Archive for May 2017

If it be but just a trace…


If it be but just a trace I leave in this world,

not a footprint for some to find or follow,

if it be but just an impression, my words or deeds

said or done once upon a time or place,

or even just a hope it be remembered today,

or maybe even tomorrow,

it is enough. I’ll not seek to strive for more,

for it may be just a trace

that impacts another’s life, or just tucked inside their heart.

Then it will be a life well lived,

not one gone with remorse or regret,

for that trace, I leave behind

is enough because it’s mine.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

This post was done for the Daily Post word prompt. https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/trace/


Pearl Harbor – USS Arizona Memorial – a shrine to lives lost during the attack, Dec. 7, 1941

While on a recent trip to Hawaii we visited the memorial site of the USS Arizona battleship, bombed and sunk off the coast of Honolulu, December 7,  1941. It lay entombed in the bottom of the sea along with other sunken ships when the harbor came under a surprise attack early that Sunday morning by the Japanese, and our country entered the war, historically known as World War II. The memorial site is a very solemn, subdued place of quiet reflection. We took the boat over to the memorial site of the USS Arizona and wondered what it was like to live through that time as a U.S. soldier or sailor called up to serve in a war that nearly destroyed all of our Pacific fleet, one that spread for miles off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii. As our boat drew closer to the site of the memorial we could see a film of oil that never dissipates, but settles in a pool at the top of the gun turret. There were over 1,000 men alone who lost their lives on the Arizona battleship. Below are pictures of the ship, the memorial site and the marble wall with all the engraved names of the lost that went down with the Arizona.

The memorial to the USS Arizona battleship as seen from the shoreline.

A portion of the USS Arizona battleship seen above the waterline, believed to be the gun turret. The remainder of the ship sits below the waterline, still in tact. It remains that way more than 70 years after the attack, a shrine to all those lost.

The marble wall inside the memorial with over 1,000 names of all the men lost on the sinking of the battleship, USS Arizona.

 

There are few survivors of World War II left to tell their stories. Most are now gone. But, their stories are documented, captured on film and video, told and retold to the many visitors to Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii. They are written into the pages of history like the lives lost that experienced the horror.

If you are a military veteran or serving in the military now, or a family member of one I hope your Memorial Day holiday will be blessed, and that you will have family and friends to celebrate it with you. Thank you for your service. We will never forget and can never repay you for what you have done in the service of your/our country.

As we are perhaps in maybe the greatest of all battles of historic times, to win the fight against radicalized Islamic terrorists, and those who want to destroy us with their terror and carnage we can only pray and continue on with the fight, to eradicate the evil that conspires to destroy all that we have, and are about and hope for a better tomorrow, and a better world, that one day we will all live in peace and harmony together, without fear.

Happy Memorial Day to you and yours.

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Footnotes: For more information on the USS Arizona memorial you can find it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Arizona_Memorial

Hallowed treasure

 

 

 

The captain shut off the engine and steered the boat in, closer to the caves deep under the volcanic mountains off Kauai’s Na Pali coast. The low tide sent rippling waves to the shoreline just feet from where the caves opened up. What could not be seen beyond the cavernous entrance could only be imagined as the site opened up to what looked like a mysterious, enchanted place to explore. The boat drifted, rocking gently on a calm sea. Sunrays burst through the opening enveloped by the bright light.

I stood near the bow of the boat snapping pictures, awed by the beauty of these volcanic mountains with their ridges and crevices revealing the effects of time and erosion from the lava flows after eruptions that now were full of vegetation and growth. Older generations of native Hawaiians believe these mountains to be hallowed, sacred places blessed by the gods of their ancestors. At one stop during our cruise our captain, himself a native Hawaiian blew loud notes from a conch shell pointed towards a small inhabited Hawaiian natives’ island where they alone occupy, and no visitors or tourists are ever allowed.

