© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

EIGHT
By Carl Martin Johnson
(For Martin William Richard, died April 15, 2013, Boston, Massachusetts.)

We went to the Marathon race today.
A party, ‘cause I just turned eight.
My Mom had decided to run the whole way,
Dad and I’d find the end and wait

I got lots of stuff, I’ve been a good kid.
Well, pretty good…at least not too bad.
I don’t usually do things my parents forbid,
And I help in the yard with my Dad.

I was glad to be just with my Dad.
He’s the greatest guy ever to me.
He always helps me, hardly ever gets mad,
Even when I know he should be.

I wanted to ask him about a kid in my class.
He’s big and he teases me a lot.
Should I ask him to fight, or just let it pass.
Don’t want Dad to think I’m a sissy…I’m not.

I forgot, ‘cause I found a friend.
We played while our dads talked.
Until runners started coming to the end,
Some running, others just walked.

I guess I fell down, I know I felt strange.
There was a big light in my eyes.
I wasn’t scared, but I felt a big change.
Is this the way a person dies?

Someone was holding me so I wouldn’t cry.
I knew everything would be good.
I saw lots of things, but not with my eye.
I wouldn’t go back if I could.

Mom and Dad would find me,
Not now, they’d come in a while
I had to keep going, but I looked behind me.
They were crying, but later they’d smile.

I’m not a kid now, I’m something more.
So, I’m not really feeling bad.
I am not worried about my life before,
Except that thing I forgot to ask my Dad.
 
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THE PROTECTOR

By Carl Martin Johnson

The eagle stood his post
At the cradle of the child.
He was placed there by the Host
To protect it from the Wild.

He scanned the desert from his perch,
Aware of the treasure which he guarded.
No living thing escaped his search.
No hint of threat disregarded.

The sun would be setting soon.
Danger would come in the night.
But there would be a moon
To aid the raptor in his fight.

The serpent would come silently,
His fangs dripping quick death.
The great bird would defend violently,
Would fight to his last breath.

The infant was the new Mankind,
The seed of their renewal,
Growing soul from animal mind,
Nurtured with Divine fuel.

The silence was ominously portending.
The eagle spread wide his wings,
Readying for the evil impending,
Warding off diabolical things.

Out of the darkness the serpent sprang.
The great bird deflected his mark.
They struggled, talon and fang
In the cold purgatorial dark.

The serpent and eagle do battle still,
For the life of the newly-born soul.
Pray the protector can hold out until
The child’s evolution is whole.

 

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MEMORIAL DAY
By Carl Martin Johnson
 
You stand in Gabriel’s legions
With Michael at the fore.
In all of Heaven’s regions
No souls are valued more.

When word came of your death,
Your loved ones softly cried.
Then with the very next breath,
Their hearts swelled large with pride.

You are gone now from the war,
But never from the fight.
We cherish what you are,
Your memory glows full bright.

And, today while looking out
Over fields of neat white crosses,
I held back a grieving shout
Of despair at all your losses.

But there resides within me
Both a warrior and a poet.
I reconcile that which will be
Our crop if thus we sow it.

Yes, for those of us who fight
There awaits no better death
Than in striving for right
Till we cry out our last breath.

So break your ranks my brothers,
We’ll need a place, you see.
For me and many others.
It’s a warrior’s destiny.
 

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SPEAK SOFTLY

By Carl Martin Johnson

 

If you speak softly, I will hear you.

I have not yet gone away.
If I could I would stay near you,
But it is not for me to say.

We have talked much through the years.
We have both our conscience bared,
Exposed our triumphs and our fears,
More than most others dared.

Your counsel will be missed
On the journey I am taking.
Words from sweet lips I have kissed
I am unwillingly forsaking.

I have but a minute before I’m late,
If you want to tell me something more.
Otherwise, it must wait
Until you, too, have passed through the Door.

 

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THE FIELD
By Carl Martin Johnson

Courage dripped out, drop by drop,
Watering the battlefield.
Waiting for the dying to stop
To see what the crop would yield.

The land was sown with brave hearts,
Fertilized with young lives,
Ripe with severed parts
From anyone who survives.

