Category: Featured Guest Poetry

Learning How to Walk Again: Barbara’s Story

By Barbara Leonhard | Featured Contributor


[Part 1 – Hope Was Not a Loss: A Story About Measles Encephalitis]

My experience with measles encephalitis taught me a great deal. The greatest realization was that I could change my destiny. I had every reason to remain in the wheelchair because of the attention, sympathy, and love that not only I but also my parents received because of their poor little girl. But the attention from others could not offset the loneliness, the feelings of being diminutive and helpless, and the boredom.

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Hillman’s Demons: A Poem on Depression

By Chris Reed | Featured Contributor


James Hillman told me
the demons will come
at night in old age,
and will settle
on my bed,
on my chest,
in my hair,
in my head,
in my guts,
and prod me awake.

Befriend them he says.
They are your demons.
They are here to help.
And know you are 
enough worn with years
to be not afraid.

Drink tea.
Pay heed.
Converse.

If you look them in the eye,
know you’ll soon be gone,
so don’t care what they think,
they will give you quarter
and disarm.

Then you can hold them close,
like children,
with sharp claws and teeth,
and comfort them.
For their torments are yours;
their shadows are your shadows.

Hand in hand in the night,
no one is afraid of the dark.

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Grief: Healing Through Poetry

By Barbara Leonhard, Featured Contributor


[Part 2 – Alzheimer’s: Grieving the Loss of My Mother]

I processed grief over Mom’s struggle with Alzheimer’s through poetry writing. The fact that caregivers—such as myself and many other poets—can relieve grief through poetry supports my belief that poetry is both the memoir of and the medicine for the soul. Poetry is a means to storytelling, witnessing the human condition in a personal way. What am I thinking, praying, hoping for? How am I hurting? What has happened to me? How can I understand it? How can I share it? Who will witness my pain?

Poetry provides a creative outlet for the release of pain, for healing. It explores the soul. Reading the poems of others who have gone through similar experiences as mine is reassuring because I realize that I am not alone. I could also share my experiences of loss and grief.

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Alzheimer’s: Grieving the Loss of My Mother

By Barbara Leonhard, Featured Contributor


[Part 1 – Fire & Ice: The Faces of Grief]

As a way to examine grief and loss, I will share my story of the loss of my mother to Alzheimer’s, one of the most devastating forms of dementia.

What is Alzheimer’s?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Disease is a dementia caused by the building up of plaques—deposits of protein fragments that create spaces between neurons (nerve cells)—as well as tau tangles inside the cells of the brain itself.

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