I let my mind and imagination wander as I watched and listened for any movement or sound expecting to see pirates bursting on the scene with drawn swords and guns. Native Hawaiians believed in the folklore and stories told by their ancestors with a deep reverent respect for their culture and historic accounts of the island’s beginnings and inhabitants believing them to be blessed by the gods. Was it just folklore or were there really ghosts that lurked and lived in the hallowed spaces deep in the volcanic mountains of Kauai? Even the fish seemed to scatter from the shallow water that was as blue as a sapphire and as clear as cut crystal. Did they fear a marauding band of pirates’ spears? What was it like here when the first island inhabitants came to shore with little else but the fish, wild boar, deer and goats to coexist with?

I tried to imagine a scene from Walt Disney’s, Pirates of the Caribbean when learning the movie was shot here at this site. I loved the movie. I remembered the adventure ride at Disneyland way back in the sixties when we lived in Los Angeles, and riding the boat through the water canal, never dreaming of its potential possibilities or future. Now, on this adventure to the site of the movie I thought, What incredible beauty! What a journey, cruising the waters, discovering this treasure on Jack Sparrow’s deep blue sea.

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

A tribute to Mothers, everywhere

A favorite photo taken last year on Mother’s Day of me with my girls, Stephanie on the left and Erika on the right.

TRIBUTE TO A MOTHER

Faith that withstood the shocks of toil and time;

Hope that defied despair;

Patience that conquered care;

And loyalty, whose courage was sublime;

The great deep heart that was a home for all –

Just, eloquent, and strong

In protest against wrong;

Wide charity, that knew no sin, no fall;

The Spartan spirit that made life so grand,

Mating poor daily needs

With high, heroic deeds,

That wrested happiness from Fate’s hard hand.

______________

Louisa May Alcott 

These are not my words, but those of Louisa May Alcott, who authored the book, Little Women, a favorite of mine. But as a mother and grandmother I can relate to her words and thoughts as I think back on my years raising my now grown girls. And now, as a grandmother I am happy and blessed to have opportunity to help and offer much in the raising of my grandchildren as well. The one thing that I feel is the most vital and essential to raising children in this world today, as in the past, is a strong faith in God, and the courage it takes to stand strong and unwavering. As parents we can only do our best. Yet we make mistakes, sometimes many of them, but when I look back at the way my girls have raised their children and my youngest still in the process of doing so I am rewarded in knowing that not only did I give it my best, but it paid off and I am blessed and proud to have daughters who reflect the same values I stood for and taught them as a mother.

I want to wish every mother and grandmother out there today, a Happy Mother’s Day. God bless you. It is indeed the greatest and most challenging of all jobs but worth every moment. Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Posted May 13, 2017 by Joyce in Poems, poetry

Tagged with , , ,

Reflecting back

This photo was taken from the boat’s stern while on a sunset cruise off the coast of Kaua’i Island, Hawaii while on a recent trip.

The sun goes down on

Kauai’s deep turquoise sea;

a peach colored sky

     reflecting soft images

on the breaking water’s tide

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Posted for The Daily Post https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/reflecting/

Kaua’i Island, Hawaii

KAUA’I

Where coconut palm branches sway

to a hula dance in the breeze

and boisterous exotic birds

with their chorus choir fly,

and seagulls swoop in

as the fowl stroll lazily by.

 

Where turquoise water rolls in

and flows rhythmically to shore,

and marine mammals lie

near incoming lapping tides.

And surfers catch the swells, riding waves to shore

and swimmers snorkeling, barely seen

in search of what lies beneath.

 

Across dense fields sugarcane plants grow wild

tall and green with thick leaves blowing in the wind

and the ground full with pineapple,

papaya, nuts, taro, and other fruit.

Acres and acres of coffee beans grown,

roasted and harvested in robust blends and ground.

 

We drive up roads and climb

through canyon valleys and see

such picturesque sublime beauty, it’s hard to imagine

how volcanic mountains and lava caves

are now covered in foliage so lush and green.

 

We look out on a never-ending sea

and all I want is to gaze at the sight,

not think what waits beyond this day,

put aside thoughts about the ‘latest news,’

what goes on in the rest of the world,

and dwell instead on what I came to see

across the Pacific on the island of Kauai.

_______________

 

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

Footnotes: This is the first of several pictures and posts of my recent trip to Kauai Island, Hawaii. The above picture I took of the upper east side when we pulled off the road and stopped to take pictures.

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