An ill wind blows:
The flame shivers,
Yet she persists.
Her soul burns on,
Brighter than before,
Indignant, defiant,
Fuelled by that very breath
That hoped to extinguish her life.
The steady, constant light she gives
Illuminates the place in which she stands
And the surly disappointment on
The face of the cold and bitter wind.

ⓒ2018 Joanne Van Leerdam


Holding My Tongue.


Someone told me this morning
That I should hold my tongue,
So I’ve taken heed of the warning
Using my forefinger and thumb.
It’s really quite uncomfortable
And swallowing is tricky,
My hand is covered in dribble
And it’s getting kind of sticky.
It’s difficult to talk much
So I have to grunt a lot,
In all my life, I’ve not seen such
Dirty looks as those I’ve got.
I’m sure it wasn’t good advice,
And suspect I’ve been misled:
I wonder if it would suffice
If I just shut up instead.

©2017 Joanne Van Leerdam

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Not Famous.

Promo Y Not Famous

She was not famous
But she was loved.

Stylish, but messy –
She would never fit
Into neat little boxes
Of expectation
With tidy edges
And glossy surfaces.

And then, one day,
Like glitter sifting through fingertips
She fell through the cracks
Between those boxes,
And the wind blew,
its chill deep and unrelenting,
And carried the glitter away.

©2018 Joanne Van Leerdam



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Embrace Sculpture. Photograph by Eric Kilby via Flickr

Let my love wash over you, body and soul,
Like a welcome shower of summer rain,
Erase the smudges of life’s grimy residues,
Soothe the scars of your grief and pain.
Surrender your fear and doubt to me,
Make my comforting arms your home;
When circumstances conspire against you,
My constant faith will restore your own.
Let my love’s power perfect your weakness
And my honour erase your disgrace,
May the gentle kisses from my lips
Erase all the tears from your face.
I will be your refuge and tower
A barricade against life’s storms:
In that sanctuary you will be renewed,
By my lavish love and grace transformed.

©2018 Joanne Van Leerdam

My Child.

Promo Y My Child
In recent weeks, I have watched with tears of pride as a young man whom I helped to raise married the love of his life, with another standing beside him.
I have rejoiced in the arrival of new babies, and happily anticipate the birth of two more that I cannot wait to hold.
And I have grieved with a long time friend of mine in the tragic and unexpected loss of her own much-loved nephew.
This poem grew from our conversation.

It is for every one of “my” children, and for hers..

My child,
Although I did not give you life,
I have long given you my love—
The nurture and care of another heart
That would protect you as my own.
I have carried you closely in my heart
And raised you up in my prayers,
I have watched with pride in your victories
And wept with you when you found life was hard.
You will always have a place with me—
Nothing can separate us from one another,
Even now, this the love I have for you:
You are my child, and I your other mother.

©2018 Joanne Van Leerdam


This poem is perfect to share for Valentine’s Day- and every other day!

All rights reserved.

Shares are welcomed and appreciated.


Promo Leaf 1.37am Plain
I’m crying when I should be sleeping
And I’m not even sure of what’s wrong,
But sadness whispers it’s cruelest lies
When I’m alone in the dark for too long.

The blackness is filled with aching
And misery heavier than air,
Velvet blankets of darkness enfold me
As I drown in the waves of despair.

I wish that my mind would stop churning,
Let my body and soul find some peace;
But the pain and the fear keep returning,
Denying me any release.

If the coldest, darkest hour,
Is the one that comes just before dawn,
This darkness must give up its power
When the first hint of morning is born.

Oh please, let the first light come quickly
And replenish my heart with its fire
Let the daylight drive out the darkness
And bring me the peace I desire.

Leaf 2nd Ed Title Only copy
©2016 Joanne Van Leerdam

This poem is one of 43 that appear in the collection titled Leaf.

The Artist

The Artists Plain

Pictures splash furiously onto each page,
Images shaped with both light and shade,
Memories and thoughts, things she wished she had said,

Emotions and fears that had never been shared.

Some pages were dark, some filled with desire,
Yet others glowed with heaven’s own fire;
Some scenes that exposed the true hearts of men,

Were blotched by tears she had shed over them.

Some pictures were smudged, some faded with time,
Others vivid with colour, rhythm and rhyme.
Some portraits brought pleasure, some caused her pain

That she had hoped she might never feel again.

And the truth looked directly back into her eyes,
Its gaze unashamed, its candour undisguised,
For what she had thought had been fiction’s domain

Was staring at her and speaking her name.

The shock of enlightenment jolted her soul –
Each page revealed truths that had never been told;
Every fiction created as part of her art

Had been drawn from the depths of her world-weary heart.

©2016 Joanne Van Leerdam

The Artist is one of my favourite poems from ‘Leaf’.

I was inspired to write it by my friend Nicky, who is an incredibly gifted

Leaf 2nd Ed Title Only copyartist. On looking at one of her paintings, I commented that I wished I could do what she did.
She said, “You do. You just do it with words.”


Leaf is available in your favourite digital bookstore or in paperback.

Late Fall.

Given that ‘New Horizons’ just won first place for Short Story in the Summer Indie Book Awards,  I thought I would share a story from that book this week. 

I hope you enjoy it! 


“Are you okay?” he asked.

“I’m fine,” she lied.

So he left, not worried at all.

And she stayed, as she always had.

She had always wished he would touch her face gently, or hold her hand, and say he’d be back as soon as he could be. She longed to hear him tell her that there was nowhere else he would rather be than with her. She wanted him to hold her close when the nights were long and lonely. She craved for him to love her the way he had promised to, all those years ago.

But her hopes had faded with her memories of their happiness. For all she remembered of those times, it could have been someone else in the faded pictures in the album that she knew by heart, but could no longer bear to open.

A wedding dress. A baby’s first steps. A smiling couple in front of a small house in the suburbs. A schoolboy. A graduation. Another wedding dress.

The only thing that mattered anymore was the baby, and he was long gone, a grown man living on the other side of the country, pursuing his own hopes and dreams.

Probably for the best, she thought. No point in him knowing what my life has become. Just let him be happy.

What she wanted now was to be somewhere – someone – else.  It almost didn’t matter where, or who. Those things are not so important to someone who has almost entirely forgotten who she used to be.

She gazed at the leaves falling in the yard, flurries of colour falling to the ground, skittering playfully in the breeze.

So free. So beautiful. I wonder how they know when it’s time to fall.

Then she realised: they just do. It just happens.

She  turned away from the window and went to the closet. She took out a suitcase and began to fill it with her things. She was preparing to leap from her tree and fly to another place.

She was afraid of falling; she was afraid of the wind.

But she was more afraid of staying where she was and ceasing to exist at all.

©2016 Joanne Van Leerdam

Promo New Horizons Cover eBook new with SIBA badge


‘Late Fall’ appears in New Horizons.
Find out more at


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