Thursday, September 15, 2016

From the Archives—Presenting Joyce I. Johnson and Joyce M. Johnson

It is a special pleasure to honor our two Joyces, each of them in their 90s. They impacted the writing community by forwarding the gift of readable verse.  They helped me see another side of poetry than the complicated verse we studied in my years as a youth in school—then I hated poetry! 

They have been the backbone of small market presses before computers existed.  Sharing poetry in 2004 meant rolling out the manual typewriter, tossing aside drafts that contained errors or things that quite work as well as I thought, developing a cover letter, and sending it off by snail mail with an SASE.  One submission often was hours of work.

The more I’ve come to know these two women, the more I admire them. They have touched the lives of many and have helped to keep poetry alive by encouraging others.  Thank you Joyce I. and Joyce M. for the countless ways you have made the writing community a joyous place to be.


Karen O’Leary
Whispers’ Editor


Presenting Joyce I. Johnson--

Not For Losers

I've joined the quite exclusive club,
"The Over Ninety Bunch"
If duty calls, we answer with,
"Denied, we're out for lunch."

We've worked hard and we've paid our dues,
In summer, spring and fall,
And since we live on borrowed time,
It is precious after all.

The winter of our lives is ours
To do with as we please.
We've taught you well, now do your job,
So we can take our ease.

If you should see some older gals
With glasses of wine or punch,
Who look like they are having fun,
We're the "Over Ninety Bunch."

Joyce I. Johnson lives in the beautiful Skagit Valley of Washington State. She owns a small farm and rents her land to a bulb grower. She is surrounded by beauty in the spring from the tulips and daffodils that inspire much of her poetry. Joyce celebrated her 98th birthday in July of 2016.


Presenting Joyce M. Johnson--

Pledge of the Hunter

In November, on
Some dark night, I know
The hunter will return.
He will come to
The window where I lie.
I will see him
At midnight when I go
To that window.
His hunter outline
Will stretch across the sky.

Although an ancient myth
Of childhood dreams,
Astronomers would have
Us all believe
That galaxies of stars
Make up what seems
This image of a man.
It does not matter.

Orion, you are beautiful,
And durable, and true.
Each winter you appear
Above the broken world
To reaffirm my faith
In the eternal hunter
Who made both me and you.

When Joyce M. Johnson (born 1921) retired from 50 years working as a legal secretary, she embarked on a “second career” as a Certified Alcoholism Counselor. While co-facilitating group meetings for seniors at a treatment center, she created a small tri-fold booklet named SMILE to distribute to clients. Upon retiring (again), Joyce was encouraged by Editor Kay Jaworski to publish a larger version of SMILE nationally. A free issue was given to a shut-in of each subscriber’s choice. Every cover page featured artwork by Joyce’s sister, Helen Sherrier, a professional artist. SMILE became Joyce’s “third career” which she enjoyed for twenty years, forging many friendships that will live on beyond the pages of SMILE.


  1. Congratulations and a very happy birthday to you Joyce I. Both of you ladies need Kudos for your wonderful contributions in giving to others so unselfishly, and sharing your beautiful gifts of poetry with the world. Blessings and thank you! Aloha, Connie

    1. I totally agree Connie! It is such a pleasure to be able to honor these wonderful women. Their encouragement and support of others has kept writing alive for generations to come.


  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Lynn to congratulate both our Joyces for the gifts that they are to the writing community.


  3. To both poets:
    Appreciate so much the in-depth messages contained in your poems.
    Wonderful post by Karen--your poems edify the Whispers' family.
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much, Michael. It is people like our Joyces, who are the heart and soul, of keeping print publications alive over the years. I'm glad to call each of them friends.


  4. I have been familiar with both poets for quite a long time and these poem both exemplify their great talents. Best wishes to both.
    Your friend,
    David Fox

    1. Dear David,

      I agree with you, totally. Like them, you have been an encouraging person in the writing community. Thank you for your contributions.


  5. lovely to read such lovely words from such lovely ladies

  6. Hello to both of you,
    It's such a pleasure to read each contribution, the eloquence of word and verse is a lesson for us all. Thank you

  7. To Joyce and her "over ninety bunch": I hope you ladies keep on enjoying every season the way you please. Full of wit and wisdom, I raise my glass to you all!

    To Joyce M: What a lovely write on the star Orion and I enjoyed it very much because it is my favorite star to look at in the night sky and can see it so clearly now where I live.

    Thank you Karen for sharing these great poems by these to ladies.