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Wisps In The Wind

© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

Reaper, Not Today
By Carl Martin Johnson

What happens to a moment fine
When the moment fades away?
It was a time I thought was mine,
Though I knew it could not stay.

I wish that I could hold it fast,
Never let it go.
But moments are not made to last.
They’re only wisps in the wind, I know.


By Carl Martin Johnson

A tyrant attracts the weak,
Who love him out of fear.
It is his strength they seek,
Hiding behind his shield and spear.

Strong men can stand alone,
Though a brave man they will follow,
Choosing free one of their own
Over a tyrant who is hollow.

I swear these words are true.
Only look to Mankind’s past.
You’ll discover if you do
That despots do not last.


By Carl Martin Johnson

The old man stood on the windswept plain
Where he fought so long ago.
Now only restless ghosts remain
And only crosses grow.

He was a warrior then, and young.
Like his brothers, he was brave.
He would ensure his song was sung
Before life dug his grave.

On this field he became a man.
He well proved his worth.
Here his lifelong quest began
To give value to his birth.

Specters littered the blood-soaked field.
The old man walked among them.
Phantom shapes lay with wounds unhealed
Where the battle’s fate had flung them.

Then one looked into his eyes,
And spoke with no word said.
“This is how an old warrior dies.
Welcome to the dead.”


By Carl Martin Johnson

Hear the candle burning,
Singing life songs in the night,
Guiding us to learning
With its warm eternal light.

The secrets it illumines
Are those that make us whole.
Soft magic for all humans
Lighting up our soul.


By Carl Martin Johnson

There are flowers in the grass.
Look closely; they are hidden.
You will smell them when you pass.
Their perfume’s not forbidden.

Reach down and part the weeds.
You will find great beauty growing,
Springing up from divine seeds
Making a garden of Life’s knowing.

In the scrub sprout daffodils.
In the thornbush roses bloom.
Let your tired soul be still,
And drink in Life’s perfume.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Make your life a poem.
Prove that you have worth.
Reach out to God and show Him
He can be proud He gave you birth.

Live each day a verse,
Every year a rhyme.
Any blessing, any curse,
Compose an epic of your time.

The lyrics that you leave
Will be a wondrous song.
Those left behind to grieve
Will chant the lines lifelong.


By Carl Martin Johnson

The gate was open when I passed.
I had never seen it so.
It had always been closed fast
Across a road I did not know.

A dirt track led into the trees,
Unmarked by man or beast.
I studied the clay with some unease,
But found the earth uncreased.

Who had left the gate ajar?
What had it held in?
Had it run off very far,
Whatever it had been?

Curiosity strongly drew me,
But I was held back by my dread.
What was the danger to me
When I found where the pathway led?

I allowed my fear to win.
I succumbed to a coward’s fate.
I wonder what I’d have been
Had I braved that open gate.


By Carl Martin Johnson

In the midst of fear and sorrow,
Reach out to the light.
Remember that tomorrow
Dawn will pierce the night.

Sadness will not last.
It is not Nature’s way.
Human hearts will soon move past.
Nothing dark can stay.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Reach out to help your brother,
Your sister when she falls.
Care for one another.
Be quick when succor calls.

Together we survive,
Each other save from danger.
All of us will thrive,
If no one is a stranger.

We are the human race,
Masters of the earth.
Let us all embrace
The kinship of our birth.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Charlie walked to school today.
He was late so he walked fast.
It wouldn’t matter anyway.
This day would be his last.

His mother had bent to kiss him.
He was her pride and joy.
She was going to miss him.
Today she’d lose her boy.

Charlie whistled as he ran,
A tune stuck in his head.
It was not in Charlie’s plan
That soon he would be dead.

Charlie laughed in boyish joy.
He was so full of living.
Like any other happy boy
He took all that life was giving.

Be thankful he was here.
His place will not be taken.
Hold his memory dear.
Let Charlie not be forsaken.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Every child is mine.
God gave them to my care.
Their bodies are a shrine
To the soul that’s dwelling there.

I’ll stop those who wish them harm.
I will keep them from the cold.
Protect with my sword arm,
So they may prosper and grow old.

I will dry their tears.
Make them feel secure.
Calm their angst and fears,
For through the children we endure.


By Carl Martin Johnson

If in this battle I must die,
Father, make me brave.
Let no man see me cry.
Lord, my honor save.

May posterity revere me.
May my sons be proud.
God, my Maker, hear me.
Let not my head be bowed.

When enemy lives I take,
I will do so with no malice,
With no bloodthirst to slake,
Nor venom in my chalice.

If, God willing, I survive,
I will lead a life of worth,
And forever I will strive
To give value to my birth.



By Carl Martin Johnson

Not today, I told the Reaper.
Today I will not die.
Tell Paradise’ doorkeeper
I’ll have to pass him by.

Life is just too good.
I’m having too much fun.
So, skip me if you would.
I’ll let you know when I am done.

