Winter Violets



Winter Violets – acrylic and pen n watercolor paper – 18′ X 24″ – Lex Loenard


I didn’t know they are called winter violets
I know them as johnny jump ups, violas
They don’t bloom here in winter’s bite
They wait for spring to introduce themselves
They tuck in wherever they please
I cannot design their path
A surprise, a nod to independence, survival

                                                         winter violet
                                                         she carries
                                                         a tiny fire
                                                                   – Ami Tanaka

My grandmother grew them in her lawn
Candytuft their partner
Honeyed liquor for bees
Judicious steps for bare feet
A summer’s expedition 

                                                       violets here and there
                                                       in the ruins
                                                       of my burnt house
                                                                      – Chiyo-ni

It is snowing, again
Another kept quarantine
Amid no-contact solitude
Amid numbers piling up
Like snow
Like leaden slats of blighted ruins
Waiting for Phoenix to rise again
Or little purple yellow faces
Peeking out from beneath
A kept quarantine

                                                       no limit to kindness
                                                       winter violets
                                                                       – Mitsu Suzuki

There is a kindness of canvas
An artist’s peace
If just a glance, a moment to dwell
An offering
Rising through depths of piled forfeiture
There is a spark of hope
Purple yellow faces
A cycle not denied


Author’s Note –

I was graciously invited to attend an on-line reading of haiku by some amazing poets from the Pacific Northwest and around the world. They read one haiku – their own or another’s – and spoke of the meaning. It was in celebration of International Haiku Poetry Day. The theme was taken from The Poetry Society of America who invited poets to write about “poems they return to in difficult times – to find solace, perspective, or even moment of delight.” Thank you Cj Prince and Victor Ortiz for this brilliant opportunity to learn and grow.

In the short hour, three of the haiku included winter violets. The images stayed with me and deepened as each new winter violet popped its head up to speak.

I took it to the canvas first and played with a different process than I usually do. It is very difficult to photograph this image. It just doesn’t do it justice. You may get a better idea of what it looks like if you do close-ups of the above image.

Then I moved to write with the inspiration of the poets – Mitsu SuzukiChiyo-ni, and Ami Tanaka. Much gratitude.



Hope. acrylic and ink on watercolor paper, Lex Leonard

Sky opened to cede its tiny mandalas of ice blessing all below

Beet and cabbage paused, tomato and corn stilled

Is this the most remarkable thing you have ever seen

Laden morsels alight melting in summer’s heat
Most of them drying under sun’s guidance
intense in their purpose to bring relief
from season’s hymn

Vegetables sigh, give thanks, and resume


Author’s Note:

Our writing group was to bring a prompt, a line from a book.  I found this line from Tom Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume the perfect one for me to use. It was not my prompt, but now I will read the book.

The beet is the most intense of vegetables.
from Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

The time given to write was twenty minutes. I took the line and wrote it down the page. I then wrote my poem beginning each line with the word from the prompt. Of course, through editing, things get changed around a bit. moved around, deleted and refined. You can still see remnants of the prompt. Thank you, Tom Robbins, for the inspiration.

And my painting, Hope, sprung from the poem.



Day 4: Peace Poetry Postcard Month

It was worth the pause.
Ice ruffled leaves,
delicate flakes layered
across wrought iron bloomery,
dappled berries,
icicled needles of pine.

Morning after warmth
where softness and pleasure
rested in cradled peace,
cold descended.

In this time of rime and
hoarfrost, do not allow
yourself a hardening.
Keep the fire of peace
within, and without
will melt by your fervor.


Tenn Street Jazz


She danced
with light igniting
her soft wild tresses,
sun’s echo in the room.

She moved
to the beat of
jazz silhouettes
framed by storefront window,
drummers and base,
guitars and mandolin,
clarinet and tapping
feet under tables.

Her fingers snapped
as her palm kept time
on her bluejeaned leg,
eyes closed in rapture,
chin raised in tribute.

Her essence braided
into notes rolling and swirling,
coffee and patchouli,
heads nodding in union.

Her spell cast.
Music and spirit seeped
through cracks and door jamb
into an unsuspecting

And the world paused

and smiled

and the two-year-old,
old soul kept beat.


Author’s Note:

Hopeless. Fear. Anger. This pretty much sums up my last two weeks. Maybe you feel the same.

Today I broke with routine and gathered myself up to head out to North Denver on an invitation from a friend. It is a place I don’t visit often anymore. At one time in my life, I was there everyday. I went to Holy Family High School in the neighborhood. Like everything else, the place has changed.

Today, I went to a coffee shop, Tenn Street Coffee, across the street from where my high school once resided. The barista, Tad,  and I spoke of theatre, our connection in this big world. With coffee and breakfast burrito, I made my way to my friend who invited me.

This morning’s group plays the fourth Saturday of the month from 10:00 am till 12:00 pm. The Hoagies were a delight. I love this music. My friend knows me well.

Midway through the morning, it happened. We were chatting and clapping and snapping and enjoying the tunes when she began. It started with a whisper of people peering around a corner. Soon, by a hand, she appeared in front of the combo.

Her hair was a muss of light golden sweetness. She looked around but was drawn quickly back into the music. I’m not good with ages this young, but she certainly wasn’t much more than two, if that.

