The Essence of Paradise…#327

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The Essence of Paradise

Joyful simplicities are a means 
to survive, inspiration keeps the 
soul alive, watching seasons as 
they have come and gone.  One 
survives year after year, as the 
heart continues on the journey 
to where it belongs.
Attend to life’s garden reach for 
impossible dreams.  Let the 
mind seek what it envisions, look 
beyond all of the tomorrows and 
do not settle for only what the 
eyes can see.
Learn to shed the skins of time
 never give up hope, the path 
leading to dreams will be
 easier to find, walk hand in 
hand with a true love during
 a warm misty spring.  Drink 
in the aromas of life and it 
will bring back memories of 
the essence of paradise.

©2021.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Elizabeth Ann Johnson Murphree | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

Black Feathered Angels…#323

Black Feathered Angels

Old memories, new memories,

memories last for a lifetime.    

Unstinted buried deep hidden

from the surface of the mind. 

As I sit on steps where paint is

peeling and rotting I have but

one thought.  Childhood is dead.

Some memories refuse to stay

buried, I see a small country

church, a chorus of crows; the

splashing sounds of a brook

running through Birch trees.

The wind caressing the

colossal row of Oaks in the

nearby field.

Death, departing the small

weathered house of worship,

a wagon pulled by six black

horses, and a manifestation

of black feathered angels.  A

sad memory, a heart has been

silenced, and a rocker on a

porch stilled.  Everyone we

love soon leaves us. 

©2021.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Books by Author at Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com:

1.            Fragments of Time

2.            A Passage into Madness

3.            Asterial Thoughts

4.            A Sachet of Poetry

5.            Rutted Roads

6.            Rhythm Rhyme and Thoughts

7.            Reflections of Poetry

8.            Beyond the Voices

9.            Honeysuckle Memories

10.          Echoing Images from the Soul

11.          A Journey into the Soul

Bitter Recollection…#322

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Bitter Recollection…

A crystal moon,

a frozen branch

waving outside a

window, a fire, ash

blowing in the air,

a charred log;

memories, extensive

and angry, like a

paper chain flowing

in the wind of life. 

Remember, the day,

the hour, each day, each

hour, destiny, insistently

climbing, seeking,

nothing in life is forgotten.

©2021.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree 

The poem was created from an excerpt from a novella rough draft called “Memories”.

Bitter recollection, the crystal moon glowing nestled in a bed of shining stars.  A frozen branch beating against the ice covered windowpane.  A fire now a bed of black ash being pulled up the chimney into the night air.  Memories come and go some widespread, some angry, linked together like a paper chain trailing behind me in life.  I remember the day, hour, was it my destiny?  I reach for tomorrow, guarding my life’s memories; I do not want to forget.




#Bitterness

#Poem

Big Willie…#319

Artwork – Elizabeth Ann Johnson Murphree

Big Willie…

When days get bad within my mind,

I travel back to another time.  The

fog clears, the memory unfolds to a

gentle soul, a man among men.

I was only a child but he was my friend.

He was child of a slave woman, he was

The Masters son. 

Everyone called him Big Willie, though

when I knew him he had shriveled with

old age, a religious man, he could read

the bible without ever turning a page.

Big Willie looked upon life steadily, he

felt alive and whole, he road an old

rusty bicycle wherever he would go. 

He lived in a little house on my daddy’s

land, they respected each other, man

to man.

We buried Big Willie one cold gloomy

day, I did not understand why my best

friend had to go away.  Daddy placed a

marker upon his grave, when he bought

it he looked at me asking besides his

name what should it say.

An imaginary child even in those days, of

my childhood friend I knew exactly what I

wanted the marker to display.

IN HIS YOUTH HE WAS NEITHER DULL NOR

WILD, HE WAS KNOW AS BIG WILLIE THE

MASTERS CHILD.”

©2012.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Micro Poetry – Recalling of Time…#303

Recalling of Time

Memories, the past has many doors to open, one could spend a lifetime in these corridors of time.  Rooms bulging with stories good and bad; they rise to fill our minds with happiness, joy or sadness.  Like soft petals falling to the ground, so does the memory of our life fall gently upon our hearts?

