Poetry 2014…










Who is Blogger/Poet/Fiction Writer/Artist Ann Johnson-Murphree?



5.Holiday Snow



Ann Johnson-Murphree

Ann 6.8.2014

Ann Johnson-Murphree

Author Bio…

Born in northern Alabama, father was a Native American (Chickasaw) sharecropper who managed a farm for a businessperson from Decatur, and a mother who worked in the local cotton mill during the Depression to pay for Beautician School. Although her mother lived in the same house, she was emotionally absent since the Author’s birth. The author, raised by her father, Native American great-grandmother and an African-American woman all were great storytellers.

Instead of playing like most children, she roamed the countryside alone or with her father and at night she sat at the feet of these strong-minded individuals listening to the stories of their lives. During the summer’, she lived with her fathers’’ sister in Birmingham, Alabama; it was there that she would discover a library, and mingle with her aunt’s circle of friends that included local writers, artist, and politicians. A cabin deep within the Black Warrior Forest was the weekend retreat and filled with these people from a different life than her own. This aunt encouraged the imagination of a young Ann with the gift of her first journal, which she filled with stories over the summer. Planted was the desire to write, a seedling waiting to spurt from the warm southern heart of a child.

Nonetheless, with adulthood, the desire to create buried itself deep within, the dream wilted but did not die. It lay dormant, gaining experience all written in hidden journals. These experiences, the contents of these journals became short stories and poetry reading to share with the world.

Throughout the years along with her father, great-great-grandmother, and her beloved Aunt Francis, other influences were, Faulkner, Capote, Fitzgerald, and Harper Lee. Later in life, I discovered the warm and comic writing of Grace Paley. The Collected Stories”, the vivid poetry of William Carlos Williams; the strong poetry of Phyllis McGinley, and the world’s most exciting women, Maya Angelou are some of the poets at the top of her list.

The harshness that shrouded her life would cause her to withdraw from most of the world; it fills the pages of her writing, the heartache, the abuse, and the denial from her mother. Today, at a stage of life where she enjoys her children, grand and great grandchildren, her four-legged companion Mason, she lives in Southern Wisconsin…far from her southern roots, writes and paints daily.


Southern living, tragedy, memories, and nostalgia… 2014

By Dr. Karen Moriarty – Karen Moriarty, Author of “Defending A King ~ His Life & Legacy” [about the incomparable Michael Jackson]

“As a former teacher of English and creative writing, I approached the reading of Ann Johnson-Murphree’s “Honeysuckle Memories” with real enthusiasm. Poetry is not a wildly popular genre currently. However, I have always enjoyed it, partly because it can be consumed in bits and pieces and at any time of day or night. This book did not disappoint. I consider poems the poet’s personal journey of heart-soul-and-mind. This collection of poems is about Southern living, tragedy, death, and memories. The poet-author’s background as a child who grew up in northern Alabama, a sharecropper’s daughter who farmed for his living, colors much of her work. I enjoyed the flow of her writing, her style of combining prose and poetry, and her reflecting the imagery from her earlier memories in vivid terms.

I recommend that you buy and read this book. It is priced well — to entice the potential reader to venture into the realm of poetry. Ms. Johnson-Murphree enjoys, above all else, sharing her love of writing with others who will enjoy it, understand her better, and share her personal journey.”




To Be at Peace with Grief…

Depression nurtures memories
I keep hidden in the recesses of
my mind. Hidden behind a wall
of fear I do not sleep least these
memories escape. If possible I
would lie down under the beauty of
a calm lake and be at peace with
the grief. There in the presence
of the still water I would wait for
the light of the mystic world of
death…I would be free!


Beyond the End…

Like the Phoenix, I have lived long,

reinvented and rejuvenated from life

experiences, reborn in spirit, I ask; where

do I belong.  I stand alone, lived things

that too many are unknown.  Happiness

never found, worthless are my desires,

quiet kindling of the fires, burned by the

flame, born, dying, they are the same.  I

want to believe that the angels will be

there and in their arms I will ascend, I want

to believe that time will live beyond the end.