Ideas contested may fade or evolve.
The sacrifice may be thought in vain
Still, it was not the conflict the war meant to solve,
But to edify those of us who remain.

The virtues that flowed along with the blood
Show us the best of mankind.
Though their souls be now in eternity’s flood,
The dead leave valued lessons behind.

Kings that we fight for are killed or dethroned
Yet our tribe must be ever protected.
Fighting skills must be kept sharply honed,
Honor of sacrifice never neglected.

Therefore, give the warrior his praise,
Combatants on both sides of the fight,
So long as they are brave and walk honor’s ways.
For wrong cause today may tomorrow be right.

Wars are fought for multiple reasons,
Too many to recall by name.
Different places, weapons and seasons,
But the warrior is always the same.
 
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MADNESS

By Carl Martin Johnson

Is that madness I see peeking
‘Round the corner of my mind?
It is me that he is seeking.
My sane self he wants to find.

Sometimes I let him catch me
And take me for a ride.
On his wild dreams he’ll attach me.
Become my fantasy guide.

We sail the seas of hallucination,
Landing on isles of thought’s distortions.
To dark depths our penetration
Astride beings in strange contortions.

Across the desert of fertile delusion
On psychotic crimson steeds,
We chase whirlwinds of white illusion
Trying to satisfy our needs.

My inhibitions he casts free,
Leaving me to do my will,
To be whatever thing I want to be,
Experience any thrill.

He shows me parts of my own soul,
That without him I can’t see.
Lets me hear infinity toll,
And smell eternity.

When my brain can stand no more,
When my mind is close to bursting,
I swim back to sanity’s shore,
My id no longer thirsting

 

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COLORING MY DREAMS
By Carl Martin Johnson

The past slips quietly into my dreams,
Guiding old pleasures, old pains.
A kaleidoscope of red, blue and green.
Memory’s rainbow after life’s rain.

A private reality grows inside me,
One only I can see.
Sweet sleep covers all, and will hide me,
Give me a taste of eternity.

A fine thing, this world that nightly I make.
In a small way I know how God feels.
Though it ends each morning when I wake.
It is worth it for the wounds that it heals.

And the lover I continuously fashion
From all the world’s beauty that’s sung,
Her face nightly I kiss with soft passion.
Her lips I trace with my tongue.
 

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MY SISTER’S GHOST
By Carl Martin Johnson

I stopped dead still, aghast.
I could see her, but not clearly.
My sister, dead long past,
But whose memory I hold dearly.

As I stood fast, she turned to me,
Her features now defined,
Her face as it used to be:
Lovely, warm and kind.

In the dark she had a glow,
A soft, blue-white light.
She did not ask, but appeared to know
My intentions on that night.

She looked down to my hand
To see the gun I carried.
She seemed to understand
My grief for those I’d buried.

Her pale blue eyes found mine.
Pure love poured from her gaze.
I felt our souls entwine
Until I was ablaze.

Then, more than sight or sound,
An emotion flowed into me,
As if I had been found
By one who truly knew me.

And I saw those I had lost
Would be with me once again.
That, like all, I must pay the cost
For the reward that I would win.

I saw love is worth the sorrow,
Although dear ones will die.
We will be with them again tomorrow.
It is not final, their goodbye.

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STARDUST
By Carl Martin Johnson

Stardust spreads like pollen
Throughout the universe.
And wherever it has fallen,
A poet writes a verse.

Luminous spores in fertile mind
Flower into thoughts full bloom.
Imaginings of every kind,
Of life from birth to tomb.

The crop the poet reaps
And blends it with his tears.
Fermenting in his heart it keeps,
Spiced with his love and fears.

Stored safely and mixed well
Until the tears become a flood
Then the too-full heart will swell
Pouring out words in poet’s blood.
 
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BOLD
By Carl Martin Johnson

Be bold if you would live truly,
Rather than hiding, timid, in life’s crowd.
Do not bend your knee unduly.
Let your head remain unbowed.

Walk bravely into danger.
If you die, die like a man.
To cowardice be a stranger.
Never let it be said: “He ran.”

Be at the forefront, not the rear.
Lead others in the fight.
Hold honor, not safety, dear.
Stand fast for what is right.

