Friday, April 17, 2015

Special Feature--(In Memory 1911-2011)--Virginia Johe--United States

Virginia Johe --(In Memory 1911-2011)

It is privilege to share poetry from talented writers that are no longer with us.  It is a reminder that our words live beyond a lifetime.  Virginia Johe is the mother of jani johe webster and the grandmother of Nila Webster, who penned her bio below.  It is Whispers’  first three generation family of writers. What a joy to publish their words!

                                         Sincerely--Karen O’Leary--Editor

A Lesson

I have learned my lesson well --
heard the ringing of the bell --
no more saying "Yes"
when I'm really thinking "No"
I'm important to myself.

Virginia Johe (1911 - 2011) began to write poetry after she lost her beloved husband of over fifty years. She did this with the encouragement of her daughter, Rochester poet jani johe webster. jani, who is my mother, and who taught me the magic of creative writing, saw this great grief consuming her mother's life, and bought my grandmother Virginia an electric typewriter. Virginia set up a work area and began to type out her grief in the form of poetry. With jani's help, she submitted poetry to print journals for many years. This poem was written shortly after her husband's death, in 1980.


  1. Wow, these are very poignant words. It feels such a loss to not have such depth of creativity at our fingertips, so indeed, we are so blessed to read her here on Whispers. May her soul rest in peace. Sheri

  2. Reading this... well, it just about broke me... I could not speak a work aloud right now, if pressed.

    It is beautiful, beyond words.

  3. Brave words to share a very important piece of oneself.

  4. Unfortunately, women are often overextending themselves. I like the way this poet realized and verbalized it in such a succinct manner.

  5. What a nice way to honor this lady. Thank you to Nila for re-writing this to be posted.
    David Fox

  6. A timeless piece. Knowing its origins adds a beautiful pose to the piece. Thank you so much for sharing this poem,that says so much. Ralph.

  7. I was really touched by these poignant lines! And thanks to Nila for having posted them in memory of her grandmother.


  8. I give great thanks to every poet who took the time to read this poem and comment, and I echo Michael Todd's comment: reading these observations also broke me, in a beautiful way. I think back to my grandmother's work area and her sincere determination to express her loss and grief in the form of poetry. Poetry helped her heal. Reading Whispers also helps me and poeple around the world heal, by seeing our emotions and struggles captured and expressed. I know my grandmother Virginia Johe woud say, upon seeing her work shared in such a beautiful venue, "If that don't beat all." She would also give great thanks to all of you for your support and kindness. Special thanks to Karen O'Leary for this incredible journal that travels around the world.

    1. Dear Nila,

      It was a special privilege to publish your grandmother's poem, my friend. Writing has helped me heal to as it has for many. Thank you so much for sharing this tribute to Virginia.


  9. A very poignant poem which was a pleasure to read I sure she will be greatly missed but her muse lives on!

  10. Thank you, Beth Winchcombe, for the following--

    This is a lesson we should all learn. We're most of us guilty of saying " Yes" and thinking " NO".


  11. Her words share in simplicity what it often takes a long time to discover in therapy, that being true to oneself is the answer to healing of the heart. This is where poetry can be such a cathartic gift. Thank you for this lovely tribute to your grandmother Nila. Sharing her words keeps her legacy profoundly alive. Blessings, Connie

  12. Great piece, thanks for sharing! Love the simplicity.

  13. Wow. What a lovely poem. It is apparent that creativity and expression of words are a delightful gift of the Webster family. I truly enjoy Nila and jani's poetry, and now I'm blessed to view and meditate upon the works of another blessed poet. Thank you, Karen, for featuring some of Virginia's work and carrying on the memory of another who's work should continue on.

    Continued blessings, Nila, as you carry on such a great work.

    -MJ (