Books at Amazon.com


Excerpt from Biana’s Pond…

14.St. Ignace Countryside

Above book cover artwork by ann johnson-murphree 2010

Excerpt from draft “Biana’s Pond”

Writers note:  The story, based on the lives of Jesse Youngblood who has returned home to go on an end of life journey with her colorful aunt.


Excerpt from draft “Biana’s Pond”

Writers note:  The story, based on the lives of Jesse Youngblood who has returned home to go on an end of life journey with her colorful aunt.


Jesse Youngblood walked into the lobby of the Ayers Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama; right away, her body went ridged, childhood fears return as she stopped in front of the old elevator doors now covered with a fresh coat of “Gold” paint.   The doors opened, she shut her eyes tight walking quickly through them.  She did not need to have them open to know that a tarnished brass rail was next to her hand.   Jesse still associated the old elevator with a tragic episode during her childhood.

A childhood that was both happy and sad had confused Jesse more times than not, her eyes so tight that her nose wrinkled.   She did not know that an elderly man had walked in behind her; he waited for a few moments then began clearing his troth.

“Young lady are you going to just stand there with your eyes closed or do you intend to select a floor?”  The voice dripped of southern politeness, yet laced with attitude.

“I’m sorry sir, the tenth floor please.”   Her voice apologetic Jesse could feel his irritability, but she kept her eyes closed.

Assuming she was not going to surrender her hold on the railing, he reached out selected his floor and pushed the button for the top floor as well.  The antiquated elevator cables creaked and groaned as Jesse counted each floor that they passed, it stopped on the ninth floor; the old man grumbled under his breath as he got off.   The intimidating climb continued.

Despite her fear of the elevator, Jesse was excited to be back, five years ago her aunt made the decision to change the building from a hotel to apartments; of course, her Aunt Biana still occupied the entire top floor as she had done since moving into the hotel with her husband.  She could not help but wonder how the home she grew up looked with the changes.

Jesse did not have to wait long, the doors opened and so did her eyes, she stepped quickly into the entrance hall where nothing had changed.  The tenth floor was like stepping back into time.   Mirrors in gilded frames, drawings of known and unknown artists lined the walls; colossal vases filled with multicolored plumes stood tall like sentries at the entrance door.  Time had left its mark on everything, the building, maybe the life beyond the door.  Jesse did not know what she was going to find on the other side, but she was home.

Opening the door, Jesse found that her aunt Biana’s home was unchanged; the enormous living room still as bodacious as Miss Adeline’s girls over McNutt’s Tavern on the outskirts of town was bursting with familiar flamboyant furniture.  Windows draped artistically in imported silks and lace was as awesome today, as they had been the first time she had visited her aunt.  The walls, tables, and bookcases held pictures of Jesse, creating a scrapbook of her life.  She had grown up inside these walls of dark mahogany panels and swirling alabaster.  It had been her playground.  Her years in this place had been one of discovery and learning, a time that shaped her future.  Suddenly, the clinical smells coming from the hallway leading into the bedrooms assaulted her senses, reminding her of why she was back.

Jesse would soon know as the familiar voice of her beloved aunt Francis bellowed through the hallway.  Dressed in black that was only slightly darker than her skin, with a starched white apron Francis spread her arms; pulling Jesse to her sagging bosom hugging and crying until Jesse thought she would burst; she was truly home, home with both her aunts.

Francis cried out, “Miss Jesse you as pale as a ghost, don’t they have no sun in California”?

The person known to Jesse as her aunt Francis came to work for her aunt Biana long before Jesse cam to live with her.  Francis had been the grandchild of slaves.   To Francis, her baby Jesse unfortunately did not inherit her fathers’ Chickasaw skin, instead she was like porcelain like her aunt Biana; she pulled back from Francis.

“How is she”?

“Oh Miss Jesse, I am so glad that you are home, I can’t do nothing with that women, course never could.  Says she is going to that cabin of hers down south and nobody is goin to stop her, you need to talk some sense into that woman.”

Jesse did not get a chance to say anything; the whirlwind of frustration was already backing into the kitchen, Francis who long ago became her aunt Biana’s housekeeper, then nanny, Jesse knew she had become a close friend and confident.  Now she was her caretaker!


