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.

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©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

Poem · Poetry

A Fine Coat

Grief is a tailor.

Each garment made to suit,

buttons attached each year,

hems altered,

seams made strong by

threads of time,

pockets lined with truth.

 

Grief takes threads of every color

in and out.

Rage-red borders blend

flecks of gold.

It makes a fine coat

so soft to the touch.

 

How surprising.

This linen is a close friend

worn to ragged shreds,

worn to the bone.

Death is a companion

with us since birth.

 

There is no void, only Death,

swaddling us, yet

taking us little by little.

For this we grieve.

One day a babe greeting us

from the womb with tears,

and later, sharing tears for our passing.

 

We are dressed in Grief,

tailored memories of

laughter and sorrow;

joy and despair;

guilt woven into forgiveness;

grief into love.

Why do we fear?

We are comforted by this lavish coat.

 

Grief is a tailor

hired at birth

to clothe our lives,

worn to tatters with threads

left to line our souls.

 

(This poem is a revision of Grief: A Weaver, which I published on WordPress in June 2017.)

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image: Pixabay.com

Ekphrastic Poetry · Poem · Poetry

The Visitant

spooky-2693315__340

A house

that grows taller

may collapse

or be reborn,

 its brick spine

realigned,

& new colors

applied to the relic.

This house

stands rigid

in gauzy light,

an old man

using breeze

as an inhaler.

The front steps creak

under the Visitant,

bearing cerements.

The porch, a broken hip

holding up thin walls of bone,

 struggles with the sacred load.

The Visitant enters, offering vespers

 in sepulchral whispers to the reluctant

host, shrouded in brown.

Thin hallways carry away the

clutter of memories from

a heart beating slowly.

The weary drummer

laments on a forsaken

rug stained with years.

An old clock

resounds with birdsong,

announcing the hour of requiem.

Drapes close the eyes at last for

a holy sleep of languor in

the arms of the

Visitant.

 

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image: Pixabay.com

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.

barn-101273__340

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.

woman-792818__340

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.

 

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

 

 

 

Original Digital Art · Poem · Poetry · Uncategorized

Sunset

Sunset

Sun slumbering into snow dogs,

Pin oaks guarding their leaves,

Fading attachments to their caregiver,

Eyes of moon,

Skin of ash,

Cramping fingers,

Clinging to comfort with

Their refuge in bitter wind.

Leaves take to faith

Though ripped from the branches

And swept away for flight

To earthen mulch.

And beds for worms.

©2018 Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Images of Sun Dogs and Autumn Leaves: ©Dierik Leonhard

 

Healing · Original Digital Art · Poem · Poetry

Sleep Chose Me

Sleep Chose Me

Sleep chose me

To take this walk on crisp leaves

Smothered by frost.

Colors, thread bare faces,

Glassy lattice in sun,

Forming halos for owls

As shade dissolves into moonlight,

Magical stasis.

Linger here in truth,

Alone with feathers of snow

Clinging briefly to crystal,

Blazing its fire,

Sizzling in waves of storm

Like smothered sand bits

On the wild shore

Holding my footing.

The colors dim into food for forest.

I trample the earth into new stone,

Bedrock for soul,

My blossom,

With the will to live

In granite.

©2018 Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image: “Building Blocks” digital art ©2018 Martha Harris See Martha’s Artistic Flarings @artisticflarings.blog

 

 

 

Original Digital Art · Poem · Poetry

By Your Power, Death

By Your Power, Death

 

I shall not ridicule you, Death.

A vulture on prey,

You have plucked the last stale leaf

From the tree of age ended.

The sun melts now

In your liquid waves of fire.

And your bleak mist on hazy hills

Smothers the bent birch,

From which you built your vessel of doom.

 

I see the gull:

His body, dismantled and gray;

His wings, unsoaring and broken.

My heart lies crushed in the sand,

Where I weep unnoticed,

For I am the last to feel your kiss,

The last to enter your gate of cold iron.

 

By your power, Death,

I dare not ridicule you.

 

Copyright ©2018/03/28 Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com

 

Image: “Death’s Power” Digital Art ©Martha Harris See Martha’s Artistic Flarings @artisticflarings.blog

Ekphrastic Poetry · Original Digital Art · Poem · Poetry

The Willow Am I

The Willow Am I

 

Some people live in the night

While owls of the morning sleep,

And small raindrops creep in the dusk

Like birds of prey upon the dewy grass.

 

The Willow am I, punished by the hidden sun

That laughs on the edge of night

As I curse the screaming dawn

And burning dew of darkness

To find that subtle light

Embedded in my timeless searching.

 

How I panic at my failure

To touch its screen from within and without.

I will drown in its rain of sight renewed,

And my thirsty roots,

Blinded in the dark earth,

Shall drink of its golden liquid.

 

Copyright ©2018/03/23 Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com

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

 

 

 

 

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,

Somewhere,

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,

Ominous.

 

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

Redeeming.

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.

 

Commentary

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