© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

 

TSUNAMI
By Carl Martin Johnson

He felt the force slam through the air
Before there was the slightest sound.
A demon loosed from its lair.
A dragon restless in the ground.

Silence swept the land around him,
Not a sound from beast or bird.
He felt a mighty fury surround him,
And a scream too powerful to be heard.

The ground beneath began to rumble,
Shooting fear up through his feet.
He spread his legs for fear he’d stumble.
His wary heart near missed a beat.

From the sea he heard a roar.
Like an avalanche it grew.
He race quickly to the shore,
Afraid to find what he already knew.

He stood and stared without emotion.
There was nothing to be done.
The massive water wall built from the ocean,
Meant his young race had now been run.

The huge wave charged the boy,
A raging monster of the deep.
All in its path it would destroy.
All things living it would reap.

There was no time to flee,
No choice but to accept his fate.
This was meant to be.
He would simply stand and wait.

Straight at him lunged the wave,
Foamy crest like hungry dragon spittle.
He had wanted to be brave,
But at this moment he felt so little.

Then an anger welled inside.
He would die, but he would fight.
No tears of terror would be cried,
No cringing before the great wave’s might.

He faced the water and ran in,
Shouting a war cry to the sky.
It was a boy ‘til now he’d been.
It was a man now he would die.

 

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MEMORY OF THANKSGIVING PAST
By Carl Martin Johnson

I sit here on this park bench,
My feet cold in the snow,
Unbothered by my stench,
Or the hunger that I know.

In my hand I hold a flower,
Soft petals, orange and red.
I think back to the hour.
I recall the words she said.

“You are my man,” she told me.
“You are my love and life.”
She moved close to hold me.
She said she’d be my wife.

I said I would return soon.
There was gold I knew I’d find.
I swore by the stars and full moon,
She would never leave my mind.

But the gold mine was not real,
Just a dream that turned to dust.
So I had to borrow, beg and steal,
As a treasure hunter must.

Months turned into years,
And years turned into life.
My love shed all her tears.
She became another’s wife.

I left her Thanksgiving Day.
Now a million days have passed.
My love has gone away,
But my memory will last.

This bench may be my home.
My life a kind of hell.
A man condemned to roam.
But I have loved and well.


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PUPPY LOVE

By Carl Martin Johnson

 

If I kiss you, will you love me?
May I take your hand in mine?
I will bless the stars above me.
My happy smile will shine.

 

I will bring you a yellow flower.
I will plant the seed right now.
It will grow big in an hour.
Alice’s rabbit showed me how.

 

Then I’ll climb up Jack’s beanstalk,
For the gold egg-laying goose.
And we’ll sneak off to where queens talk,
To see if they have secrets we might use.

 

I know I’m not the only one
Who wants you for his own.
But I’ll give you both the moon and sun
To set before your throne.

 

If you will love me, too,
Life would be so fine.
And we should hurry to make this true,
‘Cause we are almost nine.

 

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DRAGONSLAYER
By Carl Martin Johnson

The Dragon is a ravenous beast.
He devours all in his path.
He rises from the cesspool in the East
To spread his hateful wrath.

The Dragon fouls the earth
In lands touched by his slime.
Since his odious day of birth,
His every breath a crime.

Vile snake with devil’s wings.
He drips poison from his fangs.
His yellow eyes hold horrid things,
Transforming men into Satan’s gangs.

Civilizations he destroys
With disgusting words and speech.
His acolytes’ chants are background noise
For the evil he would preach.

But this serpent I will kill.
Attack with sword and prayer.
Of his horrors I’ve had my fill.
I am the Dragonslayer.
 
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RAINING
By Carl Martin Johnson
 
I looked out my window,
Hoping to see you
Coming out of the rain.
Outlined in the red glow
Of the dying sun,
Reflected in the drops like
Embers of pain.

I waited, knowing you were gone.
Still I sat, silent and still.
Praying to hear a tap on the door
Or footsteps, soft on
The walkway. But I knew,
In my grief, you would be
Mine no more.
 

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THE CYCLE

By Carl Martin Johnson

Spring will come again soon,
I know,
Leaving gray winter in her grave.

