Tuesday 31 May 2016

On Waiting

On Waiting

You tell a story.
Beneath it another one is stirring.
We are a tale in the making.
We are hovering between two worlds wondering

where is this taking us?
And are you ready?
And am I?
And have we lived long enough for this meeting?

Where we stand in the sunlight I see
that you know
that I know
where this is leading.

We play some more games
word games,day games, bait
games while we are waiting
for your lips to hover over mine inviting.

The story hung in the parting
My check intercepting
It is not yet time, lover,
It is not yet time.

Monday 30 May 2016


On Knot Making

You give me your hand.
You think I am drowning.
Why are you here saving  me?
To what are you tethered?
Do you think you are so tall you don't need saving?
Do you think you swim so well you cannot drown?
Do you think your heart can stand it?

I think you are falling
I think you need a rope
of sissal or silk. Or a hand
That will gather yours under the moonlight
And walk with you in moon-space
And show you the stars
And take you there

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016

Thursday 26 May 2016



Draw from the well and drink now
For the desert is far and the journey long
And you are on the brink
of a new beginning.

Unlikely sources point the way
Shakespeare's fools, idiots, madmen
who jabber and jest
Signs for you to unscramble.

But be careful
or you will miss the moment
Dismiss it as irrelevent.
When all the time
It is timely and sacred.


Wednesday 25 May 2016

What Page Are You On?

We've all been here.


You think you're on the same one
For seconds maybe

But chances are
You're really not
You just want to be
You just assume

It's reassuring
It's life affirming
It ticks boxes
Makes your heart sing

But truth be told .....a chapter or two on
You never were
And never are
Reading the same book

And for an inspiring story about a child with autism who paints like Monet see

Tuesday 24 May 2016


The New House

I dream of a house
with no roof and no doors
An open-skyed-cylinder
leaking rain on its heirlooms.

My father says- "Don't touch it!"
I buy.
I find that it is occupied.

I invoke East and West,
Buddha, Krishna,Christ,
Mother Meera, Mother Earth.
Burn sage.
Sprinkle holy water.
Chant mantras.
Chant rosaries.
Finally, I call in the experts.

They simply ask her to leave.
And she goes.

Published in Women's Work, Vol VII

Monday 23 May 2016


How did we two strangers come
to be walking in moonspace
On a winter's night
In a country lane
In the middle of nowhere
Watching a gibbous-taurus-moon rising?

Your hand following mine
in its opening and closing.
Fingers fitting,tongue in groove,
Like old friends together.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016

Friday 20 May 2016

5 Rhythms

Gabrielle Roth's 5rhythms:

I don't know how to describe this... but it's dance which you let yourself go to.
Gabrielle Roth came up with the system and writes very passionately about it in her book Sweat Your Prayers. She also produced music to go with each stage in this movement sequence.

I was never a devotee but did enjoy dabbling in it and would say that emotion is released and explored through the movement which is performed spontaneously by you.
I remember tears, exhilaration, peace, relief and a whole range of feelings in between.
Pathway to creativity?
Spiritual practice?
If nothing else it is exercise!

Google it and give it a go if you haven't already.

The 5Rhythms

Looking out of the Big Blue Cafe window
The abbey sun-struck like your bright hazel eyes
You take me through the five rhythms

"Flowing is this," you say, wide-armed, gathering it to you.
In staccato your elbows slice and score the air.
Your head rocks to chaos, a smile breaking over you.
And Lyrical? I ask.
Stillness descends.

We take it out to Howth Harbour
Where yachts drift and speedboats tilt
Where chaos is in the watching.

On the pier you pause to pet a puppy dog
And anchor yourself in a footprint of Howth granite.
Ebullience and groundedness.
Lyrical, perhaps, is somewhere in between.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016

Thursday 19 May 2016

Old Photographs

They often looked startled and stiff, caught as in the beam of a headlight, like deer on the road at night
Our ancestors in those early black and white photos
We, the selfie brigade, their polar opposites.

This poem was Inspired by Wendy Dison's photograph Holding.

Found in Sepia

Not like the Earl and Countess of Larkin's Arundel Tomb,
trapped in effigy, hands joined in pleated stone.

These two stand apart, caught in a web of bitumen on pewter
or chalk on silver plate, iodine coated,exposed to light,
suffused in mercury fumes and then bathed -

Until a hand immersed in light
joins her hand clasped
and his straining away.



Wednesday 18 May 2016

A Wake

There should have been three sisters.

My eldest made tea and ushered petalled trays between  mourner and mourner.
My other sat hushed at your feet weeping.
I smiled and drank tea.

It was to be a long wake
And so
The undertaker said that the window should remain open.

You would have got up and closed it, I was thinking,
as I looked at you stretched and immaculate
Your dark blue suit edged with lace trim coffin
Your hands cold dough, your mouth slightly twisted.

"Doesn't he look beautiful!" they said.

You didn't look like you at all.

Mary, Martha and Mother hovered
while I stood smiling
Until they worn out with grief
left me to do the watching.
Just you and me, and me avoiding.
I ran out of tea and chat and mass card reading.

It was time to allow
That you were not going to get up and close that window
That the lace trim that stirred
was not moved by your heart beating
That your mason's hands would fold no more stone
to your bending, plumb no more lines.

It was time
Your time and mine
And we took it....

And next day when I should before a hushed crowd reading
I was ready to cross over
To let you cross over
And I was strengthened by your passing.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Rune for Joy

Another rune poem for you...

Wunjo- Joy

You have shifted on your own axis
and aligned yourself with yourself.
The deluge that was damned up
can now flow
Generous in the knowledge of its own stillness.
Blow out the candles
and cut the cake.
The time is now
and you are ready.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016


Monday 16 May 2016

A Sonnet

The challenge was put to me a while back to write in a more formal poetic style
and so I chose a sonnet.
I'm not sure that it really makes much sense but it does rhyme.
On love and loss...what else...???

