Rosebush

The tiny apparatus beneath my tongue,
The one that forms a phrase,
and gives me strength to speak it,
Disappeared whenever I saw him.
Words – once friends, companions,
Would flee.

His face, so striking,
It rendered me speechless.
His beauty – erased every eloquent phrase
From my memory.

And it wasn’t like he was this crazybeautifulperfection,
It’s just that
He was this crazybeautifulperfection
To me.

Just a regular guy,
Unless…
You caught him looking at you
with love in his eyes,
Or captured sparkles of amusement
Which shone from their fathomless depths.

The smile,
Dear god that smile.

White and inviting,
Broad, generous,
Shining brightly,
A crescent moon formed just for me.
Waiting for a kiss.

His laughter,
I remember the laughter.
Voice soft like velvet is soft
And when he was lost in the mirth,
He was a picture
I ached to paint.

Preserve on paper,
Keep nearby
Always…
But my skills fell short,
Fall short,
Could never…
Capture
That spontaneous image.

Flaws?
Oh yes,
He had them.
But they were the sort that every rose bush has.

Thorns come with beauty, sometimes.
But I don’t know many who forbid the rose bush a home
in their garden.

And I wanted him
In mine.

The face,
The voice,
The laughter,
The heart,
The soul.
The very fragrance of him.

I wanted to wake near him,
and live near him,
And breathe him in,
Forever.

ajp

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Evaporate

And he won’t go away
He’s under my skin
A part of my system
That will not give in.

It will not surrender
The memory of touch
The brightness of smile
That I loved so much.

I’d hoped it’d be natural
A slow dissipation
Like water from pavement
An evaporation.

Instead I’m possessed
With faithful affection
Instead of the shallow,
I have saturation.

He won’t fade away
From recesses of me
He is part of my soul now
And so shall it be.

ajp

Sunlight is Dim

Nothing is the same
Without you here.

The sunlight is dim.
The flowers smell sweet,
But I can’t breathe them in.
The days are warm now,
But I’m cold, even so.
It’s spring,
And summer waits to embrace,
But nothing is the same
Without you here.

No sparkling eyes laughing at my jokes.
No smile to add happiness to my day.
No sound of your voice.
No view of that expression on your face.

You probably didn’t know how much you mattered.
Or that your presence in a room brought it to life.
How one look from you made my thoughts scatter.
The way bees in search of honey leave the hive.

I wait.
For sun to shine again,
And water beckon.
For scent of rain to give me what I lack.
The sound of laughter during pleasant moments
Appreciation for the little things,
A heart that learns to feel again,
Acceptance of the truthful things,

The fact that you may never find your way back.

The Strongest House

When you want to run away,
But you don’t,
Because you know when you get
Wherever it is you are going,
You will still be there,

That is when you are growing.

When you look around
And evaluate the actions of others
Without allowing emotion,
Need,
Or desperation
To cloud your vision,

That is when the scales are falling from your eyes.

When you realize
That some will always choose themselves first,
And consider your heart last,
And when you allow your disbelieving mind
The permission to accept this sorrowful truth,
To absorb it into your psyche
Until it is as much a part of you
As the cells which carry life’s blood
Into your heart,

That is when you will find true discernment.

And when you choose solitude
Over a companion

who does not value your gifts
Your heart
Your soul,
Or the Midas Touch within your fingers
To turn dull things to gold,

You will have found it.
You will have found the solid rock
Upon which to build your house.

And it won’t matter
How many wolves come
To huff
And to puff
And to blow your house down.

It
will
not
budge. ♡

Because you used the best materials
The thickest mortar
The sturdiest bricks
And no one
Will ever
Be able
To
Hurt you
(Like the others did)
Again.

You discovered
The value
Of
Your self.

– leah

Stormy Weather

When I was young, maybe 18, I stood on top of a hill in Manchester, MI, and watched a summer storm come in.

I stood in the rain and wind until my aunt made me come into the house for threat of lightning.

It was thrilling and scary.
I felt so small
And so ALIVE.

After a more recent rainstorm,
I was thinking about how affected the earth was.

The atmosphere was soft with a warm rosy glow.
The leaves on every tree, saturated.
The calm was thick,
And the surface of the world felt clean.

Rinsed,
Helpless to do anything but yield the power of the force that swept over its form.

It reminded me of lovemaking.

The slow beginning,
the softness of the rain’s caress,
Followed by increased intensity,
Thunder, lightning, passionate winds.

The earth, like a woman’s form yielding,
Gladly,
Gratefully,
Receiving,
Much needed attention.
Her body’s thirst, quenched
Every rosebush, lilac, tree.

Then, things grow quiet,
Thunder is distant,
Hushed.

There is peace,
Calm,
And evidence of something having left its mark on the world.
Like a woman’s world.
Now altered,
By her lover.

I wrote this poem of a woman standing in the rain.

