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© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

By Carl Martin Johnson

I raise my eyes up to the sky
And breathe this life’s sweet air.
I don’t know how I’m here or why.
At this moment I don’t care.
I’ll just live before I die.

I’ll feel the warm sun on my face,
The cool rain on my skin.
Birdsong sound I will embrace
As I watch the day begin
Secure in God’s good grace.

I will my mind of all thoughts clear
While I open up my soul
So that which is truly dear
Will make my being whole
And chase away all fear.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Speak softly to the wind.
Beg it carry your love’s sonnet.
Make the evening breeze your friend
That your verse may ride upon it.

Pray it caress your lover’s ear,
Sending music to her heart,
With words only she can hear,
Magic from the poet’s art.


By Carl Martin Johnson

She marked the boxes beside the names
Of the candidates she’d selected.
She had listened close to all their claims
And wanted them elected.

She thought of those who’d fought and died
So that those who lived could choose.
It made her heart glow warm with pride
For those who’d paid such dues.

As she dropped her ballot in the slot,
She let herself be awed
By this freedom, so dearly bought.
She was American, by God!


By Carl Martin Johnson

They run between the raindrops,
Quick and always dry,
Moving ‘til the pain stops.
You never see them cry.

They pray, anxious, for the sun
To melt away the gray,
Their hectic dance not done
Until it comes to stay.

But, should a droplet hit them,
They halt and quickly fade.
Then the world would soon forget them
And the ballet that they made.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I’ll write a last line as I die,
Something deep and clever.
Yet, no matter how I try,
My words won’t last forever.

My ego may be fed,
My self-importance satisfied,
But I’ll be just as dead
As everyone who’s died.

Better to look up at the sky,
Inhale a sweet last breath.
Then close my eyes and die.
After all, it’s only death.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Brave men died in a far off land,
And none were there to mourn them.
It was not the end that they had planned,
Nor the mothers who had borne them.

Now they lie beneath a cross,
An ocean away from those who love them.
The brave dead are this life’s great loss,
But a gain to Heaven above them.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I awoke to a song today,
Pouring from my heart.
It made me want to laugh and play.
What a happy start!

I’ll hum the tune the whole day through
To pass it on to others,
And infect with cheer every one of you,
My sisters and my brothers!


By Carl Martin Johnson

The autumn moon spills down
Her light of golden cream.
In her beauty I will drown
As she pulls me to her dream.

I feel her soul wrap ‘round me,
In passionate lover’s charm.
I give thanks she found me
With her love soft and warm.

I know I’m not the only one
She graces with her light.
But I’m the man whose heart she’s won
On this fine November night.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Come and sit beside me.
Tell me why you cry.
I have joy inside me.
I can share it if I try.

You are human just like me.
I understand your sadness.
Sit and feel my empathy.
I’ll keep you free from madness.

I’ll infect you with my bliss.
We may die of our good cheer.
I spread happiness with my kiss,
So, sit beside me, dear.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Can you see through my disguise?
Know the face behind the mask?
Understand that I’m not wise?
I’ll admit it if you ask.

Only some of me is real.
I hide behind the word.
Afraid of what I feel.
Afraid I am absurd.

For you I will uncover,
Expose all to your eyes.
Be your friend or be your lover.
Throw off my sad disguise.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I cut our names into this tree
When we were only ten.
We didn’t know what life would be.
Our worlds have changed since then.

But the carving is still clear,
Though now we are apart.
I still hold you dear,
And your name stays in my heart.

By Carl Martin Johnson

I’ll meet you in the dawn.
Life waits for us there.
Soon it will be gone.
We must hurry; we must dare.

Every breath we take is precious.
We’ll let none go to waste.
Our living will be delicious.
We must savor every taste.

And when our sun has set,
Another star will rise,
On a world we’ve not seen yet,
But our souls will recognize.

By Carl Martin Johnson

I watch the cold gray drizzling down,
But the sun shines bright behind it.
I really feel no need to frown.
Happiness hides, but I will find it.

‘Til then I will drink the rain.
Let it nourish the gladness planted.
Joy lies bright behind the pain.
Life can be enchanted.


By Carl Martin Johnson

The dancer twirled with grace,
Though there was no music playing.
A glowing lit her face
Like an angel praying.

Magic filled her eyes,
Wondrous visions she was seeing.
Cutting through this world’s disguise
To the essence of life’s being.

The passersby grew still,
Captured by her trance.
Not one moved until
The last step of her dance.

Then, wordless, she walked away,
Looking neither left nor right.
But her dance had more to say
Than the foolish verse I write.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Each angel is God’s thought,
Cast full-grown from His mind.
A wonder He hath wrought,
Born before Mankind.

I feel them pass nearby,
Trailing sweet scent in their wake.
A brief flash to my eye,
Like the beginning of daybreak.

Perhaps when death comes near,
I will find one by my side,
To take away my fear
And be the next world’s guide.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I found a letter on the trail,
No address, only a name.
The words had mostly faded pale.
I could read them just the same.

The soldier was called Joe.
At the bottom, she signed Jenny.
There was no way for me to know
Which Joe; there were so many.

She begged him to take care.
Without him she would die.
More than she could bear.
Just the thought could make her cry.

