HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO EVERYONE
HOLIDAY SNOW – ACRYLICS
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.
ONE OF THE MANY REVIEWS ON HER WORK:
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.”
THE POETRY OF ANN JOHNSON-MURPHREE AT AMAZON.COM –
Bangles and Colorful Cloth for Ma…
“Dedicated to my Great-Grandmother”
When I was born, you were a young ninety-years old,
your hair pulled tight at the nap of your neck, still
black and bold. At night, you let it down to braid before
you went to bed, it fell to the floor; at first I would watch
in silence from a crack in the door.
The night you caught me I was six, you called me into the
room smiling…asking that I bring you a single broomstick.
I quickly plucked it from mother’s only broom, and rushed
back into the dimly lit room. You showed me how to break
it into small pieces; when I looked bewildered your smile
accented all of your dark wrinkles and creases.
It was then that my eyes opened wide as you put the stick right
through the lob of your ears, its magic I thought; but this is my
great-grandmother I have nothing to fear. As a child, I did not
realize that there was a hole, because when I would touch the
bangles in her ears, she would quickly scold.
Just like the time when I tried to sneak a peek at her button up
shoes by raising the hem of her long dress, she did not have on
shoes, there were moccasins on those tiny feet…who would have
guessed. Yes, I was only a child without a care, and I spent many
hours sitting at the foot of her old rocking chair.
I never tire of the stories she would tell, sometimes we cried together
and now I can say it…as a child she lived in a white man’s world, she
called it “hell”. Her parents had walked on the “Trail of Tears”, proud
and strong, with every step wondering where they had gone wrong.
She help raise me and she taught me the way, and as her mind begin
to wander in those later years, I was sad, when she would tell her stories
she only remembered the bad. This grand old woman dressed in bangles
and cloths of many colors, with that big ball of hair and the nap of her
neck was a great-grandmother like no other.
She died only days before her birthday, she would have been one-hundred
and five, my father said, Ma would have scolded you saying…
” Don’t you ever let anyone see you cry”.
I was fifteen and the world was bright and colorful with the artwork of fall,
a befitting day to bury this beautiful and proud Chickasaw.
Echoing Images from the Soul eBook Sale
Before the Voices…
You left the world to early, free from a life that
left you filled with doubt. You lived the lives of
many, the voices, always hoping just to be
I now wait for that spark from heaven, I willed
you not to go, God did not agree. Was your life
fulfilled in such a short time, will I ever know.
You had beginnings, disappointments, new starts;
you worried about tomorrow, unable to feel happiness
in what you accomplished today.
I suffer your being gone, sadness wretches my days, the
glow died there was no hope. It seems like one long unhappy
Roaming within my mind, I walk the fields of your life. A
time of clouded joy, then time was blown away. Born in
innocence, fresh, life clear, before the voices took over,
bringing fear. I could not help you in your solitude while
you nursed your unconquerable fears.
As the moonlight pales, I yearn for lost years, before the
mental strife. Before the voices took over your life. It was
after sunset that you died, a void that cannot be filled, you
will never grow old. I miss your smiles, your red tresses
flowing down your back, your light will always shine; your
radiance will never fade.
Sleep my child in eternal rest…
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Reflection of Poetry and Beyond the Voices
In the dusty corners of yesterday are buried fragments
of humanity, ancient history, forgotten mothers, fathers,
children, good, evil, and beyond death a veiled ambiguous
world that is still a mystery.
A people that after millions of years of evolution, cannot
see the reality of it all; the human race learns nothing they
endlessly continue their destructive fall.
Blood drenched roads from barbarity to civilization measured
by the futility of the enlightened, and those sacrificed are
forgotten.As humans, we judge others by our own beliefs, we
recoil, we threaten, we kill, and the blood of virtue we continue
Millions of years from now when barren land reaches as far as
the eyes can see; will the dusty corners of yesterday show
fragments of how we destroyed humanity, will the veiled curtain
of death no longer be a mystery.
Ann Johnson-Murphree books at:
Reflection on conception, an unwanted
soul cast away because of greed. An
image of the future, lost in time, starvation,
did not kill the seed.
It lived, did not go away, destiny or fate,
Life without love surrounded by hate.
Yoke around the neck at birth, emotional
Scars during its journey on earth.
Tomorrows’ path long and steep, search
The past, a need to prove why hurt and
Anger ran deep. Truth in abandonment
Can be found, sanity and sorrow closely
And then they say “goodbye”.
Thank you for your support…
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The school dance was like a garden
full of scented wallflowers, in the
distance the record player grinded
out hollow music.
Some stirrings could be found on the
smooth gym floor, the non-stirrers
glazed over eyes looked as if they
wanted to cry.
Would the spell be broken, or would
the scented wall fall asleep, or would
they at last dart for the levered doors
returning to their homes and live like
Then rose the coldest fear of all, silent
as if blind and dumb the feet would not
move though I wanted to run.
Gently a strong young hand pulled me to
the floor…yes, yes, yes, I was a wallflower
During my childhood fear was not
something I gave thought too; had
I… my adventures at Poole’s Pond
would never have taken place.
Old man Poole dug out the pond for
his cow’s, surrounded by pine trees,
Kudzu and filled with muddy water.
To me it was a swimming hole that
was deep with still stagnant water
under the hot Alabama sun. I lay in
the tall grass among the Kudzu after
hanging my overalls on the stump of
an old rotten pine.
I would squint my eyes pretending that
the clouds were angels looking down on
me, protecting me. Hidden from view by
the Honeysuckle lined road no one could
see a naked sun baked six year old.
I would beat the russet colored water with
a stick carefully watching the ripples rise
and fall. I watched as the water snakes
raced toward the red clay bank as cooling
themselves had ended with my arrival.
I would dress and run down the dusty old road,
bare feet, and wet braids; shadows would be
falling across the side of Burleson Mountain
behind our little Clapboard shack. Sometimes
I would linger a bit too long taking in the
mellow scent of the apple orchard.
It is scenes like this that I play over and over
in my mind, times when the world was new and I
could slip away to my favorite place. Thoughts
of the past tugs at my soul when I think of the
angel clouds and the warmth of the old swimming
When that little girl runs barefoot across my mind,
braids bouncing, kicking up red dust hurrying home
to her daddy, my heart fills joy. It is then that
I hear that deep southern voice stilled so very long
ago, “Hon, you stay away from that Pond”.
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