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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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

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Artwork below – Author’s – Acrylics and Watercolor

Waiting for Daddy…#28

A languid sky, a lazy breeze moved the cotton stalks rolling like an emerald sea, the crimson dirt warm between my toes.  I stood in the middle of my pretend sea, my imagination open within itself creating my own world.  A world I sometimes had to hide in quietly as not to be seen or heard.

Through the rays of the afternoon sun, I could see the pasture with a cool creek winding among several old oaks where a tire swing hung.  I moved my arms swimming through the tall stalks gazing at the sky making my way to a nearby clover field.

The only noise was that of a braying mule, Soap Sticks. The swish of a Hawk flew over my head, riding upon a warm Southern breeze watching for the signs of field mice.  I drowsily heard the pounding of my daddy’s big red Roan on the nearby dirt road, I knew that Buttermilk my old dog would be running beside him; it was time to go home. 

It was Sunday, the only day my mother was home. Today I rode upon the emerald green sea toward a world of imagination toward jungle trees where I could climb high above the dangers of the land.  I drank cool water from a babbling brook and hid in a field of soft lush grasses.  I was not afraid of the strange noises floating through the air or the giant bird of prey.  I waited, unafraid until I heard my Knight in shining armor, my daddy found me, upon his big red horse followed by a gentle dog came to rescue me.  It was now safe to go home.

Love and Peace

Elizabeth

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Artwork by Author – Acrylics – Daisy’s under a cloud covered moon. A Dragonfly pulling sweet nectar from a single Daisy. Daisy’s feed upon Wild Iris’s near a pond, they go back and forth from flower to flower.

Run Don’t Walk…#24

Life is a struggle, nights daring to

dream under God’s blue or black veil,

wasted youth and bitter truth? 

Days and nights wandering through

jagged valleys of pain, climbing mountains

built of chaos.  My words left unheard,

 knots of certainty and answers left tied traveling

a rough road of living that sometimes show

upon the bones of time. 

Wind has scattered feelings across the land

of hurt as tears, fall upon the dust of shattered

Soul’s remains of wanting happiness and love.   

Must one be cheated of any dreams, are we

safe with them, heart and soul like sewing the

torn heart back together, the torn fabric of life.

The tarnished needle will leave scars and pain.

Love and Peace

Elizabeth

Author’s notes:  Has someone subjected you to these atrocities.

1. Humiliating or embarrassing you.  Has someone done this to you in front of your family or friends?

2. Constantly putting you down.  Has someone made fun of how you are dressed, hair and clothes?

3. Subjecting you to hypercriticism.  Continues to judge you on everything you do.

4. Refusing to communicate or giving you the silent treatment.  Never home to communicate.  However when you are both home, do you have conversations.

5. Ignoring or excluding you.  Does this someone ignore you are makes only plans for them to attend, excluding you.

6. Having extramarital affairs.  Does the person you are talking about “cheat”?

7. Displaying provocative behavior with someone of the opposite sex.  Does this happen to you often.

8. Use of sarcasm and an unpleasant tone of voice at your expense.  Yes, all the time.

9. Unreasonable jealousy.  Never jealous, does not care enough to be jealous.

10. Extreme moodiness.  Always!

11. Making mean-spirited jokes or constantly making fun of you.  Continuously.

12. Saying, “I love you, but …”.  Saying I love you without it being true.

13. Saying things like, “If I did not have you _____.  If you have ever heard these words, they are wrong.  

14. Attempts at domination and control.  No attempts, actually does control all the time.

15. Withholding sex or affection.  No, just was never a question, but this person did enjoy his time “out”.

16. Subjecting you to guilt trips.  All the time.

17. Making everything your fault.  Yes, continuously. 

18. Isolating you from friends and family.  Did you have to give up “your” friends and only have friendship he chose?

19. Using money to control you.  No, you were the breadwinner!

20. Constant calling or texting you when you are not together.  No, they do not care enough to call or text.

21. Threatening to commit suicide if you leave.  Constantly.

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Artwork by Author

Heart of Stone…#23

A heart of hate belonging to another whose eyes could cut into a soul like a swordsman’s steel.  The tiny figure ever so small always stiff and frozen.  The elders face burning with passionate hatred and dislike caused trembling and terror.  A Heart of stone, no tears would ever fall from those eyes that could bring harm with only a glance.  A quietness on the outside, a certain charm; the soul metaphorically carried arrows and sling that could pierce and bruise.  The invisible hands of hate tore apart a child’s heart and it would forever lay slit open.  After decades of trying to be loved, the tiny figure grew into an adult, one day buried the Heart of Stone, and found themselves growing old; old body, old memories.  The thought of the another who had been gone for years still put fear into the old soul that never forgets the Heart of Hate.     

Love and Peace

Elizabeth

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cropped-12.30.2018.jpg

Author’s note:  I have been thinking of the many words or phrases that I have used throughout my life when thinking of a heart that knew nothing but hate.  It is not possible to know at what age a child can begin to think of the personality of their parents or their own.  Impersonal, uninvolved, closed, shutdown.

A parent that is detached, distant, characterizes a schizoid personality disorder, which–at their extreme–cold people can sometimes be); a parent that is self-absorbed, withdrawn, emotionally unavailable, unfeeling, affectionless; unsmiling–straight-faced (or stone-faced/ stone heart), cold-hearted, no empathy or compassion, angry, hostile.  This was my mother!

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The artwork by the Author is acrylics on canvas. First, Native American medicine man, middle, Native American mother and child, third right Native American family Acrylics.