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 –
A worthy piece to share from Ernest Slyman’s Facebook Page…Please share
“When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.
One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.
And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.”
Cranky Old Man
What do you see nurses? ……What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, … …not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .… … . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice …the things that you do.
And forever is losing … …… A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not … … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding … .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am … . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .… . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .… .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen … .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now …… a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty … ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now … . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide … And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .… . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other …. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ‘round my knee,
Again, we know children … . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me … . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … … . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .… young of their own.
And I think of the years … And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man … … .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age … … . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone … where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again … . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys … . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living … … . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few …. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact … that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .… . .… open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer … . see .. .…. …. . ME!!
Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!
In the emerald clover field,
love concealed; shapes made
aware, breathing in the
morning air. Secret love,
clandestine thoughts roam;
times lost forget home; heart
ignores evil, wrong sheds away;
dreams are of only today. Love
freely given without consideration
there in the clover field under heaven.
eBooks at Amazon.com
A bronze box dressed in a garland of
magnolias, gloved hands, no longer
moving with grace, pale is the cold
emaciated face, no longer slim, showing
deep folds, no one can see the beauty of
her soul. Profiled by a stain-glassed pane,
the only people there were those who would
Once flesh and blood that charmed the most
handsome of men with her rosy cheeks finally
became old, feeble and weak. Relatives sat
troubled with bitter sneers, and unread “Will”
drove them to fear, her last thoughts about
Sitting in the front pew her withered old lover
was on everyone’s mind, to her his heart he gave,
stood by her side ever so brave. It was he that
watched the skeleton form, no longer omitting a
beautiful scent; it was he that watched in horror
as her beauty went.
When death appeared at the door, tears he finally
wept, yet the old lover did not sway in the constant
vigil he kept. He lit a candle for hope, his violin
soft and clear filled her room; he fought imminent
Once irresistible lovers lying face to face, he did
wonder if she were paying for their lifetime of sins.
One last time she opened her fathomless eyes, her
smile gripped his soul, he could not live without
her, he too would die and their story would never
The relatives that watched as he leaned forward
seemingly in prayer, their hearts filled with fault
and foolishness they did not care. Sate-less was
their greed, serpents that had waited for this long
awaited death, missed the joining of two lover’s
souls when the flame of life left his heart.
He and his Lady would walk together in eternity, the
lovers who were destined to be together from the very
start. Proud lovers that lay side by side, and danced to
the sound of a single violin, together again…husband,
wife, lovers and friends.
Let me find the river of forgetfulness,
give me a small patch of idleness,
and someone to love, pure air, serene
unexploited oceans. Send me angels
with hope, time filled with mystery, the
means of understanding. Let me
appreciate tearful prayers, lift the winter
and bring the spring light. Let me not
fear the powerful ghosts in the nightfall;
let the extended hands of God shroud my
aching soul. Let me gather beauty, have a
prideful heart, be a defender of those with
heavy hearts; lighten madness to match that
of a butterfly wing. Let me mirror happiness,
be unafraid of nightmares and unknown
things. Echo my thoughts to the Heavens, let
me be an earthly beacon of dignity; help me
walk purposefully from age to age before dying
on the glittering sands of eternity.
What lies beyond the
wooded valleys and
mountains, the oceans,
moon, sun; will it all
one-day fade into time
without end; eternity.
Will the spirit move with
nimbleness and with
fantasy; will time without
end be ecstasy.
Will everything be pure and
divine, will love replace the
hate that lives today in earths
Will pain and fatigue no longer
exist; will only tranquil and
exciting wonders live within
Heaven’s glorious mist.
Like the Morning Doves, will all
have wings to come and go
unafraid of flight; to enjoy a mystical
life; one love, one language, one
understanding for all, is this what
Heaven will bring?
Living and Breathing a Patchwork Life…
Yes, the loss of my children four years ago still leaves a numbness and disbelief, tears within, anger and helplessness, sadness and depression from which there is no relief; yet I continue to survive.
Numbness is a gift, but when it wears off a deep pain and loneliness set in, family and friends return to their normal lives; your life will never be normal again, grief has changed it forever. Then the “firsts” begin…the first Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Easter, then the hardest, the “birthday”. Books, articles and such will tell one that the first year is the worse, well maybe, but it may not be and if you are one of those people who face every day as another first; that is all right too. If the healing never begins that is all right too! You may be one of those people that believe that the pain is keeping the memories alive and you do not want to forget; or have the memories dim.
I will tell you that coping gets easier as the years go by, your life will never be normal again, your loved one(s) are gone. However, coping does take place in your life, like a cut…the scars of your loss covers the pain where others cannot see; you are coping. I cope by trying to spend or share special moments like birthdays with family, it helps me to hide what is truly going on inside. Am I a “wreak”…only on the inside, that no one sees; I wear many mask, many hats, I am a master of concealing my feelings. Nevertheless, I ask that you be gentle with yourself if possible.
I try to remember: “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. – John 16:22″… I hope that the words that I have read and have written are true.
Thus, 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.
In the distant sky brooding
clouds roll, like boulders
between our souls, mine
trapped in human form;
yours in heaven gracefully
A tear, a prayer, is that your
light flickering from afar, my
eyes are dim I can no longer
cry; still I cannot say good-bye.
I had no power to save you,
weakness lies within me,
bitterness follows me in my
dreams; nothing will ever be
the same, nothing is truly, as
Imagine being on the edge
of eternity where hours have
no end, is there day and night,
are the stars close and bright.
Does the moon hang below
Heavens invisible veil; do the
stars hang by silvery threads,
and are the clouds soft like
Are there beings living on planets
scattered throughout the Universe,
are their lives better or worse; do
they have a God like ours, do they
have greater powers.
Is there actually a Heaven and Hell,
are these places fiction or fact; only
time will tell, in truth one must die…
to find if paradise exist or if it was
all just a lie.
Imagine being without sorrow or pain,
if it is all true, we have nothing to lose
and everything to gain; we can allow
our imagination to wander away; but
remember to live life day-by-day.