Ann’s poetry and art eBooks can be found at:




A quivering glow from the

moon filtered through the

trees falling upon the garden.

The laughter of children burst

from within a cottage mingling

with the fragrance of the night.

Under a diamond sky on a gentle

wind, I watched the shadowed

night bird fly.  The stillness and

muted light lasted for what seem

like an eternity, enclosed me in an

eternal sleep; finally setting me free.





Spring, summer, autumn,

winter, sun, moon, stars,

snow, rain, winds, laughing,

joy, crying, grief; birds fly

over the falling  snow, life

must go; someone died I

guess, bury them deep, deep,

deep they will not rise from

this sleep, frail things enclose

the soul; eternity descending,

its beauty rendering death;

silence immense; the

assassination of freedom




A Patchwork Life – Part 4


Living and Breathing a Patchwork Life…

“Who am I now?”  I keep on searching, in truth I may never fully know, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, griever…

As a child when taught about death, it was not that God needed us back or that our mission in life was over; only taught to believe it was a natural process in life, we would live in the sky with our grandmothers and grandfathers; we are born and we must die!  This did not prepare me for what I would feel within and what effect the death of a loved one might have on me.  Taught to be strong, not cry if hurt within or on the outside, to be strong one did not show emotions; if one must grieve, grieve alone.  It was the “way” of my family throughout time; my great-great-grandmother who walked the long dangerous road called “The Trail of Tears”, taught this to my great-grandmother who help raised me!

This may explain my views toward grief, my actions toward grief of all heartbreaking situations within my life.  Since it is not dictated by rules or absolutes, each of us are unique in our own way, our grief is also uniquely our own.

The loss of my father, whom was the subject of my poem “The Chickasaw Farmer”, brought me to the brink of suicide.  He never showed any emotion toward me, no affection; but he was the second strongest individual in my life; my great-grandmother being the first.  He had raised me almost in the role of a single parent.  When my great-grandmother died, he showed strength that I wanted to emulate; he said that “Ma” would not want us to cry, it was not the way.  When he died, I had no one to remind me of the way he taught me to follow; I had no one to support me, I cried, then it ended and I would no longer let it go beyond my throat.  It suffocated me, choked me, I could no longer live without the only person in the world that had concern enough to care for me.  This unrelenting grief lived within me for eight months.

Each time I reached the edge of nothingness my father would speak within my mind and to my soul; his words were clear, “Be strong, it is not your time”.  During these months, I did not show this grief to anyone, I cared for my children, worked and existed; after the eight month, I came to terms with myself and I existed!

Changes were emotion, physical, thoughts, behavior and spiritual; I shut down within, in thought I searched for answers, I socially withdrew from everyone but my children and I questioned my own spiritual convictions.   How long can grief consume one, my father will be gone thirty-seven years on January 27, 2014.  The pain of this loss is unbearable, the mind fears these coming days, and I question is the way actually the right way?

The loss of my children…only four years ago; there is still numbness and disbelief, tears that flow unseen, locked within never to exit, a fog of anger and helplessness, sadness and depression from which there is no relief; but I must survive.

Therefore, my heart continues to be like a patchwork quilt, in keeping the memories alive, it, my heart, keeps breaking apart and I keep trying to mend it piece by piece, I hope my experience; my words will help others in some small way with their own losses throughout their lives.



Poetry and Art – Amazon.com


The Simplicity of Life…

The human race has many possessions; as time has spawn generations of collectors where material gain has become an obsession…



Rickety Ole Man

A hot southern sun hides behind the willows on muddy Flint Creek, cotton pickers sweat falling on parched lips taste like salty brine while they wait for the Ole man to call “quitting time”…


Beyond the Voices

Disappearing into Hell

Growing old, no splendor to the body, luste has disappeared from aging eyes.  Vanished beauty unavoidable, shaded looks from an old lover causes the soul to cry…



Thanksgiving Memories…

Sharp as a diamond was my mother’s tongue, no expression in the face she wore, set frame of mind, her last wish for me a lifetime of foreboding left me in dread; it lives on from her deathbed…


journey into art29. Birth of Cotton9.Landscape #101whales3.ANNA-Mother and Child17.The Wormwood Flower


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