Sky Princess

Promo X Sky Princess
As she swings, she enters her own world,
Princess of the azure autumn sky:
Soaring through her realm, free as a bird,
Beaming broadly into amber sunlight,
Curls of ebony trailng behind her,
Like streamers made of finest silken strands.
The music of her laughter fills the air
And the world beneath her bows to her commands.
Fly on, fly high, my precious lady-girl,
To the whimsical, wonderful Land of Ahdeedah
Where your dreams and heart’s desires shall unfurl
Every time you wish upon a silver star.


©2017 Joanne Van Leerdam


En Garde.

Sport Equipment Shield Sword Black White

En garde!

And so we dance: you lunge, I parry,
Nervous and watchful, poised to strike;
You advance, aggressive and spiteful,
My deft riposte defends my life.
Our every step is choreographed
To the music that our weapons make.
I fight to live; you fight to have
That which was never yours to take.

Your rapier primed with deadly poison,
With every spiteful stroke you seek
To taint me with that vengeful essence,
To leave me wounded, bleeding, weak.
A touch! You smile when you sense blood;
Tenacious, defiant, I carry on:
You have not yet injured me enough
To warrant surrender to your wrongs.


©2017 Joanne Van Leerdam


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Crowned with a garland of heavenly flowers
My muse appears at times of solitude;
Cherished companion of secluded hours,
Bestower of verses in plenitude.
In precious moments of visitation
Her ephemeral presence comforts me;
Her gifts of lyrical inspiration
Give birth to a wellspring of poetry,
Where thoughts and emotions cascade into
A broad pool of thoughtful reflection
Where the seeker can find perspectives new
Amid moments of deep introspection.
Hers are the lines that purge my troubled soul:
Let these songs heal my heart and make me whole.

©2017 Joanne Van Leerdam

An Autumn Evening In The Rain

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Isolated in the deepening darkness
Of a rainy late-Autumn evening,
I find myself completely at ease,
Relishing the beauty of the moment.
Watching the raindrops as they
Chase each other down the window,
Listening to the gentle percussion
Of the rain on the roof of my car,
I linger, protected and concealed
In my cocoon of steel and glass:
An observer unobserved,
Part of the streetscape yet set apart
From everything and everyone outside.
Crestfallen leaves drift and congregate
In corners and gutters, their spirits dampened
By the steady, soaking rain.
Street lights illuminate the amber trees,
And sparkle minutely in the tiny
Kaleidoscopic prisms on the glass.

©2017  Joanne Van Leerdam

Still Here.

Before you read this poem, there is something I would like you to know.

This poem is absolutely, 100% true. It is personal, it is painfully honest, and it tells of my own experience, not anyone else’s.  And you may find it quite confronting.

Despite its darkness, it is written to be positive, not negative. 

It was not written to win sympathy or make anyone feel guilt: it was written so that people might understand what’s in my head, and what I’ve been feeling, and why I’ve made the choices I have.

To answer your concerns: I have chosen to stay here and to defy all impulses that tempt me otherwise. I don’t always feel okay, I’m not always okay, but I will be okay. 

For anyone in a similar position: hold on. Stay here. You matter more than you know. 

Promo X Still Here Plain.jpeg


For a moment –
One fleeting, isolated point in time –
Or maybe two,
I thought about it.

I had the means.
God knows, I had motive.
But I couldn’t do it to you.

I know you would have understood.
But I know, too, how you would have mourned.
The grief.
The anger.
The questions.
I would have destroyed much more than myself.

So I resisted,
Summoning strength I didn’t have,
Holding on desperately
To everything that matters –
To everything I know that I love –
Even when I couldn’t feel it anymore.

I am thankful to still be here,
Despite my fragile state of mind,
For I know too well what it is like
To be one of the left behind.

©2017 Joanne Van Leerdam

Of Cookies, People And Individuality

People aren’t all the same shape and size
As though there’s only one cookie cutter,
Nor are they placed neatly onto a tray
To bake until they’re all exactly right.
Have these people never noticed how
Two cookies that appear identical
Are rarely ever actually so?
Sometimes, even a perfect cookie breaks
Under unexpected pressure, or when
Rudely bumped into by another.
Very often, the best looking cookies
Prove to have very little merit
When it comes to both substance and taste.

Then why, pray tell, should my life or my love,
My self-image or physical shape and size,
Be required to fit into someone else’s
Definition of who and what I should be?
Whose crumby, half-baked idea was that?

The Sea.

2015-07-18 17.11.28 Warrnambool Breakwater Blog

Grey clouds glower;
A salty breeze bites my face.
The ocean whips into white points,
Hungrily reaching for something to devour.
I dare not let myself go near it today.

Instead, I sit by the old anchor
Nestled in the first tufts of grass
At the top of the beach.
It’s cold and uncaring,
Impersonal, and no company at all,
But it gives me some sense of security.
I envy its stability.
It knows its place.
It only needed to be itself
To do what it was meant to do.
Some days the sea is gentle,
Small waves lapping at my feet
As I hug my knees and
Gaze into the distance,
Wishing for something different,
Longing for things to change.



It seems so much less
Than it really is.
Some days, I sit on the shore
Watching it heave and crash,
Knowing its force, and
Thankful that it’s not
Turning me upside down,
Dumping me mercilessly,
Leaving me with nothing
But pockets full of sand.
I’ve been there.
Struggling to breathe – no!
To hold my breath,
Survive, stay afloat.
A few seconds to gulp greedily at the air
Then I am gone again,
Losing all sense of direction,
The plaything of the waves.

I’ve limped from the sea and
Collapsed on the shore,
Wondering how I hadn’t seen
The breaker that overwhelmed me.
It’s odd –
The cold doesn’t numb the senses.
It sharpens perception,
Heightens the pain,
Deepens the wounds.
Some of those wounds still haven’t healed.

I feel him before I see him.
He’s watching me,
Knowing where I have come from,
Understanding the storm that threatens.
I remember the day when
He rescued me from the sea.
It nearly won.
I was almost gone.
Then I was salvaged by his strong arms,
Beautiful hands, lifting me,
Carrying me, wrapping me
In his protective embrace.
His warmth radiated into the
Saddest, loneliest places
Within me.
Softly spoken words of reassurance –
He’s got me,
Nothing to fear,
I’m safe now.
He is beside me now,
His arm around my back,
His strength protecting me
From the elements.
He’s got me.
Nothing to fear.
I’m safe now.
The tide recedes
Except for the droplet
Weaving a solitary path
Down my cheek
As it chases after the sea
From whence it came.


©2016 Joanne Van Leerdam.

This poem is one of the 55 poems in Nova.