On Mourning

If thou shoulds't think this day were made to mourne,
The clouds to gather there upon thy brow
And of this love's brief transit make a vow
To languish long, then thou wilt be forlorn.
And yet perhaps if thou shoulds't thus have sworn
True love to he whose passing on this morn
Leaves seas unchartered, watery depths unknown,
Thy heart adrift on life's great ocean torn.
Then Spring might follow fast on Winter's heel
And ships might drift to shore that storms have swept
And Peace come home to hearts with sorrow rent.
For it is known that true love it does kneel
In hommage to those hearts and minds that kept
The fires of love alive when hope was spent.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016

Friday 13 May 2016

For John

Looking at art work always intrigues me
So here is my response to a painting by John Brennan.


On The Edge

Rough hewn slices of seascape
viewed jagged through a port-hole
or bleached, frayed frame.

You stand at this edge
where you have pitched your bright tent
against sea spray and torn sail
that spill over your canvas, truncate spurs,
toss up cross sections of history.

Your easel flaps and buckles in the wind
and what you had planned mutates
into something else.

Your hand, like a clamp, fastens
on this moment until
a sea-sweep of wave descends

and you are left clutching a memory
from which you paint this truth-

That nothing ever stays the same

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016

Thursday 12 May 2016


Blue-Beard- A Warning

I have refused the Blue-Beard.
I have turned him down.
I have chosen not to wed
the bloody axe in my own head.

After a short time in his company
my belly said, "Run!"
I didn't do it -Might hurt his feelings!!
Such mercy for a Blue-Beard is downright foolish I know.

But I humoured him.
Played the game of happy guest.
"Nice tea. Did you make the scones yourself?"
He almost had me then, almost.

But something strayed.
Something not quite, not right.
He didn't get another chance.
I left him at the castle gate next time.

Now why court a Blue-beard at all?
You may well ask.
I was being nice.
Still being bloody nice!

Then something cracked in me.
Do you suppose it was my naivety?
I said, "No!"
He struggled a little with that-Just a little.

Then, "What the hell! Go!
Plenty more sisters wandering the forest
might let a Blue-Beard
take them home for tea."

But not me, Sisters, not me!

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Elephants, Bulls & Ostriches

The Elephant in the room who thinks he’s a bull in a china shop

I’d rather shake hands with the elephant in the room
or paws or trunks or whatever.

Easier to not bat an eye lid
Pretend he’s not there -
Performing his two legged tricks
Standing on tables
Twirling full circle.

But sometimes if you don’t give him the nod-wink
He’ll charge, and trunk through that carefully sorted, 
stacked and shelved life of yours
Bringing it all down about your proverbial ears-
Thinking he’s a bull in a china shop.

So even if you don’t have any china
and you prefer to be an ostrich
with your head in the sand
Call a spade a spade, I say
And name your elephant

That’ll shift him in no time.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016

Tuesday 10 May 2016


Maybe it's the Mercury transit/lunar eclipse...

A few years ago I had a bag of rune stones
I wrote a series of poems, one on each rune.

But whether runes interest you or not,  the mind-states here will be familiar.

For info on Runes see link below

Blank Odin

Strung up by his heels Odin hung
for nine nights from Yggdrasil
self-drained from Self until he saw
the word reflected in the water.

Now is the time to leave behind
to pass through
to come to
a new beginning
that is also an end
to what you already know.



Repair your saddle
and tie up the horse.
There'll be no ride today.
For the horse is lame
And there's mist on the moor
And no knowing where you're going.

It's time to muck out and clean tack
the bridle,bit and saddle
And think about why
the horse is lame
and you are held back.


Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016

Monday 9 May 2016

Lunar Eclipse

There was a lunar eclipse a few days ago.... So here is a lunar poem for Claire.

Today sees a Mercury Transit.
Astrologers/astronomers will know the significance of these events but Mercury is about communication so maybe it's a good day for that!

Lunar Eclipse
for Claire

A white light wraps over birdsong
Out of the belly of the new moon a new sun is born
Old ways are shorn
Dross hits flame
And prayers rise on bird wing.
Whatever you need ask now
For heaven is listening.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016


Friday 6 May 2016

Broken Limbs

Who wants to break a leg?
Broken limbs stop us literally in our tracks
But much as we don't want them
They insist on a kind of forced meditation....
and bestow, hopefully, insights

These two poems came out of a broken elbow a good while back...



A broken arm's length
holds you fast

while its iron fist
cups a soft breast
and holds me to ransom.

Is there no way Diomedes
that you can breach this rampart of mine?


From this new vantage point of mine
This fixed wall of pain that cannot bend
or yield to the touch

I see, at last, you, bereft
And wonder if I can
with cozening glances

and careful fingerings
restore you to yourself?

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016

Thursday 5 May 2016


Normally mild mannered I transmute into an obsessive- possessive when insecure about love, romantic love that is.
I'm sure this is common enough?
Not a nice place to be.


Today you send me photos
Angles of myself
Bird's eye views I didn't see you take

I watched you laterally-The net was tight
If you erred over the edge of my vision
I snapped

I didn't notice you circle and soar
I didn't see you watching me
watching you

But here they are- Pictures from a height
My profile precipitous
Me centre frame - Stalking

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016

Wednesday 4 May 2016


This love
It has no beginning
No middle
No end

Structure lacking
you feel,reader,

It washes over you
Leaves you groundless

You don't want it
You want what you know

You want the v shaped
interlocking spurs of youth
in its blind passage

Gradual descent to slow meander
ox-bow forsaken
and flat plain

You want to reach sea

But that's not how it is, lover,
That's not how it is

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016