Bangles and Colorful Cloth for Ma…#36

“Dedicated to my Great-Grandmother”

Dearest Ma…When I was born, you were 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 the 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 mothers 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 on her ear, 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  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 at the nap of her neck she 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 while saying, and don’t you ever cry.  I was fifteen-year old and the world was bright and colorful with natures artwork of fall, a befitting day to bury this beautiful and proud Chickasaw. 

Love and Peace

Elizabeth

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Ma was my daddy’s Grandmother and my great-great-grandmother and Aunt Francis help raise me; it was during a more simplistic time.  My memories of them are treasures.

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Another spring for Aunt Francis…#35

Her knees bent forward away from the worn-out rocker then she begins to lift her massive body, her legs shook trying to become steady.   She made a wrinkled brow while looking out the window at the garden filled with spring flowers.   Everything dies she thought; soon the fragrance of spring will be gone. 

She narrows her eyes looking into the hedgerow at the end of her flowerbed to see if the sparrow hawks had returned, slowly she turns keeping contact with the old rocking chair, holding onto its arms.  After one-hundred wonderful and heartbreaking springs, her soul still feeds upon the emotions of the sweet-scented honeysuckle growing around her front porch. 

Holding her breath she falls back into the chair, it shudders under her weight. She knows not to take being able to stand for granted.  Closing her eyes to rest, bible in hand, and her thoughts were none other than upon another spring.  Maybe!

Love and Peace

Elizabeth

Author’s Note:  Aunt Francis as she told me to call her lived on this earth over 100 years.  Born in 1865 was the daughter of slaves.  She always thought herself as being watched over by the Angels, her mother and father were never sold, they were still together at the end of the War. 

Her given name was Sarah Francis, her parents owners were Hunnicutt’s of Winston County, Alabama. She came into my life when I was six years old.  My daddy needed someone to watch over my great-grandmother and me while he was in the cotton fields, he was a sharecropper.  My mother worked in town and she would come home after we were all in bed and she would be gone before most of us got up.

Aunt Francis was a very old woman when she came to live with us.  Daddy had gone to the cotton gin in Priceville, Alabama, pulling a trailer of cotton with his tractor.  When he returned in the trailer where the cotton once lay was Aunt Francis sitting in her old rocking chair.  Beside her a huge trunk which held all of her worldly belongings.   She lived in a little one room rustic shack that use to be a storage shed near our house. Our house which was three shotgun rooms with front and back porch, it was no more than a “tar paper” shack. The entire house was covered with a wrap siding that looked like brick.  Fake brick!

My mother was very unhappy with the situation.  She disliked Ma as we called my daddy’s grandmother, living with us, Ma was a full-blooded Native American, Chickasaw.  In my mother’s own words “Now I have to put up with two old women.  Daddy sometimes would say to me, “You know Hun, your mama believes she married beneath her upbringing”, I would be much older when I understood the implications of what he said.  I also felt bad for my mother she had made the mistake of marrying my daddy. To me he was one of the most strong, kind, dark, handsome men I would ever know.

Therefore, I grew up learning how to act, live and survive; these lessons came from my daddy, Ma and Aunt Francis.  I was a young woman when I lost both of these wonderful women.  Ma along with my daddy had given me full knowledge of “The Ways” of their people, the nobility and strength.  Aunt Francis gave me the meaning of life and how to survive, she also, gave me graciousness, and how a young woman should act.  I doubt that I have lived up to their expectations of me, but I have tried.

When I returned to Alabama to attend the funeral of Aunt Francis, it had to be one of the darkest days in my life.  My daddy had taken care of her until the day she died.  She moved into town when daddy left the farm, he rented her a place and paid her rent.  He gave her spending money and brought groceries from a list she always had prepared for him. My heart aches at the thought of how much she meant to me and my daddy.

Later in life I painted a picture of Aunt Francis in Acrylics, I wanted her to be young and alive.  I have the picture today.  Then much later I begin to write poetry, naturally the picture created “Another Spring for Aunt Francis”.  She did get one more spring after that last one, and I have to smile at remembering her huge body walking across the creaky boards of that old tarpaper shack.  The long dress covered with a starched white apron.  Most of all I remember her hugs and kisses, she loved me and I loved… still love her.  

E.

