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.

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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

 

One Less Star.

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Tonight
Through the tears
That sprang from your pain
And fell from my eyes,
I looked into the sky
Where there was one less star shining,
And I wept for the world
Where life carries on
Just that bit darker
Than before
You left.

©2017 Joanne Van Leerdam

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img_3407This poem and fifty others are now published in a new collection: 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.

Stained Glass.

A masterful, vivid mosaic,
A fragmented work of art;
She finds her greatest beauty when
Light shines through the tinted glass.
Though fragile, her strength is in the scars
That unify her; thus, she remains
Beautifully broken and mended,
And permanently, poignantly stained.
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This poem is  published in the ebook collection titled ‘Stained Glass’.
Available in your favourite digital bookstore for just 99c.
www.books2read.com/glass 

MTW Progressive Story: ‘Tailored Murder at 221B Baker St’

Sherlock shook his head. “What I don’t understand, Watson…”
 
Watson blinked at Sherlock. It was so rare that Sherlock confessed to not understand something, he was left quite unsure of what to say. 
 
Sherlock caught the flash of confusion on Watson’s face, but continued regardless. “… is why Chastain would show dead on the kitchen floor – MY kitchen floor! – without my ever having met the chap!”
 
Watson gazed at the tall man before him. “It has to be because we found that dratted dressmaking kit. Perhaps he came here to retrieve it. He must have been followed here.”
 
“Dead men don’t care much for sewing kits, Watson… but perhaps the clue is there after all.”
 
Sherlock crossed the room, retrieving a small brown cloth case from the hall table. It unbuttoned to reveal a neat kit containing well-maintained scissors, needles, and lengths of high-quality threads in a rainbow of colours. A small, hand-stitched label nestled under the handle of the scissors. 
“Mack’s Threads, London.” Sherlock pondered for a moment, examining the kit yet again. “It’s plain cloth without embellishment, but good quality. I should think they’ll be in Cheapside.”
 
“Hold on. Chastain was the tailor to the Prime Minister’s wife!”
 
“Yes, Watson, with a shop in Regent Street, but the people who make sewing kits don’t have shops in Regent Street. They have factories in Cheapside.”
 
Sherlock strode confidently into the living room and picked up the telephone.
 
“Hello, Operator… could you please give me Mack’s Threads in Cheapside? Thank you.”
 
Two seconds and three loud clicks later, Sherlock smiled. “Yes, I’d like to speak to Mr Mack, please… Oh? How very interesting… Hasn’t been in since yesterday! How does he run a business?… Ah. Quite out of character. Yes… I see…”
Sherlock glanced into the kitchen and frowned at the dead man on the floor.  
“Oh! One other question… would you happen to know if Mr Mack ever carried a knife?”
 
Sherlock winced at the voluble and indignant protest that emanated from the earpiece at such a suggestion , then returned it to his ear when it went quiet. “Ah. Quite. My apologies. Thank you.”
 
Watson looked at Sherlock expectantly.
 
“Well, Watson! What do you thinhk? He’s gone missing!”
 
 
To follow Sherlock and Watson on this adventure and read the next chapter of the story, click here.
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Poetry Reading – ROGUE WAVE by Joanne Van Leerdam — WILDsound Writing and Film Festival Review

Originally posted on POETRY FESTIVAL. Submit to site for FREE. Submit for actor performance. Submit poem to be made into film. : Performed by Michelle Alexander Get to know the poet: What is the theme of your poem? ‘Rogue Wave’ is about the way life and stress makes us feel, especially when things build up and…

via Poetry Reading – ROGUE WAVE by Joanne Van Leerdam — WILDsound Writing and Film Festival Review

Exposure.

Three shots, one scene: my favourite naked tree.

 

What is without reflects the truth
Of that which lies within:
Stormy sky, vulnerable soul –
A metaphor of my reality.

A Poem In Honour Of My Birthday

Today I’m forty-nine years old,
And I’ve achieved a lot,
I’ve been a teacher for decades –
A career as a nerdy swot.
I’ve loved and lost and laughed and cried,
And had some fun along the way,
And I’ve learned that faith and loyalty
Beat popularity, any day.
I’ve sung and acted on the stage,
As a director, I’ve shown my worth;
I love to entertain my friends
With both sarcasm and mirth.
I’ve had my poetry published,
It’s nice to be in print!
It’s just a shame that famous writers
Are generally fairly skint.
I’m proud to be Australian,
And I’ve adopted Canada, too:
If I could live in both places
That’s absolutely what I’d do.
So today I’m going to smile again
I’m prepared to take my place
As the birthday queen of June Sixteen,
Exuding style and charm and grace.
So unleash all the birthday love,
And send it all my way,
I’m more than ready to indulge
In my celebration day.
PS: Come to my book launch tonight,
It should be really great,
You can buy a copy for twenty bucks
And I’ll sign it as your mate.

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