© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

 
 
POOR LOST SOUL
By Carl Martin Johnson

I saw a soul who’d lost his way.
He was quite distressed.
To me he said “Oh, help me, pray!
Am I damned or blessed?”

In truth, I could not tell.
There was no indication
If he belonged in the fire of Hell
Or with Heaven’s celebration.

He said “I was never really bad,
Too lazy to be a sinner,
Not a truly evil cad,
Just a weak beginner.”

“Yet I was not much of a saint.
My acts were rarely good.
Guess I showed too much restraint
In doing what I should.”

I said “Friend, I can’t advise.
Nor in Heaven nor Hell you’re wanted.
Take a word, though, from the wise:
Find a house that’s not yet haunted.”

As he vanished slow into the night.
His quandary made me cry.
To have no harbor did not seem right.
It was hard enough to die.

I wondered if this was a sign,
A portent of things to be.
The ghost’s bland life was close to mine.
Poor soul was just like me.

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THE LAST LEAF ON THE TREE
By Carl Martin Johnson

It was the last leaf on the tree
Twirling gently in the wind.
Soon it would break free
And the old year’s life would end.

I would come back in the Spring
When new buds begin to flower,
And I would let my glad heart sing
A hymn to nature’s power.

I wondered was I the same.
Would I die and bloom again.
Or go back from whence I came
Nevermore to begin.

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TO HOLD THE ROSE
By Carl Martin Johnson

If you would hold the rose,
You cannot fear the thorn.
This the poet knows:
For beauty pain is borne.

For glory man must bleed.
For victory he must fight.
To eat he must plant seed.
To gather honey risk the bite.

For love we must risk heartache.
Only struggle calls forth worth.
If we would our soul wake,
We must bear the pain of birth.

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CHILD OF MINE
By Carl Martin Johnson

Greetings, child of mine.
Welcome to the living.
Choose your star and make it shine.
Take all that life is giving.

The world is better you are here.
Live long in its embrace.
May you hold each other dear
Until at last you see God’s face.

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THE HIDDEN MAN
By Carl Martin Johnson

A man hides deep inside me.
He shows himself to none.
I trust him to guide me.
To get my battles won.

He comforts when I’m lonely.
He cheers me when I’m sad.
There are things I tell him only.
The best friend I’ve ever had.

He’s a man who will not die.
Without him I’m not whole.
We are close and I know why.
The Hidden Man’s my soul.

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THE MUSIC BOX
By Carl Martin Johnson

The music box held magic things,
Like dreams and hope and joy.
Fantasies with angel’s wings
That no tears could destroy.

She wound it fully every night
And set it beside her bed,
So when she slept her thoughts were bright
With the cheer the box had spread.

She grew and put the box away.
Many years passed by.
She forgot what wonder the box could play.
How it soothed her when she’d cry.

Then one night she heard a sound
From her young daughter’s room.
Her music box the girl had found
That drove away the gloom.

The woman looked in through the door
At her child’s happy face.
The box played happiness once more
For her daughter in her place.

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I, FOOL
By Carl Martin Johnson

I walk between the raindrops.
They never hit my head.
Where I go the pain stops.
Sunshine falls instead.

Sweet Fortune is my friend.
She holds me in her arms.
Gives more luck than I can spend,
Constantly blessing with her charms.

People say that I’m a fool,
That I don’t know what is real,
But I disregard the cruel,
And joy is all I feel.

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NEW DAY’S BIRTH
By Carl Martin Johnson

The warmth of the new day’s sun
Falls gold upon your face,
Telling you life has begun
Time to begin the race.

Drink deep the dawn’s new air.
Taste the sweet soul of the world.
Being alive is your best prayer
As day’s banner is unfurled.

When night calls Man to rest,
Her dark spreading o’er the earth,
Reflect how we are blessed
With every day’s new birth.

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WHERE WAS I
By Carl Martin Johnson

Where was I before birth?
Did I exist at all?
Was I a thing of worth,
Or only matter awaiting the call?

When I die will I return,
Or advance to a higher plane?
Is eternity what we earn
That makes life worth the pain?

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STAND FAST AGAINST THE STORM
By Carl Martin Johnson

Stand fast against the storm.
Hold firm against its wind.
It cannot do you harm.
You are stronger in the end.

Though lightning flash about you,
Though hailstones slap your face,
Do not let them rout you.
Bear the pain with grace.

Nature wields great might,
Yet Mankind will prevail.
We will not be put to flight.
We will withstand the gale.

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PASSING FRIENDS
By Carl Martin Johnson

Won’t you stop and greet me,
Should you pass me on your way?
Take the time to meet me.
You don’t have to stay.

If you’ve a quick kind word to spare,
I’d be glad to hear.
Just a thought to show you care,
I’d hold the wish so dear.

My wanderings are lonely.
I treasure newfound friends,
Even if the friendship’s only
One that quickly ends.

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TO BRAVE CHARYBDIS’ STRAIT
By Carl Martin Johnson

Am I a leaf floating in the stream,
At the whim of the current’s flow?
Can I steer toward my own dream,
Take charge of where I go?

Dare I risk the stormy gale
To reach my destination?
Will I try, though I may fail,
Chance death for celebration?

Should the whirlpool drag me down,
I’ll not bemoan my fate.
For, if I would seek the crown,
I must brave Charybdis’ strait.

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POLLY’S EYES
By Carl Martin Johnson

There was no sight in Polly’s eyes.
They’d been dark since birth.
She could not see a man’s disguise,
But learned to feel his worth.