Aunt Francis painted in acrylics

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Altered Senses…#34


Existence, scene after scene, characteristic of life’s environment, and promises that reveal nothing, the past descends like rain from the sky, washing away all dreams.  Phantoms of youth chanting within the soul, paths blocked; evil has spread across the landscape of a lifetime.  Loneliness limits love and happiness; boundaries slow down the process of moving into the future shrouded with abundant solitude from where there is no escape.  Rethink the future!

Love and Peace

Elizabeth

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Artwork by Author – Acrylics and Watercolor

Second Chance…#33

Do you have nightmares?  Have you ever dreamed of walking through a gateway into to the city of doom; and each night when you sleep do you open that door walking into another sphere of everlasting pain, mentally and physically.  No one pushes you through the gate, you walk willingly, and do you feel confident that you can handle the tragedy that you know will be waiting there for you.  Tucked deep inside that confidence is there fear; within the fear are there secret things, distrust and lies.

It is the darkness that you believe is the most evil; sometimes does a blood red moon framed by the stars hang above you.  Hearing strange tongues frightful and shrill, filled with anger, strike fear into your heart.  Do you sometimes weep as the outcries reach your ears, as maybe you do not have a stainless claim to your own life?  Do you fear for the souls you hear, even the depths of hell may refuse them and they will be lost forever in the darkness.

Do you question if there is hope with death, will you have memories of the earth and of the lives that remain when you are gone?  The souls that you hear are loud, their tears are blood red, and each is crawling in vile mud.  Do you lower your eyes?   Do you believe that they will have rebirth, if they lived in blaspheming is this terrible wailing their fate.

Does a bitter flood rushed over you as each pass you to their final resting place?  They seem conscious of their approaching doom.  It is in this darkness that each were given another chance to feel the love of God upon their faces, they refused. Afterwards the ground broke from beneath their feet, did you seem to be sinking with them to a senseless dreadful shore and are you afraid that you will not wake from this nightmare.  This is my fear, that I too will be lost forever before I can wake; will we have a second chance?

Love and Peace

Elizabeth

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Artwork by Author – Acrylics and Watercolor

Dwelling in Self-Darkness…#32

Insightful.  You are neither a coward nor a saint, your thoughts are clear, you have a plan and you are open to change.  This will never take place because there are times when you live in that “Superficial Place”, where no one can get to you, where no one knows you, where you are not bothered.  There is no place to flee; flickering thoughts dash across your mind; you ask the question,   was you born too early in the Earth’s period of time, or maybe too late.  At night you dream of heaven, travel from star to star, there is no plan.  You wish that you could live in that dark realm, there looking toward Earth. Heaven may never be opened t, nor Hell; this is the dream, the darkness of night, it was a strange descent into reality.

The place that you will dwell is not for the faint hearted, it is on this path that truth will be open to you.  There are no more delays to this life; there will be no more unspoken words.  The only drama you know is truth.  Travel forward on this hard and dreadful way within the circle of Earth. 

Love and Peace

Elizabeth

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Artwork by Author below – Acrylics and Watercolor

Sanity and Sorrow…#31

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; it 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, but sanity and sorrow are closely bound. 

Love and Peace

Elizabeth

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Artwork below – Author’s – Acrylics and Watercolor

The Kudzu Vine…#30

Beneath the small caves near my old home place… Burleson Mountain everyone knows that the rich greenery abundantly grows.  Rocks, buildings, fences, the fields; a smothering vine with no special appeal.

Visitors to the land are amazed at how it frames the caves; to a southerner it is like a pest that will not go away.  The vine attaches itself to anything; it is not particular it does not care a thriving sort that grows everywhere.

Worthless, you cannot eat it; it is never big enough to give you a shade. Yet it does have its own beauty as its greenery cascades over the side of the rocky cliff below the caves.

It adds beauty to the tops of tarpaper shacks; entwines the cotton stalk a problem for pickers with a sacks on their back.  People who live where the Kudzu grows have made their peace with this dark green neighbor, they understand.  It is deep-rooted deep in the south’s history, when you think of Kudzu…you think of Dixie Land.

Love and Peace

Elizabeth

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree


AUTHOR’S NOTE: Kudzu is not a southerner’s friend.  It is like the shadows of evening melting into the Eastern sky.  It has no practical use, maybe it does as it hangs around forever covering anything that does not move.


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Author’s Artwork: Alabama cotton fields Cir. 1850 – Acrylics and Watercolor