Then I saw the battle dead
A little farther down the track.
Was the letter I just read
From a Joe not going back?

There was no time to ask.
The enemy was nearby.
My hands full with the task
Of trying not to die.

But I kept the lovers’ note,
And offered up a prayer
That the soldier Jenny wrote
Didn’t pay war’s bloody fare.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Stop and sip life’s wine.
Enjoy the wondrous flavor.
Made of grapes from God’s own vine,
Every drop ensure you savor.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Nightbird singing in the willow tree,
Trill a happy song.
Make the night seem bright to me.
Make right what is so wrong.

My heart’s weighed down with sorrow,
But your tunes can lift it up.
Give me dreams until tomorrow,
And I’ll drink more from life’s cup.

So, sing sweet songs, night bird.
Soothe my crying heart.
Sing the most cheerful ever heard.
Give me a brand new start.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Twisted against the night sky.
Holding back the moon.
Capturing stars that might fly
If by its leaves released too soon.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Only love can warm life’s chill.
It lights a fire within.
It heals when the spirit’s ill,
And lets true growth begin.

Without love we are not whole.
There’s an emptiness inside,
A coldness to the soul,
As if it shrank and died.

Love is all that’s real.
The rest is an illusion,
Meant only to conceal
Life’s masterful delusion.



By Carl Martin Johnson

I will brave the fight

.I will face the storm.

In the cold of winter night,

I will keep you safe and warm.


I will fill your life with beauty.

I will comfort when you’re sad.

Your well-being is my duty.

I will always be your Dad.





By Carl Martin Johnson

Softly spoke the wind,

Words gentle to my ear.

My dear sweet soothing friend,

With mysteries I hold dear.


It told an angel’s word

That named a secret place,

Where lifesong could be heard

And Man could kiss God’s face.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Sunlight trickles through the autumn leaves.
Golden lightdrops on my face.
Days slip by like smiling thieves,
Carrying memories to erase.

Breathe in deep the crisp clear air,
Only that and the present certain.
Time and Life are never fair,
This side of sweet Death’s curtain.


By Carl Martin Johnson

My words are kisses to you
Wiping tears away.
Would that sadness never knew you,
And nothing gray would stay.

May my verses warm your heart.
I pray they make you smile.
Let all your cares depart,
If only for a while.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I think that is God’s voice.
In the silence, do you hear it?
I listen and rejoice.
There is no need to fear it.

It’s but a whisper in the night
That echoes in my soul.
Come to make dark bright.
Come to make me whole.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I saw the beggar smile,
Though his thoughts seemed far away.
I watched him for a while
To see if it would stay.

I wondered at the daydream
That made him so content.
Was he riding on a sunbeam
To a long-ago event?

He’d left his woes behind him.
His rags and filth ignored.
Did some passing thing remind him
Of a happy memory stored?

For this moment he was king.
No man was above him.
What next his life would bring,
He’d felt this instant love him.



By Carl Martin Johnson


That sun’s not the only one,

But it is the one most near.

Before my mortal life is done,

I will drink up all its cheer.


By Carl Martin Johnson

The world is full of wonder.
Look around and you will see.
From the skies that we walk under,
To wild horses running free.

Stars and rainbows all around us.
Birdsong in twilight.
Aromas sweet surround us.
Wild geese in graceful flight.

But the most amazing things
Of all that God hath wrought,
Is a small child when she sings,
And a single human thought.



By Carl Martin Johnson


All day I await the thunder,

Herald of the impending storm.

When the clouds that I lie under

Will birth a tempest’s harm.


Soon will break the deluge.

This parched land will flood.

There will be no refuge

From the seething black clouds’ blood.


I know the storm god’s coming,

But I will stay and fight,

When the thunder begins drumming,

And the dark clouds become night.



By Carl Martin Johnson

I’ll walk into the setting sun.
Its bright light will not blind me.
I have much more to be done
Before I let night’s darkness find me.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I lie here in the jungle night,
Waiting for the dawn,
Bracing for tomorrow’s fight,
Hoping I can carry on.

Can’t sleep, but soon I’ll sleep forever,
At least there’s a good chance.
So daydream now or daydream never.
Could be my last turn at the dance.

There are many people I will miss.
I hope they don’t forget me.
I’d like to give my sweetheart one last kiss,
If only God would let me.

Looks like the sky is turning pink,
What I can see through these damned trees.
Yesterday’s dead are starting to stink.
Good the jungle’s got no breeze.

In a minute they will come.
If I’m hit, I hope it’s clean.
Or at least it’s numb.
Some wounds are goddamned mean.

I think now I better pray
For God to help me be a man.
And if this be my last day,
To do the best I can.


Joy of life
Letter on the trail
Speak softly to the wind
The vote
Nightbird sing to me
The rain people
Night tree
Love's flame
A final word
To my daughter
Death in a far land
Softly spoke the wind
Song at waking
Golden Lightdrops
Autumn Moonspill
My words to you
Sit beside me
My disguise
The beggar's smile
Initials in the tree
That sun
Life waits for us
World of wonder
Behind the gray
Waiting For The Thunder
Dancing To The Silence
Walk Into The Sun
Lying Quiet In the Jungle Night
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