Then I will move forward in tune,
But slow,
With all I have left. All I could save.

From the dead months, all that did not wither
And die.
All that remained, that I could not deliver.

I will drag toward the summer’s heat, its pale
Cloudless sky.
Down another year’s hard, weary trail.

All my life that remains, round and round again
Endless rotation
I know where I’m going, it’s where I have been.

Until I have given all the world wants of me
And entered Death’s nation
Where, at last, I’ll be free.

 

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THE LEFT-HANDED HOPLITE

By Carl Martin Johnson

His shield was new, the Lambda centered
Bright red in the bronze’s gleam.
Spear and sword he carried, innocent of blood,
Neither, well-forged, had tasted deadly fight.
Nor had he, save in dream.

Sword on his belt, for use were he to last
The push through enemy line of the phalanx.
He thought not. The gods had cast
His fate, nor prayer, nor thanks
Would stay his death scream.

The spear wielded well in his left hand.
He tested its balance and thrust.
If he could fight thus in the stand,
He would account for himself well and just
Before his lifeblood was opened to stream.

But his left would not be allowed.
That was his shield hand, the spear in his right,
No other way could he and his fellows crowd
Together en masse to roll on in the fight.
And crush the Persian, earning Sparta’s esteem.

So he turned back only once to see his son and his wife
They would remember his going with pride.
The women who admonished, though it meant a man’s life,
“Come back with your shield, or on it.” held strong when you died.
He would be back in another life, should it suite the gods’ scheme.

And, next time, he prayed, no matter what the odds in the fight,
The hand he used well would not be left, but the right.

 

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A FRIEND UNKNOWN

By Carl Martin Johnson

I watch you pass, but
You do not notice me.
Like a fine mare, you strut
With grace, and healthily.

Yet, something of me must
Be touching you.
A twitch of your head, the
Swell of your bust
Tell me I have found you.

Cherish me, friend.
There will be a time
When I find you again.

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SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH

By Carl Martin Johnson

 

Sweet Bird of Youth,
Where hast thou flown?
Must we all bow
Before Time’s brutal throne?
That maintains the world whole.

 

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HER LAUGHTER
By Carl Martin Johnson

It was the sound of golden sunbeams
On the ocean spray below.
Of happy childhood daydreams
And rolling in fresh snow..

Her laughter spread sweet magic
Over all who could hear.
To be deaf would have been tragic.
There were never sounds so dear.

I would gladly give my sense of touch
Taste, smell, and even sight.
None of those would I miss overmuch,
Could I hear her laughter every night.

Perhaps one day we will meet,
And I can tell her how I feel.
That all of her is sweet,
But it’s her laughter that’s most real.

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LUCIFER’S LAMENT
By Carl Martin Johnson

I was once a thing of glory,
Of beauty unsurpassed.
But pride rewrote my story.
My grandeur did not last.

Now I bring forth hate
From angel and from man.
For being cast from Paradise’ gate
For disdaining Divine Plan.

My dearest friend, my brother,
Was the instrument of my fall.
I loved Michael like no other.
Now he loathes me most of all

My Father, He Who made me,
But whose name I speak no more,
Has cursed me and forbade me
To approach sweet Heaven’s door.

I tried to befriend Man.
Led him to the Knowing Tree.
But the fruit did what it can,
And showed what death would be.

So think of me with kindness,
For I have paid the cost
Of arrogance, of blindness.
You cannot know what I have lost.

 

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MY LIFE, PARALLEL
By Carl Martin Johnson

My soul slips like smoke
From a greenwood fire,
Up through the chimney
Of my mind
And into the orange-glow
World of my dreams.

And there I live…
Until I wake.
One night I will stay.

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THE DESERT
By Carl Martin Johnson

The desert swims in moonlight.
Liquid silver-white it glows.
Spreading wide under the new night,
Into eternity it goes.

Its world is cold and still,
Save for whisper of the wind.
Emptiness only God can fill,
Like the souls of those who’ve sinned

Giant cactus arms
Reach in prayer to the sky,
Seeking protection from the charms
Of night spirits passing by.

Then the cosmos takes a breath,
The flat plain gently swells.
Exhaling life, renewed from death,
From where asleep at night life dwells.

