Archive for February 2016

Leap Year

 

Every fourth year

there’s given another day

to do whatever,

or mark it a special way.

I’ll make a new memory,

and add it to all

my list that grows through the years.

Today too, I count

like each thankful breath I take,

and none taken for granted.

__________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016


Posted February 29, 2016 by Joyce in My Writings, Poems, poetry, Tanka poetry

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“The Greatest of These…”

The news last Friday of the passing of Harper Lee, author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize award for her bestselling novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, and her more recent, Go Set a Watchman was perhaps the spark that ignited the controversial civil rights movement. Her characters, Atticus Finch, his daughter, Scout and son, Jem became embroiled in the lives and events of their friends and neighbors. The fact that they lived in a town in Alabama’s south where their neighbors included both white and black people put them in difficult positions, while taking sides to defend that which they felt the need to preserve and protect; tolerance, equality and fairness, whatever one’s race or color, leaving an imprint on their lives from that day forward.

The subject matter she wrote about in her novels dealing with issues of race discrimination became nothing less than a volatile time bomb erupting during the civil rights era with the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., cutting short his realization of the ‘dream’ of equality for all, and his own fight to protect and preserve the same.

Today again, we see the rise of conflict, and a feverish animosity of hatred and intolerance whatever one’s color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or lifestyle. It is like the beginnings to a crescendo pitch of the civil rights era all over again with demonstrations, shootings and mistrust in a country that was founded on the principles of equality for all.

I was a teenager during the civil rights era and remember well the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and found myself on both sides of the conflict. I had friends who were black, but I also felt the fear of rape and victimization of those of color whom I felt I could not trust with good reason as I was stalked and followed home from work one night fearing I could not get home in time. We also lived close to black neighborhoods. Later, the aftermath and rape of one I knew, and having been a witness to the crime left me bitter, and fearful, living across the street from where it was committed.

But, it is the hate instilled in one’s heart, whether or not they inflict harm, or worse, death on one they stalk, or target that becomes an even worse crime.

February is designated as a month when Love is encouraged, emphasized and sold by the millions in advertised products and displays. But, need it be just one month, or one day only that we show kindness, love, fairness, equality, tolerance to those who are not only different from us in color or style? Can we truly choose to love one, regardless of who they are? Does it need be only the ‘dream’ of one man of color who lived his life in peace, and demonstrated it, so that love and equality could be realized in this world, not merely dreamed?

1 Corinthians, chapter 13 is known as the ‘Love chapter.’ It says in chapter 13:4-8 (NIV), “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” And, finally, in verse, 13, it says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

I choose to love.

_____________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016


Posted February 22, 2016 by Joyce in Essays, My Writings

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One wintry night


Branches that hang heavy with fresh fallen snow

on my blue Spruce trees; such a beautiful sight,

lit only by ice crystals under a glowing white sky,

they are but a few of my favorite things.

Cups of hot cocoa, and hearth fire, warm and bright,

a good book, and soft blanket as I curl up for the night.

I think on such things that are often too short;

they are there for a brief and passing moment,

like each day and time given to us,

gifts that our Heavenly Father bestows.

For all of His children with

loving kindness, He gives us His best,

and in all, it shows;

I shall not waste a single one,

for too quick they come, and then are gone.

But another season, another in time

is soon upon us, and I anticipate

all that is granted, for all is mine.

___________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016


“Not their last dance” (A Valentine’s Day poem/story)

Recipients, waiting for hearts

Pray faith imparts

What most they need

From one’s kind deed

~~

With hope the hearts that are reserved

For both preserved

That each receive

Will they believe

~~

Grant to them both extended life

Husband and wife

And not by chance

Be their last dance

________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

Footnotes; The above poem is called a “minute poem” according to the writersdigest.com site. It is named for having a total of sixty syllables because a minute has sixty seconds, thus giving it that name. The poem contains three (verse) quatrains, each having twenty syllables, in a four line stanza with the rhyming scheme done in aabb/ccdd/eeff/ rhyme fashion. Cutting some unnecessary words, rhyming with them all in their right position, can be tricky, so I reworked this one several times. I always look forward to receiving my quarterly issue of Writer’s Digest magazine as it is packed full of great information and articles for writers, and gives me opportunities to practice new forms of poetry.   

The above illustration is mine, written in a story form of a married couple, both needing heart transplants, and both receiving their new hearts at the same time. Because of Valentine’s Day coming up on February 14th (next Sunday) I have decided to use this poetic verse rhyme to tell my little story. I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day and enjoy  my little story. JEJ


Elevator Shaft

His hand gripped tightly. With grunting, gasping breaths he climbed up, and saw nothing but the tunnel of hard, cold steel that went on, endlessly in the claustrophobic tomb.

“Help!” He cried out.

Save your breath. It will only tax what energy you have left and be your downfall.

A hoarse cough broke from his parched throat.

My ‘downfall.’ Yeah! Done that! 
Don’t look down. The bottom is endless, too. Grab hold! Anything!

His feet felt like iron weights.

Climb! I can do this.

Please! Someone!”

The elevator shaft opened.

Light! Voices! 

Oh, thank God!

_______________

Psalm 31: 2, Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of rescue, a strong fortress to save me.  NIV, Old Testament

The above short story is fiction, but I used it as an illustration of the times when we need to be rescued from some trap or downfall, either by our own doing, or one of a literal sense. To acknowledge God, and His power to save, rescue and heal us, however it happens is when we need him most. The Psalms are full of the many stories and pleas of David, King of Israel who often found himself trapped by his enemies, or caught in literal or personal traps he’d set for himself. I’m thankful for the way God always provides us with a way of escape from that which the enemy sets up for us, either to catch us by surprise, or one placed there, warning us of what might come if we do not acknowledge Him, or seek His help .      

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016


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