©2021.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Juncture of the River…#66

Memories are like rivers flowing through

The landscapes of our minds, liquid

Thoughts waiting for the right moment to

Trickle into tiny brooks and flow back in our

Sight.  One by one, we pluck them from the

Pools of recollection that form at rivers edge.

Each juncture, a story finds life and reveals

The lost memory to us, fresh and sometimes

Changing as some things forgotten returns.

The colors may become more vivid and the

Happiness or sadness, more or less intense.

Tales of yesteryear pass through our minds,

Hearts and souls keeping our past alive,

Renewing our hopes, reminding us of our

Forgotten dreams.  Renewing our sense of

Being a part of something great and lasting.

Then there is silence, the rushing waters of

Memories are stilled, the sun rises and sets

As days go by, some more quickly than others.

We turn down a road; look up at the sky,

Watch the landscape change, become

Recognizable, our hearts leap, our souls have

A smile and we are once again gliding down

The river of our memories into the wonders

Of our always conscience minds.

©2019.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Poetry the Beauty of Words…#50

Sylvia Plath

I believe that I have a “Sundry” of work filed away for safekeeping, I begin writing at the age of five or six; I spent summers with my Aunt Vina, my daddy’s sister.  She introduced me to libraries, Big Chief tablets and big pencils.  It was my job as she, my Uncle Wesley went to work, and I was under the care of the housekeeper, to write what I had done during the day.  Once dinner was over and bedtime neared, she would gather everyone to listen to my accounting of the day.

Of course, I had help with many of the words, but at least one paragraph emerged before the sun would set on Birmingham, Alabama.  These sentences included a walk to the local library, lunch, and the discovery of a dead bird, mouse or other creatures that made my Aunt Vina put her hands over her ears.  At summers end I would return home to Burleson Mountain, life was different there, very different.  No matter where I would hide my Chief tablet my mother would find it, throwing it into the stoves wood box.  This act would follow with a lecture on the waste of time my summers were, and that she might refuse to let me go the next summer, that threat she held over me no matter the day, month, year.  It took weeks of crying me to sleep before I adjusted to my mother and the anger she carried for me.

I grew from child to teen and I continued to write, keeping a journal, only to have my mother find them and toss them into the trash.  Years of stories and my life covered with last night’s dinner scraps.  I stopped writing.  I was still in my teens when I wrote a story, sent it off and received a letter back, not a form letter, but one that encouraged my writing, to find my voice.  Maybe I am still in search of that voice, sometimes I wonder!

This love of writing stayed buried until one day I signed up for a creative writing course at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Always on the back burner was the hope of writing.  My professor told me that I was a natural storyteller, but I would need to work on the many components of writing.  I did, and this took me right into retirement, yes, I had a day job.  It does not matter how much you want to spend your life creating or whatever your desire, your passion is; you must pay the bills.

With a decent steady income, I was free to write.  It sounds so easy when you think about it, but it took a long time staring at a blank page before my brain was jump started to create something, anything.  I had so many ideas and the short stories poured out of me, my computer folders were full and organized.  I could not send anything off…what if they rejected my newborn creation.  Well, they did, each time I placed them lovingly in a box that fit under my bed. 

Over a period of five years, I had enough rejection form letters to wallpaper any room in my tiny apartment.  This including my divorce papers, the lease on an apartment, title to a car, all of the things needed to survive as a single person.

Within the following years I discovered poetry, many forms, structured, non-structured.  I loved it all but my favorite was Sylvia Plath.  I felt that I knew her, and that my life was filled with drop-offs, pitfalls and bad luck.  I begin to write poetry about my life, nine poetry books later I wrote a bio of my daughter’s life she died in 2010, a picture book of my constant four-legged companion Mason and a coffee table book of my personal artwork.   I continue to wear many hats. I have begun work on my own life story; it may be the last chapter. 

This brings my post to full circle and a provocative question to readers and writers everywhere…is poetry dying.

 A character in the film Dead Poets Society said:

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

Wordsworth described poetry like this: “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings recollected in moments of tranquility”.

I believe that poetry has an important role and function in society, just as poets do. Poetry now, in its fundamental value, however, means nothing more than using relatable mental images in order to communicate profoundly significant truths about logic and life to human beings.

Peace and Love

Elizabeth

©2019.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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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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