The poem does not convey my experience on the day that I stood in the rain as well as I’d like.
Nor does it convey the depth of beauty in being loved by a thoughtful and a giving man.

But it came from the soul.

So I share it here,
Even though it isn’t Poetry Tuesday.
😉

STORM

I can see it coming,
Smell it in the air,
Feel the breeze on my face
Change to wind in my hair.

Soft rain
kisses my arms
Causing goose bumps.
Tenderness.

Wind moving over and around me,
Powerfully,
I welcome
Each caress.

Now thunder,
Darkness,
Lightning,
I endure it all,
Yielding,
The recipient
Of torrential rainfall.

Unafraid.

Storm reaches crescendo
And begins to quiet down.
I linger,
Listening hard,
For the sound
Of Thunder
Rumbling,
Softly now,
Filling distant corners of the sky.

I shiver.
I am drenched.
Sated,
*sigh…

Exhilarating thing,
The way a storm moves in
Captivating one
With power, light, and noise,
Possessing late night hour
With its presence, touch,
And voice.

Leaving the impressions
Of its moments on my form,
Raindrops on my lips, hair, skin.
Establishing its memory
Next to yours
Deep within.

Feet on pavement
turn toward home.
My mind, toward you.
The way you love me –

Exquisitely,
Thoughtfully.
Powerfully,
Thoroughly.

Darling,
You are storm,
too.

ajp
1/2016

Win their heart.

When I compare the woman I am today with the woman I was when I was young, I grieve.
Young me was downright mean at times.
I’m sorry for those days.
Life has a way of teaching us what matters.
Who matters.

You sit on the couch, involved in a heated argument, and your mouth is full of words that are just as effective as bullets.
You know they will destroy.
Rip, tear, wound the psyche of your opponent.
Make them bleed.
No, not bleed, hemorrhage.

In the past I would open my mouth.
Today, I swallow the words and respond slowly.

98% of the time. ♡

Young women today…
I caution you.
Choose words carefully,
Use them rarely,
And choose silence frequently,
Rather than blurt out a sharp retort.

You may win a battle,
But the bloody aftermath you find yourself mopping up,
Removes the thrill of victory.

The only victory,
The true triumph,
Is to win, not an argument,
But the very heart of the one with whom you are arguing.

– Leah

Coals in my Stocking

This holiday season was blessed.

I had a warm glow in my heart nearly every single day.
Nothing could extinguish the joy.
Tiny coals were glowing in the ashes of my heart.

Unexpected gifts,
Tiny mementos
found their way into my home and into my hands.

A bear that my cousin gave my daughter in bags of extra Christmas decorations.

image
Bartholomew

When Sonja saw him, she told Kelly it was made by hand, and that I was partial to them since I, too, made bears by hand.
They both decided to give him to me.

He rode around in the car with me for a while because I do silly things like that.

I would pick him up and stare into his black glittering eyes from time to time, (I have a thing for black glittering eyes – on one person, anyway) and I’d ask myself what this bear’s name was going to be.

I eventually brought him into the house
And have named him Bartholomew.

Another memento, this Santa charm my eldest son gave to me.

image
Santa!

It sits on my wrist among the others, but right beside this snowman, the first charm my children bought me.
The first charm I ever owned.

I wear my son’s regard for me on my wrist just as I harbor our relationship safely within my heart.

And then,
This fountain pen and vial of ink.

image
Exquisite thing.

Not necessarily a Christmas gift, they are certainly gifts that found their way to my home during this holy season.

Bestowed by a respected friend, they are exhibits which point to his understanding in regards to how I feel about writing,
how vital it is for us to record what is invisible to mankind (thoughts and emotions) through the simple mediums of pen and ink.

It is a cherished thing.
Filling its reservoir with inky fluid that stains my fingertips gives me a peculiar satisfaction which I have no words for.
Touching the tip to paper and leaving my mark, strangely fulfilling.

Lastly, this message that came in the first Christmas card of the season.

image
Thoughtfulness.

This brings us back to what I tried to express when I began this blog entry.

This season brought a joy to me that no man could extinguish.
The love of God.
The love of family.
The love of friends.

Gratitude sincerely felt,
For each of those things,
And for tomorrows hoped for
Even though they are not guaranteed.

The four mementos represent thoughtfulness.
But more than that,
They represent affection put into action to create something one can touch.

When Doubt would whisper in my ear his negative unhappy words,
I can reach out and touch these symbols and say to him,
“To someone
I am valuable.
And they did something to make sure I knew it.”

As for you,
Dear Reader,
I wish you joy, the whole year through.
But more than that,
I wish you Love.

I wish you
Coals in your stocking.

Merry Christmas
And Happy New Year!

– leah

I am no bird. No net ensnares me.

This may be one of my favorite quotes in the world.
And it’s so hard to choose just one.

Being in a very authoritarian marriage, where our church preached something called “Spiritual Authority”, a concept backed up by many biblical scriptures,
A woman was to submit to her husband whenever there was an impasse in decision making.

