New Year’s Eve, 2020

Photo by Tairon Fernandez on

It’s December 31, 2020:
Christmas is back in its box,
And I’m ready to cheer
For the end of this year
Full of tragedy, heartbreak and shocks.

I’m not sure next year will be better
After all, it’s only tomorrow,
And if people don’t care
For how other folk fare,
We could be in for more sorrow.

Still, as this horrid year closes,
I’m hoping for a reprieve:
A little more joy,
A lot more hope—
That’s my prayer this New Years Eve.

ⓒ2020 Joanne Van Leerdam

New Year’s Eve, 2020
#NewYearsEve #newyearseve2020 #PoetsTwitter

Christmas Eve, Without You.

Image by PeggyChoucair on Pixabay.

Joy is elusive this Christmas Eve, 
Anticipation is aloof. 
The empty chair, the missing gift,
The place not set at the table,
All murmur a silent, sorrowful chorus 
Like a incantation, warding off
The overruling spirit of the season.
The magic of tinsel, baubles and tree
Cannot dispel the indifference  
Cast by Memory and Grief as they linger,
Neither out of sight nor mind
Amid the coloured lights and carolling 
On Christmas Eve without you. 

ⓒ2020 Joanne Van Leerdam

With Love, Me.

Photo by cottonbro on

Dear Santa,

I’m writing you this Christmas letter
Because I thought you should know
That there’s something that means more to me
Than presents, trees and snow.

I am missing someone this Christmas
And I’d love to have them back,
But you don’t collect from heaven
Or carry angels in your sack.

I already have lots of memories
And photos and souvenirs,
That fill my heart with longing
And flood my eyes with tears.

So there’s nothing you can bring me
That might heal my grieving soul,
And nothing you can do to make
My broken spirit whole.

But if you could work a miracle
In people’s hearts and minds,
Could you make them think of others
And teach them to be kind?

Could you make them value family
And  enjoy them while they are here,
So Christmas might bring true happiness
To be remembered throughout the years.

And when the time comes to say goodbye
Although they too will grieve,
They’ll be thankful for those special gifts
That Santa cannot leave.

With love,

©2020 Joanne Van Leerdam


Photo by Nilay Ramoliya from Pexels

I have sewn these seams a hundred times:
Letting out,
Taking in,

Adjusting for change,
Suturing wounds
And mending the tears
Through which too many have left, 
Exposing for a moment
That which I wish to keep hidden:
Tender flesh, secret places, 
A soul worn and tattered; 
Safely concealed 
Beneath the careful tailoring
And confident colour
Of that which I display to the world.

In the quietness of my sanctuary,
I gather my fraying finery
Close to my breast,
Protective of its frailty,
I  weep, 
Overwhelmed by the agony
Of an injury so profound
It may never be repaired.

And then,
Because I have no choice,
I begin to stitch,
Yet again.

©2020 Joanne Van Leerdam

Shadows of You

Image by Karen_Nadine on Pixabay

There are so many things
I wish I could tell you,
So much I want to say:
I love you.
I miss you.
I want you back.
I wish you were here today.
Life is not what it used to be,
My wishes are nothing but air,
The emptiness aches.
The quietness moans.
Shadows of you are everywhere.
I weep with depth of longing,
Miserable, lonely, bereft:
I love you.
I miss you.
I want you back,
And the memories are all I have left.

ⓒ2020 Joanne Van Leerdam


Photo credit: Sean Hewer. All rights reserved.

You were here yesterday
And this morning.
How can you be just
In the time it takes
To blink, or breathe
Or turn to look, 
You left.
Now, there is endless time
To weep, to rage,
To question, and yet
Go on.
I don’t know how to be
Here without you.
How can you be just

©2020 Joanne Van Leerdam

Dedicated to the brother of my brother, who was much loved and is deeply missed.


Image by jplenio on Pixabay

Willow tree languishes,
Graceful, trailing branches
Naked and exposed;
Mourning the fallen leaves
Now scattered, dry, decaying, 
Returning all to dust.

Bare limbs sway in chill wind
But strong roots hold firm, 
Drawing on unseen wellsprings
That nourish and sustain
Through seasons of deep sorrow, 
Replenishing spent tears. 

Yet, within, new hope builds— 
Anticipation of that soft budding flush, 
Infant leaves waiting to unfurl
A fresh and verdant veil
When the wailing of winter
Is finally over. 

©2020 Joanne Van Leerdam


Here, there is only ‘after’.
There is silence and loneliness,
And emptiness exactly the shape of you.

Dense, grey afterness pervades the now, 
Filtering light and colour,
Casting deep, indelible shadows
Over everything that remains.

©2020 Joanne Van Leerdam

Still Afloat

At the mercy of the waves,
Alone on an inky sea; 
No moon, no stars for guidance, 
Drifting aimlessly.

The night is dark and endless,
The horizon cannot be seen, 
Relentless waters billow, 
The wind howls, cold and keen.

Though heaved and hurled and battered,
Still she remains afloat,
Resilient, determined, 
That sturdy little boat. 

©2020 Joanne Van Leerdam

Morning. Also, Mourning.

Photo: ©2020 Joanne Van Leerdam

Mornings are the hardest:
The time of day
When you’re just not there.
Silence and Emptiness loiter 
In the cold spaces 
Once filled and warmed by you,
Waiting to slap my face
And punch my grief in the guts
Just like they did yesterday
And every day before that
Since you’ve been gone. 
I will myself to stride past them, 
Full of false bravado, 
But then I crumble:
I clutch my memories to my breast
And weep.

©2020 Joanne Van Leerdam

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