She met a man she loved so much,
Who treated her with care.
She sensed, but could not feel, his touch.
Still, she knew when he was there.

Many men had torn her heart.
She’d been used and cast aside.
They would kiss and soon depart,
Trampling cruelly on her pride.

This time she was certain,
Though he could not say a word.
From behind her blindness’ curtain,
Unspoken tenderness she heard.

And of all the men she’d known,
This man she loved the most.
Through her soul’s eyes she was shown
That she could love a ghost.

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ADVICE TO MYSELF
By Carl Martin Johnson

Rest when you are weary.
Smile when you are sad.
Be brave when you are teary.
Fight anger and be glad.

Embrace all humankind.
Leave good will in your wake.
Put enmity behind.
Give more than you take.

If we would reach the star
That is Man’s glorious fate,
We must remember who we are,
And choose love over hate.

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LEND ME A HAND, GOD
By Carl Martin Johnson

God, my soul is bleeding.
I could use a hand.
Your help I’m badly needing.
Life’s not going as I’d planned.

I’ve had my share of sorrow,
Same as any other man.
But there’s always tomorrow,
And I’ll get there if I can.

You have made me strong.
This world will not defeat me.
I will endure so long
As I have your grace to complete me.

So turn your face to me.
Let me see your Smile.
Hear with love my plea
And get me through this trial.

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MY HOMELESS BROTHER
By Carl Martin Johnson

You will always be my brother.
You fought bravely at my side.
Hard combat was our mother,
Giving birth to warrior pride.

When our fight was done,
We came home to make our way.
The battles we had won
Were from another day.

We each had different fates.
While I prospered, you grew thin.
We cannot know what in life awaits,
Only what life has been.

But, brother, I will find you,
Give you shelter from the storm.
You’ll leave hard times behind you,
And no more come to harm.

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IN THE SHADOW
By Carl Martin Johnson

In the shadow destiny waits,
Hiding from the light,
There concealed are human fates
Until we breach the night.

The dark saves us from fear
Knowing our lot would bring,
The horror of seeing clear
Mortality’s final sting.

Bless the shroud that hides the gate,
Saving us from the view.
We could not thrive knowing the fate
We must pay when the bill comes due.

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GREAT-GRANDAD THE LAWMAN
By Carl Martin Johnson

Great-grandad was a lawman.
He kept his pistol clean.
He was lightning with his draw, man.
Fastest ever seen.

Four bad men rode into town,
Wild mischief on their mind.
They quickly shot the deputy down.
They were the killing kind.

Great-grandad heard the gunfire,
And rushed out to the street.
But he saw no one fire.
The gang was making their retreat.

Great-grandad fired a warning.
He shouted “Face me if you dare!
Fight me here this morning,
Or I’ll chase you anywhere!”

The four turned, grinning, to him.
They would kill this man and quick.
But if the outlaws ever knew him,
They’d have made another pick.

Four long Colts boomed as one.
Only one shot found its mark.
My Great-grandad was not done.
He let his six-gun bark.

He took steady aim,
While the gunmen lost their nerve.
His revolver shot out flame,
And fate evil men deserve.

When the smoke cleared in the town,
The gang lay bleeding on the ground.
Four bad outlaws down.
Four damned souls sure Hell-bound.

Great-grandad wore a scar
From the round that grazed his face,
And a dent in his marshal’s star
That saved him by God’s grace.

He was my hero, that old man,
When he told me that great story.
I’ll hear it once more, if I can,
When I join him in Glory.

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DRIPPING WORDS
By Carl Martin Johnson

I’ll drip another word today
From veins I’m bleeding dry,
If inspiration comes my way,
If a friendly muse stops by.

Will thoughts I bleed have worth?
Will they last beyond the day?
Will the pain of giving them birth
Be worthwhile in some way?

And, if I make a rhyme,
Will it touch the reader’s heart?
On that chance I’ll take the time
To give my verse a start.

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BREATHE LIFE DEEP
By Carl Martin Johnson

Today I’ll breathe Life deep.
Fill my lungs with cheer.
And there the joy I’ll keep
Should sorrow dare come near.

I’ll eat the sun’s bright rays.
On its energy I’ll dine.
I will shout loud in its praise,
Holding the star’s warmth as mine.

I’ll drink the strong wine of Being,
‘Til my soul intoxicates,
All my inhibitions freeing
So my shy heart celebrates.

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GO SOFTLY DOWN THE ROAD
By Carl Martin Johnson

Go softly down the road.
Don’t wake them who are sleeping.
They’ve paid the debt they owed.
They are beyond our weeping.

Yesterday they walked beside us.
Now they’ve gone ahead.
To return, perhaps, to guide us
Into the dark land of the dead.

Pass hushed until that day.
Do not disturb their rest.
Soon enough we’ll have to pay
Our debt like all the rest.

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I WANT YOUR TOUCH
By Carl Martin Johnson

I want your body on me.
I need to feel your touch.
Our inhibitions gone free.
I crave your love so much.

Ignite my ardor with your lips.
Make me burn with passion’s fire.
I’ll drink your lust in gentle sips,
Adding fuel to desire.

Run your fingers down my spine.
Convulse in expectation.
My body’s yours, and yours is mine.
Join them in celebration.

When we both are spent,
We’ll sleep in loving arms,
Intoxicated with the scent
Of our drained bodies’ charms.

 

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