Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Katherine Rodier

Second Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


To Honor (by Wendy Jones Johnson, circa 1976)

The rosebud mouth, the round, little thighs,

Our plump, bright elf with the dark, blue eyes

Our lives before were so incomplete

Soon the flutter inside of two, tiny feet

We thought we knew freedom

The years before you came

Now we know the wonder of creating life's flame

Aflame to grow, to flicker, and at last be an ember

To enrich our lives for years to remember

How we cherish and love you, your innocent glee,

You, the miracle of warmth and sensitivity.

My mother wrote this poem when I was an infant, and it has always served as a reminder to me of her love, warmth, and creativity. Even though the original text is yellowing beneath a glass frame and temporarily collecting dust in my in-laws’ basement, I had no trouble transcribing these lines from memory. I hope that time will never blur or erase them. Although several of my family and friends are dear to me and have significantly influenced my development as a person and writer, my mother has been, and to an extent, continues to be, the most influential of these. From the time I first learned to read, between two and three years of age, my mother began filling my small, wooden bookcase to overflowing with volumes of poetry, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and fables. A few of my favorites were Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, The Velveteen Rabbit, A Children’s Garden of Verses, Lyle the Crocodile, and two encyclopedic books on various breeds of dogs and cats. My mother also subscribed to Ideals poetry magazine, and I have many fond memories of nights and mornings spent cuddled up in her bed, reading the latest issue.


American poetry – 20th century.

Women poets – Biography.

Included in

Poetry Commons