An old soul stood in front of us moving to the music. It was as if we were transported back in time to a jazz room filled with smoke and a dancer who commanded the attention away from the band without even realizing anyone was watching.

Music filled this little one to the brim and she moved.

Hopelessness transformed into hope.

Fear melted away.

Anger didn’t stand a chance.

The children will lead. Those who are so young are still close to Source from where they came. They know. They understand. They allow themselves to feel and be carried away in trust. They know no other way. We need to learn from them.

They are our hope.

Thank you, little one, who ever you are. You brought joy into our lives today. Something I will remember.




For those of you who were there…


Louis Jordan, Chartreuse

And thank you Tad Baierlein, Tenn Street Coffee, David Estes and The Hoagies, Tennyson Street Cultural Art District, and Lisa for a great way to spend my Saturday morning. I’ll be back!


On The Eve…


I like to walk at night in the dark so I can see the stars. They give me hope. Or, I walk in the morning well before the sun rises, before the creamsicle glow announces a new day.

In those hours I feel safe surrounded by that which I cannot see, but trust my dear beast will protect me if need arises. I want to feel the chill and be enveloped in the vast deepness and blazing silence where truth is hidden in the promise of hope. You know hope, those little twinkling lights I can only see when it’s dark.

Tonight on our walk I held a small stone to my chest, next to my heart where the energy of that swirling green chakra resides, the entry into Spirit, my Love. And I asked for all my fears deep within the darkness of my soul, all my hates that tighten my chest, all the hurts that have been hurled at me and captured – I asked that this simple stone be the chariot, the wagon, the wings to take this pain and hold it for a moment.

I walked with my mantram soothing my mind and giving time for those unwelcome guests to surround my tiny rock and attach themselves.

Under the skies sprinkled with hopes, I released the stone to Earth Mother. She will welcome that teeny piece of her back home again. She will do what she does best. Pachamama will take what no longer serves me, that which I have allowed to hold me in its grip, and she will cleanse it. Those hurts and pains and fears will become new soil in which to plant. Our sweet Mother will take them and bury them deep within her for transformation.

And in the promised spring, there will be richness to welcome new growth and life and beauty.

I pledge…

I will trust Spirit and give myself fully.

I will be a voice for beauty and song to fill the world with hope.

I will honor life and use my actions, everything I do, to uplift and offer more hope.

I will walk on Pachamama with grace and gentleness in gratitude for all I have been given.

I will live simply in work and play and all I do to keep my heart free and clear to receive more so I can be a watercourse for Spirit back into the world.


This day and everyday
may I speak impeccably.
May I work with honesty.
May I make art with a joyful heart.
May I forgive with ease and humility.
And may I love without exception.

This night and every night,
I bless you all and
all who pass this way
with peace and compassion
in great gratitude.



It came today. I knew it would,
the tracking notice told me to expect
its Saturday arrival.

But the day took over. Food prepared
to feed the stomach as well as the soul,
if done properly.

Notes written by hand and on keys fleetingly
tapped, heartfelt and true. Calls made,
clothes laundered, little time for promises.

When it arrived cold had settled with grey
day clouds shaking flakes into air so frigid
only a powder covered the walks.

I knew it would be there when time
allowed. It would wait for me tucked
safely away where no thief could reach.

But I must follow the path, do what is
needed, finish the job. In trust I worked
to complete the day.

Wrapping my neck against the wind,
gloving my hands, my coat and hat
encircled me against the chill.

A walk to the mailbox in tranquility
of winter snow. Hurried steps anticipating
the arrival slowed, then halted.

The muffled calm, snow’s offering. A quiet
accented by glistening white. Icy breath
filling blood-warmed lungs.

One can never fully conceive in expectation.
It takes trust, patience. Stillness. You never
know what gift truly awaits your arrival.




Author’s Note:

My pastor, Fr. Scott Jenkins at A Church of the Holy Family, and I are writing prayers for a Celtic Mass. It is a once a month mass and will be themed around Advent and Mary and Elizabeth. Expectation, conceiving, trust, and birth are words we having been exploring.

Today, a new book arrived. I didn’t have time to get to the mailbox until the evening following a very busy day. I am always amazed at how the Spirit weaves through my life.


Did you hear it last night, the midsummer
monsoon swamping the cracked dry earth.

Did you notice your room alight, thunderbolts
flashing a declaration of might ever greater

than ourselves. Night storms darken our
hearts with shadowed worry, fears of what

morning’s illumination will bring. I reach
for your hand in the fury of the storm, holding

fast your to warmth, strength endowed. We
wait patiently for the scent of rain on cracked

dry earth after the clouds move on. It is not
hard rock earth forms to harbor safety but

the fluid that flows from the vein of God
baptizing us with promise. It is the scent

of dust after the storm that purifies the day,
a scent of hope that all will be well.

And it will.




Author’s note:

Petrichor (/ˈpɛtrɨkɔər/) is the scent of rain on dry earth, or the scent of dust after rain. The word is constructed from Greekpetros, meaning ‘stone’ + ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology. It is defined as “the distinctive scent which accompanies the first rain after a long warm dry spell”.

A very special thank you to my friend, Gary Sedlacek, for bringing this word to my attention this morning. It was just what I needed for my poem, one that had been lingering for a few days on an almost empty page. Thank you, Gary.