WAR SONG  - The poems on these pages are dedicated to the "song" of human combat. The honor, the bravery, the sacrifice.....and the horror, blood and death. It is neither a glorification nor a condemnation of war. It seeks to give some insight into one of the major occupations of Man from the very beginning of humanity.         -Carl Martin Johnson

 

© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

 
 
JIMMY’S SLEEPING  (A Song)

By Carl Martin Johnson

 

Jimmy’s sleeping…let him lie.
He went to a far place to die.
His momma and darlin’ gonna cry.
So sad.

 

(CHORUS)
Tell me now…tell me why
Poor Brother Jimmy had to die.
We could quit war if we’d just try.
I’m mad.

 

Jimmy fought hard….Jimmy fought well.
Gave the enemy a taste o’ Hell..
Now Jimmy’s gonna rest a spell.
Too bad.

 

(CHORUS)
Tell me now…tell me why
Poor Brother Jimmy had to die.
We could quit war if we’d just try.
I’m mad.

 

Jimmy was a good man….Jimmy was brave.
Jimmy's gonna rest in a hero’s grave,
‘Cause of all the life he save.
Be glad.

 

(CHORUS)
Tell me now…tell me why
Poor Brother Jimmy had to die.
We could quit war if we’d just try.
I’m mad.

 

Little Jimmy Johnson…..just a boy,
Traded his bat for a killin’ toy.
Never brought Little Jimmy no joy.
Took the life he had.

 

(CHORUS)
Tell me now…tell me why
Poor Brother Jimmy had to die.
We could quit war if we’d just try.
I’m mad.

 
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A WARNING TO THE MUSLIMS ATTACKING OUR DIPLOMATIC POSTS
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

Like children at the zoo,
You poke the lion in his cage,
Thinking the steel bars will do
To keep you safe from his rage.

 

Do you forget what we did in Afghan and Iraq?
How we chewed you up and spat you out?
We are leaving, but we can come back.
Our claws are still sharp, have no doubt.

 

In your barbaric nations, keep your barbaric rules.
Beat your women, do your beheadings.
Read your Book, let it make of you fools.
But, to us, it is subject to shredding.

 

Our leader is weak, but our people are strong.
Hurt us and we will attack.
Our honor is great, our memories long.
Hit us and we will strike back.

 

Next time when we are done
We will leave nothing standing.
And, as before, you will run
The moment you see our troops landing.

 

If it is martyrdom you seek,
We will help you along.
You are the cowardly, the weak;
We are the Brave and the Strong.

 

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THE ATTACK
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

I’ve been three days lying in this trench,
Wet and cold and tired.
Inhaling rough death’s horrid stench,
Counting every bullet fired.

 

They come at us with every dawn,
Hundreds in the wave.
We fight hard until they’re gone.
They are enemy…..but brave.

 

In front of me there’s a man I shot.
He took a damned long time to die.
I pretend I’m hard, but I’m really not.
I couldn’t stand to hear him cry.

 

Piled one on another in the mud.
How many did I fell?
The ground around them red with blood.
It must look like this in Hell.

 

I’ve been hit, but I want the pain.
If I sleep they might sneak in.
I can’t hear them with this rain.
Tonight they’ll come again.

 

A mortar tube just popped.
Rounds in our perimeter bursting.
This time will they be stopped?
Or will our blood slake Death’s thirsting?

 

Here comes one charging toward me.
That bayonet looks long.
Please, my angel, guard me.
Keep my courage strong.

 

I dig my face into the earth,
But when I raise my head,
One of us, both loved at birth,
Will on this day be dead.

 

I’ve killed so much my soul is sick.
God make him turn away!
Or at least let fate’s choice be quick.
Then I’ll kill no more today.

 

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BEAST IN ME
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

Like a beast my growling starts.
It begins deep down and low.
My humanity departs.
I become someone I don’t know.

 

I smell the enemy coming fast.
I will see them soon.
Battle will be joined at last
Under the spilled light of this moon.

 

Adrenaline surges through my veins.
Blood lust takes my soul.
I forget all my body’s pains.
Instinct takes control.

 

I lose thoughts of love or hate.
Emotions make me slow.
I focus tighter as I wait.
Primitive urges grow.

