearful.

Maybe it doesn’t matter.
Why do I care;
Who cares.
I ask for clarity and energy.

What matters is you.
Just be happy.
These are mole hills, not mountains.
Can’t bring back love.
Can’t fix everything.
Can’t outdo.
Can’t worry about recognition.
Can’t worry about inequity.
It’s not important.
It’s their blindness.
Just be grateful.

What makes me angry?
Am I letting go of the past?

Another shell breaks open for new life.
Growth emerges after fire.

I recall in times of despair, they said, why aren’t you angry?
I held it in selfishly. I couldn’t speak or cry out.
Why would it matter. Really.
If I shouted and screamed.
As much as I tried, I couldn’t.

I beg, please lift this darkness.
There’s too much to do other than what I’m supposed to do.
There’s too much loss with more on the way.
Is this life? Am I wrong to be concerned?
I’m angry and sad.
I’m ready to let go of it. But how?
It doesn’t end.

You counted the Mala beads.
This is a process. Just be patient. You did ask for this.
Seeking forgiveness in all lifetimes
Seeking gratitude in all lifetimes
Letting go of anger in all lifetimes
Healing curses in all lifetimes
Curing pain in all lifetimes
Seeking grace in all lifetimes
These are all gifts
Not burdens.
You chose to release the shadows.

It’s searing
Like the sun is inside of me
A blazing fire
I scream to the deaf.

It’s a cleansing
With the Light.
And so it is.

 

Copyright © 2017 Barbara Harris Leonhard

Image: Kingdom of Sorrow  http://szydlak.deviantart.com/art/Kingdom-of-Sorrow-390145418

69ADC99D-B4C2-4ABF-ACFC-65F128E00837-1256-00000128E982ABA1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio · Ekphrastic Poetry · My Mother · Poem · Poetry

Mother, Great Pine

Mother, Great Pine,

Stretching in her years.

Needles springing from craggy trunk

In need of water.

Branches reaching for cloud mist.

Perches for birds with nests

Gathered in crevices hidden by owls.

Her hair of needles

Cracks in Sun’s heat

And breaks in Sun’s breath.

Her roots dig into springs

Dried to stain on parched sand,

Blown to rock in forgotten forests,

Where memories remain.

Mother, Great Pine,

Life marks its initials

On tattered bark

Dressing her soul.

Her shadow marks a path

For Time to travel

Dawn to dusk

Without fail.

 

Copyright © 2017 Barbara Harris Leonhard

Image: https://www.google.com/search

pine-tree-e1334339816520