Vibration quivers through the sand,
Portent of what comes soon.
A shadow flits across the land
From a cloud that crossed the moon.

A desert owl cries soft,
Herald of new dawn.
And from its vantage high aloft
Insures all night demons gone.

A coyote howls away the night,
And calls the sun to rise,
Stirring embers of first light,
Summoning the wasteland’s pious cries.

The desert lives another day,
Harsh and fiery in rebirth.
God has put it in our way,
To warn of Hell while we’re on Earth.


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TEARS AT TWILIGHT
By Carl Martin Johnson

Have you seen her tears at twilight
When ghosts slice through the air?
Dropping to earth through Heaven’s skylight
To loved ones waiting there.

Her own love’s shadow she never sees
Among all the dead returned.
Only evening’s empty breeze
No matter how she’s yearned.

Memories of their past
Are all that she holds dear.
Trusting he will come at last
Gives her strength to persevere.

Is her lover lost?
Is his sad soul wandering?
Not realizing the cost
Of the eternity he is squandering?

Will she ever know
That her own soul haunts the night?
Glimpsing her phantom glow
In the twists of spectral flight..

And that her grave is where she lies,
Crying for love’s rebirth.
Uttering moaning lovelorn cries,
While her love still walks the earth.
 
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I SAW HIM
By Carl Martin Johnson
 
His eyes fixed on mine
He did not stop...he could not.
He was young...fruit not long on the vine.
He had only one chance...only one shot.
 
We were close...not lovers...much more
Loves of our past lives all forgot
Only now...now that one of us would
Find the doorTo eternity....and, eyes cold, passion hot,
We fired.
 
He died...I live...
Until next time...he will guard me
He will watch 'til I give
What he has already done,
In what will be, now I see,
A battle that cannot be won.
 
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LIFE
By Carl Martin Johnson

I will not move. You might fly away.
Little friend, resting softly on my skin.
I feel safe only so long as you stay

When they charge again I know you will leave,
Fleeing the battle you know I can’t win.
You will miss me I hope, perhaps you will grieve.

I have no one else. No love left back home.
And here only you to watch my dying begin
To see crimson blood spurt, flow and foam.

For now we share life, so precious to me.
But we all owe a death, to repay Adam’s sin.
You may last beyond now, but I will not be.

Will you guide me high when it is all done?
To the place of rebirth, where I’ll start again.
To the Soul that awaits me, far back of the Sun.

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FLOWER IN FULL BLOOM

by Carl Martin Johnson

She closed her eyes for an instant,
Then looked into the glass.
The face she saw was still distant
From the picture her mind held fast.

Time had creased the skin of youth
And years had dulled the gloss
Of raven tresses now, in truth.
She thought it sad, great loss.

She worried those she now met
Would not see what she had been.
How all men loved her, and could not forget
The brush of her lips, the ardor of their sin.

She turned away from the reflection
Her loveliness must remain in the past
And in the memory of the man whose perfection
Had made her a woman at last.

He would never see her old like this
Never know her wrinkled and frail.
For decades she has been in his heart
Where her beauty would never pale.

A last glance back at eyes now dim,
Once bright with her desire.
Still sparkling blue with love for him
Her soul still filled with fire.

 

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ASH WEDNESDAY
By Carl Martin Johnson

The smudged cross on my forehead
Is the respect I pay a Friend.
Alive now, but once dead
To give me life without an end.

“Remember, man, that thou art dust,
And to dust thou shalt return.”
But dust and ash are only crust
Covering my soul within the urn.

I am neither dust nor ash
By origin or destination
I am a wondrous spirit’s flash
Majesty of God’s Creation.

He made me not to scrape and bow.
But to walk with Him in pride
For all my kind to ever know
It was for love of us He died.

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TO AN INJURED FRIEND
By Carl Martin Johnson

Tell me if I hurt you.
It did not cross my mind
That my words, if true,
Would be to you unkind.

The danger is, once spoken,
A word can’t be recalled
Or the damage be unbroken
The torn heart unmauled.

So, bear with me, injured friend.
Let us not be pulled apart
Or allow the love we have to end
For a word I cast too tart.

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