telemarket call

I will not buy what you are selling,
And I don’t want to do your survey.
Why can’t you just leave me alone?
How did you get my number, anyway?
Where did you say you’re calling from?
I’m sorry, I don’t understand
A single thing you’re trying to say—
Of course, you’ve called from a distant land.
You’ve already had more than ten minutes:
Why must you call at dinner time?
I realise you’re just doing your job
But please, leave me alone to do mine.


ⓒ2018 Joanne Van Leerdam




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

Don’t Call Me.


Recently, I discovered that someone I had considered a good friend actually turned out not to be a friend at all. With the sensation of the knife still very firmly lodged in my back, I wrote this poem. 


Don’t call me “friend”:
The line in the sand speaks otherwise.

You will call me by my name,
Not by any epithet
Laden with negativity and hate
That you might choose it its place.
You will not speak behind my back
To belittle or undermine what you don’t understand,
You can say it to my face.

Think of me as you will,
Sharpen your darts
And load them with your poison.
They cannot do any more harm
Than those you have already fired.

Inoculated by the first dose,
I am immune.

I will not live with a target on my back,
I will not give your words currency,
Your antipathy does not define me.
Do not sit in judgement while pretending to show respect,
For that is a most dishonest mirror,
As deceitful as the one who uses it.

And when your conspiracy unravels
In the smoke of the gun in your hand,
Don’t look to me for sympathy
Or forgiveness to salve your wounds,
Don’t call me names.
Don’t call me anything.
Just don’t call me.



©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.

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