Example, (a benign one)
Man wants to spend 100$ on item A.
Woman wants to spend 100$ on item B.
Conflict.
Man pulls submission card.
The end.

Maybe the woman’s choice was for the family instead of herself.
Maybe it was the wiser choice.

If a man is not humble enough to consider the intelligence of his wife…

If a man is selfish and has lost sight of his mission to be a servant to his family, to follow the example of Christ, who washed the feet of all twelve of his disciples,
Who died for them and for us,

If a man is short-tempered, and full of himself, loving himself before his wife and children,
He could snap at his wife right away, pulling the “I’m the boss around here.” reminder card out of his pocket, and silencing her.

I didn’t do many things I wanted to do because I obeyed.
I didn’t work,
Attend college,
Or Pursue a career.

Grow as a human.
As an intellectual.

I educated myself with Readers Digest Classics and other books I’d check out or purchase.

Mi mente tenia hambre.
My mind was hungry.

What a revelation, to read _Jane Eyre_.
To read of a girl, lost and rejected, mistreated,
Then placed in an orphanage to be mistreated further, but to find a friend who taught her about God.

There, Jane and Helen learned what true godliness was, even as religion in its unyielding granite-like hardness oppressed them.

They created a warm nucleus of friendship and learning of Christ and they existed that way until Helen died.

Jane is plain.
And poor.
But her spirit found expression in her resolve to survive and in her sketches.

And a very strong and stern man fell in love with her.

image

He was married, though, to a mentally-infirmed woman watched over night and day by nurses he hired.
He fell in love with Jane and asked her to run away with him as man and wife where no one would know them.

During this moment of decision, she finds strength to rise up from within, to remain true to her values despite her desperate desire to say yes, and she protects her individuality, preserving her freedom.

Charlotte Brontê, alias Currer Bell,
In the 1800s,
Was setting women free in their hearts through her writing.

She sets people free today.
She lies in a grave but her words remain full of life,
Full of deliverance.

Exhortation to stand.
To not deny one’s self.
To allow the soul to branch out into greatness.
Despite what others, even those loved most, say.

I look back at the history of intermittent  violence in my marriage with a bit of shame.

My cousin (who survived cancer) asked me one night,
She and I were lying in bed together last August, for she’d come up from the Carolinas for a family reunion after her strength returned,
and we slept in the same room…
She asked me, “Why did you stay?”

How do I explain to my cousin, a fighter of, and victor over the invisible clutches of cancer, why I would stay in such a union, when I could have simply got into a car and driven away from it?

I had many answers and zero answers.

There ::is:: a helpless remorse that accompanies regret, and if I allowed it to, it would destroy me.
Like a thick gray cloud of smoke invades the lungs, remorse would invade any man’s senses until they ceased to try anymore.
It’s an ugly emotion and must be taken by the horns and forced to do good in a mind.

Become fuel that drives a body to rise up from ashes and live better.
Stronger.

No net of guilt.
No net of anguish.

Instead,
A Strong-Hearted human being who is NOT a trembling bird,
But a human with…
An independent will
That won’t be bent or twisted into a warped thing ever again.

The only chains I will ever have,
will be the chains that bind my heart to the heart of God,
who loved me ,
who designed me ,
who gave himself for me,
and who saw each tear when they fell.

Golden bonds of love we have,
Holding us together.

And it is He who works in me still,
Both to desire,
And do,
His will.
Even as he’s given me my own,
And the freedom that goes with it.

God Bless Currer Bell.
And Jane.
And Helen Burns who died prematurely,
But not before she shone the light of true Christianity in the freezing corridors where religion cast its shadow.

image

-leah

A Pearl

I knew him long ago, and upon seeing him again after the passage of time,
I saw him as he was,
without filters –
without the preconceived notions that I’d developed during the abusive childhood and teen-aged seasons of my life.

I loved him as half-woman, half-child, barely grown-up,
When men were typically mistrusted.

And now, as an adult,
with a wiser heart and mind,
my devotion has only increased with
each
slow
reveal
of the soul within his body.

His gentleness makes him great,
yet he is a man of steel.
The perfect oyster –
Tough, yet fragile,
and look…
in the very heart of him,
a pearl.

image
The Perfect Combination

Before I slept

As I rested,
My head on my pillow,
Love coursed through my heart.
It must be contained
In my blood,
For as the heart does its job,
The blood passes through
And its passenger,
Love,
Sings its song
So softly
Yet so soulfully,
That it resonated inside of me.
And my heart reverberated
With every note.

So I composed a sonnet
Of sorts
To him.

While I rested
Head on pillow
Waiting for slumber.

Lifting my hand,
In my imagination,
To cup his cheek
Adoringly.

Then I wondered …

Would he allow his head to lean
Just a little
Toward my palm,
Close his eyes,
And rest
Allowing himself to absorb
the warmth
Waiting for him there?

ajp
8-20-15