One day I’ll be old,
And ready for the trip.
For now I’m happy in life’s hold.
I don’t need your workmanship.


By Carl Martin Johnson

The old woman graced me with a smile
As she passed me on the street.
Her gesture made my day worthwhile,
My morning near complete.

What lay behind her warm blue eyes?
Secrets she’ll not tell?
Are there thoughts that would surprise
In the place where memories dwell?

Did the beauty of her younger years
Fade slow like autumn flowers?
Did she shed remorseful tears
At the passing of the hours?

I think the woman kept her pride,
Though suitors became few.
Her true beauty was inside,
And she knew well that was true.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I saw the eagle falling,
Watched it tumble from the sky.
I found the thought appalling
Such magnificence should die.

No shot had cracked the day.
No shaft flew from a bow.
Though he fell in death’s ballet,
No sign of fatal blow.

Perhaps his wings no longer held
In the thin air of the sky.
By exhaustion the great bird was felled.
He collapsed but did not die.



By Carl Martin Johnson

Seventeen new stars in the sky,
Beam splendor from above.
You’ll see an image if you try.
The constellation formed is love.

Once they brightened life on earth,
Now they’ve left us, but not gone.
They have had a second birth.
Now immortal, they carry on.

One day soon we’ll reunite.
When all stars are aligned.
Then we’ll flood the world with light,
From the Constellation of Mankind.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Rise and grasp the dawn.
This day belongs to you.
Without you it is gone.
You are what makes it true.

It is you that makes life real.
Life needs you to exist.
You will think and feel,
Or all is whistling in the mist.

Sleep and the world will close.
Pray it renews when you awake.
Only God knows where it goes.
Sleep is a chance we take.


By Carl Martin Johnson

A single cloud sailed in the sky,
Looking for his brothers.
Poor little cloud was wondering why
He could not find the others.

Perhaps they’d flown too fast,
Leaving the little cloud behind.
Now he was outcast.
That wasn’t very kind.

Or was he far ahead,
Much swifter than the rest?
He was the one who led.
The little cloud was best.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I felt the rain wash over me.
It cleansed me with its tears,
Soothing my eyes so I could see
The truth when it appears.

It washed away the sorrow,
Refreshed my anguished heart,
Gave bright hope that tomorrow
Would bring me a fresh start.

In my soul now flowers bloom.
Their fragrance fills my soul,
Smothering all dark thoughts of gloom,
Making my spirit whole.


By Carl Martin Johnson

John Jacob was a friend of mine.
He fought long at my side.
I felt the sun would no more shine
The day John Jacob died.

Since childhood we were tight.
No one could break our bond.
If one was in a fight,
The other would respond.

So when I went to war,
John Jacob came along.
He said “Wherever you are
Is the place where I belong.”

We did battle in the jungle heat,
In combat joined as one.
Then one day we faced defeat.
We were being overrun.

John Jacob flashed a smile
As the enemy charged in.
He said “See you in a while.
I’m glad you’ve been my friend.”

He pushed in front of me
To shield me from sure death.
He’d not let the enemy see,
Though it cost him his last breath.

John Jacob was my friend.
No better man I’ve found.
He met a hero’s end.
Now John Jacob’s Heaven bound.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Am I a dream inside God’s mind?
Will I stay when he awakes?
Will I, mere humankind,
Have what living takes?

Or am I a waking dream
In a God who never sleeps,
Part of his grand scheme,
A promise that he keeps?


By Carl Martin Johnson

If I have time, I’ll smell the flowers,
Revel in their fragrant beauty.
If I have time, I’ll spend the hours
Seeking happiness as my duty.

If I have time, I’ll live life well.
I will savor every minute.
Each day a magic spell
Filled with wonders that dwell in it.

If I have time, I’ll cast of sorrow,
Fill my heart with laughter.
Make time because tomorrow
There may be no after.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Will you face the world with me?
Shall we take it on together?
Be it joy or catastrophe,
Sunshine or stormy weather?

Together we’ll be stronger.
No one can defeat us.
We will fear no longer
The dangers sent to meet us.

Never loneliness we’ll know
As we march on side by side,
Until arm in arm we go
Where old warrior souls abide.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I kept my dream on waking.
I held it in my heart.
The joy that it was making
Would give me a new start.

Its beauty filled my soul,
Convinced me of my worth,
Gave me back control,
Made me grateful for my birth.

Shall I fear to sleep
Lest a new night’s dream erase it?
Or can I this great dream keep,
And all my life embrace it?


Old Woman Passing
The Falling Eagle
The Old Man's Welcome
Constellation Marjoie Stoneman Douglas High School
Hear The Candle
Prayer Before Battle
Flowers In The Grass
Grasp The Dawn
The Poem Of Your Life
The Little Cloud
The Open Gate
The Rain
John Jacob
We Are Humans
Charlie Walked To School Today
A Dream In God's Mind
If I Have Time
My Child
Face Te World With Me
A Dream I Kept
Reach Out To The Light
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