Friday, January 15, 2016

From the Archives—Featuring Nila Webster, jani johe webster, and Virginia Johe

It is a special honor for me to share poetry from three talented women spanning three generations.  Nila is a light in the world, sharing free books with children, being an advocate for compassionate patient care, and encouraging others in various ways.  It is through her generosity that we have her mother, jani johe webster’s and her grandmother, Virginia Johe’s poetry to share with readers at Whispers. Thank you, Nila!

Sincerely,

Karen O’Leary—Whispers’ Editor

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Excerpt from The Gift of You, The Gift of Me
By Nila Webster

Thank you for
The color of joy
And the shape of love
For the shadows as dusk
For the mourning dove

Who coos in hours of gray
When life is sad
And we've lost our way

Thank you for life
And death
And life again

For the seed of hope
Born of each sad end
______________

This excerpt is from Nila J. Webster's picture book The Gift of You, The Gift of Me. She wrote the book in one sitting as a response in an incident of bullying, with the hope that honoring the beauty in nature, and in ourselves, will create a beautiful space where bullying will dissolve and be replaced by love and acceptance.  Nila has donated 100,000 books to children in her mother’s honor.

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sometimes
By jani johe webster--(In Memory-May 2013)

did you think sometimes
you were something else
like a mocking bird
or a weeping willow

did you walk sometimes
going backwards
or light candles
in the middle of the day

let's go then
where no ship has ever sailed
and spend our lives with falling stars
until we can spend
no more
______________

Thoughts from her daughter, Nila Webster--From her, I learned that in poetry, all things are possible: the moon "whispers silver secrets," tree roots gives us "wisdom," and, as she wrote in pure Zen-like fashion: "it is a gift / this day." She taught me to see poetry in every corner of the universe and my life, and even now that she is no longer physically present on this earth, I hear her whisperings of wonder.

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We Wonder
By Virginia Johe (In Memory-1911-2011)

What color is the rain
as it taps on our windowpane?
What color is a breeze
as it hides in the trees?

We wonder
what color is the air,
its fragrance sweet and rare?

What color is the sky --
gray, blue, white or pink
as it darkens into night?

We wonder ...
______________

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.

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23 comments:

  1. Nila:
    I am so thankful you are keeping the poetry of your Grandmother and mother, alive.
    This selection of poems from the three of you was a delight to read today and now we can all get wisdom from the tree roots and hear the moon's silver secrets. Aloha , SuZ

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    1. Thank you so much. Your kind words inspire me. I also believe in your incredible poetry and feel blessed by your words.

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  2. Nila,
    A great set of poems by you, your mother Jani, and your grandmother Virginia. A great thing you did donating all those books, that shows what a big heart you have.
    Your friend,
    David Fox

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    1. Thank you David, your words inspire me to keep going. I am also a fan of your poetry and love seeing your work. Nila

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  3. This is such a wonderful posting; a rare and beautiful achievement. Thank you so much! Ralph.

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    1. Thank you, Ralph. Karen O'Leary inspires all of us and we all love the way she showcases our poetry. Blessings and thanks, Nila

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  4. Thank you for sharing these poems! And a great Homage to Nila's
    mother and grandmother! Loved reading them!

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    1. Thank you, Gert. I too believe in your poetry and the poems that dance within our lives. Peace and gratitude, Nila

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  5. How lovely to keep the poetry chain going, even after death! Reading all three poems together is both touching and inspiring. I notice much similarity in the writing style and mode of expression. Thank you for sharing. Blessings // paul

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    1. Thank you Paul, I too believe in your poetry, and you are right: poems keep going, shining light and wisdom, even beyond death. If there is any similarity of my work to my beloved mother's, I take that as the highest compliment. Thank you so much, Nila

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    1. Thank you, I too am inspired by your writing!

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  7. Hi Everyone,

    Thank you so much for your kind words regarding poetry from our three talented writers. I agree with Ralph that this is "a rare and beautiful achievement." Thank you, Nila, for making it possible.

    Blessings,
    Karen

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    1. Dear Karen, Thank you for the beautiful new feature in Whispers, and for honoring my beloved mother and grandmother. I feel very special to be in their company, and in the company of all the gifted poetry of Whispers. This poetry journal is a blessing and a gift that shines poetry around the world. Thank you and greatest blessings, Nila

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    2. Dear Nila,

      Thank you for your lovely words, my friend. It is the talented people sharing their poetry that makes Whispers possible. You are one of those shining lights. I appreciate your willingness to share the gifts of all three of you. Through our words we live on.

      Many blessings,
      Karen

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  8. Nila, What a blessing you are! Your gift of poetry will change lives as your mother and grandmother's example of
    beauty through poetry has been a gift to you and changed your life. I loved your poem and that of your parent and grandparent's. All are creative and inspiring. Thank you for sharing and for considering all the children and people you have helped with your talent. Blessings, Connie

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    1. Thank you for your supportive words, Connie! I am truly uplifted, and as you believe in my poetry, so too I believe in yours. Peace and gratitude, Nila

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  9. Nila, how special to have your mother's and grandmother's wonderful talent posted along side yours, a rare occurrence. You leave a great legacy for your children and grandchildren. Thank you so much for sharing your talents.
    Love, Charlene

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    1. Thank you Charlene. My beloved mother would have loved your poetry, as do I, and my grandmother would too! Thank you for believing in what I hope to do. Your words uplift me. Peace and love, Nila

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  10. Such lovely poetry and to think it is alive with your grandmother and mother through you. I enjoyed reading all three poems. A wonderful tribute and you continue the cycle. What a joy to read.

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    1. Thank you, Jo, for understanding the whole cylcle, the connection we have through generations, and the timelessness of poetry itself. Bless you and your poetry, Nila

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  11. how lovely to get the opportunity to read these

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