Barista Favorite: Hope Was Not a Loss/Barbara Harris Leonhard

February 12th was the first Promote Yourself Monday at Go Dog Go Cafe.  We would like to share the Barista Favorite with all of you, written by Barbara Harris Leonhard at Extraordinary Sunshine Weaver.


My body was a cage

With only eyes for doors.

My arms, contorted,

Like branches twisted in shadows.

Voices, hollow sounds,

Called from the dinner table, but

My legs, dead trunks,

Held me to a bed

With a view to other children.

How they danced,

Like pansies and violets,

Their blooms outstretched,

Gathering rays for Grace

But not for the night of storm

Clashing in my bones.


My lips held back the truth.

My cries were muffled in my throat.

Each wail, the language of stones

Falling on deaf ears.

Mother spoke the tunes of clouds.

Her words carried her young to the stars,

Not to the dead rocks lining

The bed of flowers

That could be me.


Rocks and earth held down

This young one with muted cries.

I’m still here.

In here.

Don’t forget the light inside this bud

Afflicted with blight.

How I want to burst out of

This stiff casing

To stretch my arms and fingers

Like tiny leaves unfolding in dawn.

I am stuck in mud,

Too dense for birth;

Too turbid for food.

No gardener is churning the soil

To give me air.

I am buried under new blooms

Dressed in violet and pink swaddling,

Dancing on my grave and beckoning,

 “Come and play; the day is divine.”


And so, I clawed my way

Out of the stiff core,

Muck and stone,

And peered into light

Blinding my infant eyes.

My arms and fingers unfolded

Into new green.

My tiny legs stretched into roots

Holding my core as it danced

In breezes carrying buoyant rays

Like waves hitting my face.


Is birth a choice?

Or is Spirit’s breath

Irascible in creation?

Can a flower remain a seed forever?

Or does it cast its casing aside

In a mighty battle

To forage life.

The seed knows choice;

Its soul has Will.

For some, the earth’s bed is always home.

For this one, hope was not a loss.

Copyright© 2018/02/10 Barbara Harris Leonhard

This poem describes how I felt when I was paralyzed with measles encephalitis at the age of 6 going on 7. I could neither walk nor speak intelligibly. My arms and fingers were contracted. This time was very frightening. I went into a coma for a period of time. Though I awoke able to speak, I was still unable to walk, facing life in wheelchair since I was told there was no hope. I was only able to watch others play outside. Lonely, vulnerable, and scared, I made a conscious decision to walk again. I taught myself while my parents were out of town at the time. This poem describes my inner world and decision to heal.

6 thoughts on “Barista Favorite: Hope Was Not a Loss/Barbara Harris Leonhard

  1. A truly wonderful poem, and thoughtful introspection on a heroic journey taken by a child to overcome personal challenges. May we all draw inspiration through these words, and the many that I hope follow!

    Thank you so much for sharing with us Barbara, and thank you to all who contributed last week! Wonderful writing coming from a wonderful community of writers.


    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Barista Favorite: Hope Was Not a Loss/Barbara Harris Leonhard – The Militant Negro™

  3. Pingback: Becoming a Barista – Extraordinary Sunshine Weaver

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