Deadly Sins

Promo Nova Deadly Sins Plain

Withdrawal’s talons bite my flesh,
She devours me with emptiness;
Her fiery lust within my veins
Tortures me with searing pain.

Gluttony for the fix I crave
Drives my soul, consumed, depraved
By Addiction’s grasp upon my life,
To satisfy my heart’s desire.

Dawdling, desrisive, indolent,
Slothful Time scorns such dependence
And weakness in the one who waits
For endless hunger to abate.

Cornered by conspiring vices,
The need within me sacrifices
Pride and conscience, dignity:
The victims of depravity.

But as they circle for the kill,
One by one, they all fall still:
A smudgy, feeble shard of light
Breaks through the darkness of the night,

The ruby beam of hope reborn
Silently heralds the imminent dawn.
Light-shy, my predators shrink away
As first hint of morning saves their prey.

©2016 Joanne Van Leerdam

This poem is published in Nova.

Promo Nova Cover 2nd Final eBook with awards copy

 

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1.37am

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! 

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“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 www.jvlpoet.com/books

 

The Tempest.

Promo X The Tempest Plain

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The cruel, frigid wind wails.
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The blizzard chills everyone who hears its howl
While vicious frozen shards stab them in the back
As they turn and run for shelter, for safety
From the dangers of the vicious storm.
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There is no safe place to hide.
.
Even those who might escape the snow and ice
Could still freeze in such perilous conditions.
The cold is just as deadly as the weapons
Hurled in its tempestuous anger.
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The assailment seems endless.
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Only the intensity of the fury
Varies: moments of silence lure its victims
Into a false sense of hope for redemption
Before the moaning of the tempest resumes.
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And then, at last, there is peace.
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The frostbitten cheeks of Winter blow no more,
Her chapped lips, weary of woe, fall silent now,
And the world, white with her frozen tears, is still.
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©2017 Joanne Van Leerdam

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                   This poem and 50 others appear in The Passing Of The Night.

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. 

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STILL HERE.

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
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This poem and fifty others are now published in a new collection: The Passing Of The Night.