 

In moments I will rise to meet
An enemy who feels like me.
Bullets and bayonets will us both greet
And send one to eternity.

 

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HOMAGE TO A GUNSHIP

By Carl Martin Johnson

Great behemoth, ride the storm!

Spit lightning from your eyes.

Inflict most grievous harm,

Nor heed the widows’ cries.

Send my enemies to their death.

Drive their craven spirits fleeing.

Set them afire with your hot breath,

So they curse their very being.

We warriors below embrace you,

Great flying Dog of War.

The cowards will not face you,

Knowing the Fist of God you are.

Drive them to me through the sand.

Tear them with bullet-fangs of steel.

When they near me, I will stand,

And my own teeth they will feel.

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DEATH OF A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER AT VICKSBURG
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

I see the Yankees comin’.
Must be a thousan’ on that hill.
I hear their drummers drummin’.
It’s me they’re out to kill.

 

Soldiers like them burned our farm.
Wasn’t much, but all we had.
Said they wouldn’t do us harm.
Then they up an’ killed my dad.

 

Walker’s Texans signed me on.
I lied about my age.
Momma cried an’ carried on.
But I was full o’ hate and rage.

 

Front of me’s a scary sight.
Most blue boys I ever seen.
Hell of a day to fight.
Today I turn fifteen.

 

Now their cannons spittin’ fire.
Muskets blastin’ through the noise
Their shootin’ I admire.
Good shots, them Yankee boys.

 

Damn! What slapped my head!?
It hurts….hurts pretty bad.
A Yankee bullet’s killed me dead.
It’s been quick, this life I had.

 

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IN THE END
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

In the end, it’s just we two.
Only us my friend.
Just me and you.

 

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DEATH’S COLD EYE
By Carl Martin J
ohnson

My gaze held fast on Death’s cold eye.
He was challenging me to blink.
He’d come a long way to see me die.
Hoping my lifeblood to drink.

I put fiery hate into my stare,
Disdaining his thirsty grin.
One day I would pay my mortal’s share,
But this was not where or when.

I felt his cold grip ‘round my heart.
He squeezed tight, but I fought.
If this world I was to depart,
My leaving would be dearly bought.

Death saw in my eyes he would not win.
His grin melted into a smile.
He knew the fight was over then
I would live a while.

 

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TO CHANGE MY LAND
By Carl Martin Johnson

"To change my land,
You must kill me.
So here I stand.
I will bend no knee."
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DEATH OF THE DIPLOMAT’S GUARD
By Carl Martin Johnson


Blood-lust glazed their eyes
As they hurled him to the ground.
They praised Allah with their cries,
An evil, barbaric sound.

His face was torn and bloody,
But he would not give up the fight.
He would not stoop to pleading,
Though he'd die that very night.

An AK butt came down hard.
He grabbed it as it slashed near,
And caught the raghead off his guard,
Turning kill-craze to fear.

He pulled the trigger quickly.
Bullets ripped the crowd.
His attacker gurgled thickly,
Crying the Prophet’s name aloud.

The guard scrambled off in the confusion,
Hiding flat behind a wall.
Until, in what he prayed was an illusion,
He heard the Ambassador’s anguished call.

He steeled himself for action.
In the past he was a SEAL.
His boots dug in for traction.
He was hurt, but he would heal.

The flames burnt as he threw himself past
To the ambassador, lying still on the floor.
His mind said “This mission’s my last.”
His heart said “So I’ll try all the more”.

The fire burnt, but did not stop him.
He reached the man in his charge.
Bullets hit, but could not drop him.
His sense of duty was too large.

Now the man on his back may be living
Or the man he carried may be dead.
He would give all he had to be giving
Because that’s how he was trained and bred.

He had made it back out when they found him.
He fired every round that remained.
But the smelly horde swooped in to surround him.
Every drop of his blood the dogs drained.

Yet men like this do not die.
In our hearts we keep them alive.
We emulate them, or should try to,
If we want humankind to survive.

 

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A WALK WITH OTHER GHOSTS
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

I moved slow in the jungle hush.
The raucous forest sounds were stilled.
We were alone in the tropic bush,
Just me and those I’d killed.