Each morning face the sun.
As your friend and equal greet it.
Ask what great deeds need be done.
Any challenge, say you’ll meet it.

Let mankind praise your worth.
To daring feats let there be no bars.
The meek may inherit the earth,
But to the bold belong the stars.
 
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A SECRET
By Carl Martin Johnson

A secret is treasure,
To spend or to keep.
Our love and our pleasure,
Is safe in our sleep.
 
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VENGEANCE
By Carl Martin Johnson

Vengeance slides slow, silent,
Choosing his target with care,
His intentions lethal, violent,
Bloody injustice to repair.

Revenge is his dark brother.
Passion fuels his drive.
His thought is blood, no other.
Vengeance needs justice to survive.

Evil waits longer for Vengeance’ bite.
But feel his fangs it will.
He comes more studied to the fight.
Yet, more certain is his kill.

With hard retribution he is teaching,
Warning other evildoers
That his strong arms are far-reaching,
And will sweep them from their sewers.

The light from funeral pyres
Of the dead in Vengeance’ wake
Will tell those with the same desires
What path their fate will take.

So take heed, all evil men.
Let this warning give you pause.
You will pay dearly for your sin
When Vengeance has you in his claws.
 
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DEATH BRINGER

By Carl Martin Johnson

I am become Death,
Messenger of Ending.
I will take your last breath,
And the Life you are defending.

I will find you and kill.
Nothing holds me back.
I have no conscience or will.
What was human now I lack.

I once viewed life as holy,
A gift from the Divine.
Today I see it solely
To be used for my design.

No mercy will I show,
Be you innocent or young.
When I strike my heavy blow,
Hordes of Requiem bells are rung.

I say I am fighting for a cause,
But in truth it matters not.
I strike at random, without pause,
My bloodlust running hot.

I pass among you unmolested.
I walk freely where I like.
My discipline well-tested,
Waiting for my chance to strike.

Your weakness makes me strong.
Your naïve tolerance feeds me.
My right is your wrong.
Your leaders’ spineless action breeds me.

I am become Death.
It is your house I damn.
Until you find brave breath
To call me who I am.

 

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THE FIRE  -  By Carl Martin Johnson
Dedicated to my fellow Texans in West, Texas.
Especially to the twelve who died protecting their   community in the deadly fire of April 17, 2013,
and their families)


Out of the black the flame tongues peeked,
Up and down like children playing.
Fuel for their game was what they seeked,
Searching back and forth in rhythmic swaying.

They ate with relish, growing stronger,
Becoming larger, more robust.
The tiny blades of red heat grew longer,
Brighter, sharper, with each thrust.

Soon they were a carnival of light,
Laughing, dancing, loving wild.
Bringing pagan revelry to the night.
Leaving all they touched defiled.

Satan’s progeny cast from Hell,
The firelings spread disaster.
I saw their destructive orgy swell,
Ever higher, ever faster.

Looking for more to feed their lust,
Lust for complete devastation.
They swallowed all that would combust
In Satanic conflagration.

Still, their rabid holocaust unsated,
They saw men coming to the fight.
Because men carried the Life they hated,
The Fire saw a more fitting ending to the night.

What better way to celebrate,
To use Fire’s brief lifespan,
Than to demonstrate the Devil’s hate
By taking the Life of Man.

Kill Fire did, but when night was done,
The Fire was there no longer.
Though brave men had died, it was Man who won.
Of the two, Man was the stronger.

Then God blessed the victory with his rain,
His Love showered from the sky.
His children could surmount all pain.
In Him they would never die.

 

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TRUTH
By Carl Martin Johnson

Is there just one truth, or many?
Is my reality the same for you?
Which do we trust, if any?
What can we hold true?

When we both look at a flower,
If I see a lily, do you a rose?
Are we alive in the same hour?
When my door opens, does yours close?

Do we seek the same destination?
Are our paths parallel, or one?
Do we live in the same Creation?
Look up at the same moon and sun?

Perhaps we wander here at random,
Unconstrained by time or facts,
Traveling just by chance in tandem,
Taking a break between Life’s acts.

Only one thing we know for certain,
You and I are together now,
Until Life’s last act curtain.
Then we will take our final bow.
 
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