 

Dead littered the village street.
I stepped around them on my way.
I felt no victory in their defeat,
No joy in their lifeless dismay.

 

The sky was filled with scavenger birds
Drawn by the smell of spirits fleeing.
A silent horror, beyond words,
Colored all that I was seeing.

 

I wondered which corpses I had felled.
Whose heads my bullets shattered.
Whose flames of life my aim had quelled.
Though none of that now mattered.

 

In my weariness I knelt,
Wiping off my bloody sweat.
The exhaustion that I felt
Only a warrior can get.

 

I stood again, worn and slow,
Limping not toward but away.
I knew not where I would go,
But I surely could not stay.

 

Then a sharp cold chill ran through me.
It paralyzed my heart.
A change was happening to me.
I could not depart.

 

I felt the dead behind me,
Souls following my soul.
Lining single file to find me.
I was leading a ghost patrol.

 

And through all these years,
I see them in the night.
My phantom volunteers
I lead in endless fight.

 

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AWAKE
By Carl Martin Johnson

They’ll come again before morning.
So, I’d better stay awake.
If I sleep, there’ll be no warning.
The lives of my platoon are at stake.

Still, it looks like we won’t make it.
The enemy are too damn many.
I’m not happy, but I’ll fake it.
Give my men hope when I don’t have any.

Tomorrow I’ll likely die.
I’m too tired to give a damn.
I’ll probably laugh instead of cry.
That’s just how I am.

I’ve got an hour or two.
I know I should be praying,
But that’s not what I’ll do,
In this short time I’ll be staying.

I’ll think up a happy day,
A lost sweetheart that I kissed,
A life before I went away,
Those to whom I’ll be missed.

Well, I left that a little late.
I see bad guys coming fast.
God give me courage without hate.
This thought will be my last.

 

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THE DEAD SOLDIER
By Carl Martin Johnson

I am the man who died for you
In every war our nation fought.
I’m the one who paid the price called due
For the freedom which was bought.

My brothers and I do not rest here,
Do not lie in a quiet grave.
But you can see our spark appear
In young warriors fighting brave.

Do not weep because we fell.
It was an honor so to die.
Only let your poets tell
What we did, and why.

Think of us when the bugles play
Every year at this day’s dawn.
And take care lest you betray
The freedom we have won.

 

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LAST MAN LEFT

By Carl Martin Johnson

I am the last man left,

But I am not a man who’s bending.

No terror, not bereft.

I’ll have a manly ending.

Of my brothers, none remain.

All are dead or dying.

My warcry drowns my pain.

I will not leave life crying.

Here they come again.

They will kill me if they can.

Yet, one man with heart can win.

And I am, indeed, that man.

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STALKER
By Carl Martin Johnson

Flowing, liquid like a cat,
A sleek panther stalking.
When the stalker moves like that,
It’s the predator in him talking.

The enemy was near.
It was him the stalker smelled.
But the stalker had no fear.
His prey would soon be felled.

He would make a silent kill.
Remove the enemy scout.
He was confident of his skill.
His lethal abilities were not in doubt.

His brothers trailed behind.
They would follow where he led.
Without him they were blind.
Without him they’d be dead.

His heart ached with every killing.
He prayed for the dying to be soon done.
But he’d keep stalking, though unwilling,
Until at last the fight was won.

 

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SLINK PAST ME DEATH
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

Slink away on past me death.
To your shame you missed me.
I smelt the scent of your foul breath
Before you bent and kissed me.

 

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THE SCAR ON MY FACE
By Carl Martin Johnson

My face boasts a crooked scar.
The brand of an enemy knife.
A souvenir of war.
Snapshot of a moment in life.

I don’t recall the pain.
It was a slash in battle’s heat.
But images of that day remain,
Crimson splatter over my feet.

My attacker was like me,
A warrior fighting well.
I sent him to eternity,
Where he waits for me in Hell.

The bayonet’s mark reminds me
That Death once passed me by.
And one day when he finds me,
I’ll accept…I will not cry.

 

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I DIED FOR YOU TODAY
By Carl Martin Johnson

I died for you today.
I would die for you again.
I took the warrior's way
So that our child might win.

 

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