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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

They're Coming
Beau Geste

By Carl Martin Johnson

He let me see your letter.
It seems you’ve made your choice.
I would have felt much better
Had I heard it in your voice.

But I care for you too much
To cause you pain in any way.
I will no more feel your touch.
Still, your trust I’ll not betray.

Tomorrow we will fight.
The enemy’s moving in.
I’ll wound your man in the night,
Out of sight of the other men.

He will hurt, but not be dead.
I’ll take dawn patrol in his place.
But for this letter, no more be said.
Please make it vanish with no trace.

Only know my love was real,
If this day I am killed,
Let my legacy be what I feel.
And know I died with my heart filled.



By Carl Martin Johnson


Let my fights be just.
Let honor be my guide.
And, when kill I must,
May it be for the righteous side.


Let me manly my sword wield.
My enemy unsuffering die.
Grant me courage not to yield.
Put the storm in my war cry.


When I face the foe
With my brothers at my side,
Let only valor show,
My fear hide deep inside.


Death’s lance one day will find me.
Let me meet it with disdain.
My Angel, stand behind me.
Keep me upright in my pain.


Then lead me to my brothers,
Who have walked the path before.
Seat me with the others
Until there’s need for us once more.




By Carl Martin Johnson

He watched the enemy run.
He had fought to save his nation.
The hard war had been won.
But there would be no celebration.


Tomorrow he’d fight again.
There always would be war.
It was Man’s original sin.
Man had not come very far.


The blood he’d spilled this day
Would irrigate hatred’s crops.
No matter those he’d slay,
The fighting never stops.


His mind turned to his son,
A baby, but soon grown.
He prayed that war be done
Before his child would fight his own.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Will good men make a stand
When invaders push us hard?
Before vandals raze our land,
Will they at last stand guard?

Will our way of life be ended,
Our progeny denied its fruits.
Will those we’ve carelessly befriended
Poison the Tree of Liberty’s roots?

The enemy’s within our gates.
Our good hearts support them.
We risk our children’s fates
If we do not abort them.

So take up shield and spear!
Fellow patriots unite!
Protect what we hold dear!
For God and country fight!




By Carl Martin Johnson

The day the soldier saw what’s true
Was the day he lost his eyes.
At first he thought his life was through.
But he was dealt a fine surprise.

He could no longer see the dawn,
Or the while glow of the moon.
His view of all outside was gone,
Yet he could better hear the tune.

What he touched with his finger,
Grass on his naked feet.
He let the sensations linger
The new experience was sweet.

Each breath that he took in
Passed his nostrils crisp and clear.
He could feel the life begin
Sense the energy appear.

This wound he would survive.
He would heal and learn to grow.
A new way to be alive.
Now his soul he’d come to know.




By Carl Martin Johnson

If I fall before you, Brother,
Pick up my gun and fight.
We must stand with one another.
Together we have might.

To those who would defeat us,
We must show our sharpened steel.
Dare the evil ones to meet us.
Crush their hearts beneath our heel.

We must fight while we have breath.
The enemy’s at the gate.
The struggle is to the death.
God of Love vs. God of Hate.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I saw the demon rage,
Tearing into tortured souls.
The monster fled his cage,
Freed from all controls.

His fangs were sharp with hate,
Eyes red with murderer’s blood.
Mankind has opened wide Hell’s Gate,
As Satan never could.

Weak spirits filled his maw,
Drained of Heaven’s grace.
Torn by tooth and claw.
Raw terror on each face.

He preyed upon Man’s sin.
Grew strong on human loss.
But the demon did not win.
I stabbed him with a Cross.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Here I am, a man defined.
I live by honor’s code.
In my heart and in my mind,
I take the warrior’s road.

I am tolerant of your views,
If they don’t constrain me.
I’ll not abide abuse,
And will fight you though it pain me.

Stand firm here by my side,
Allied to my strong arm.
We will never hide.
Never run from harm.

Should there be those who hate me,
I won’t change or give a damn.
No matter what fates await me.
I will be me…..Here I am.



By Carl Martin Johnson

I saw the war knife slashing,
Sharp across my face.
Sunlight hit steel flashing
On the path to Death’s embrace.

Its edge was honed and keen,
So the cut gave little pain.
It spun at me unseen,
A silent hurricane.

Reflecting on the blade,
Fast images streamed by.
Scenes of the life I’d made,
How I was about to die.

The blood began to spurt,
I felt my spirit going,
Realizing Death’s small hurt
Would lead me to the Knowing.

As I float toward the Light.
I feel no dread or fear.
Only pure delight
At the vision coming clear.



By Carl Martin Johnson

This would not come again.
It would quick decide his fate.
He would lose or win.
The moment would not wait.

Would he stand and fight,
Or break from fear and run?
Would he gather all his might,
Or like a coward come undone?

Shouts signaled the attack.
They were many, he was one.
There would be no turning back
Once the fighting was begun.

He knew he’d likely die
If he stayed to face the foe.
He was honor-bound to try,
Or his shame the world would know.

The first rounds cut smooth through.
Yet the soldier felt no pain.
He was aware what he must do.
He would not fall in vain.

With a warrior’s roar he leapt,
Charging straight into the fray.
His destiny would be kept.
He would die well this day.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Now they’re coming! Now they’re crawling!
Creeping through the gloom.
The Reaper’s sharp scythe will be falling,
Sending us to our doom.

I can hear them shifting.
Though thick fog keeps them hid.
Soon this ground cloud will be lifting,
And we’ll see the harm they did.

In seconds they will rush,
Pointing bayonets at my throat.
Hordes emerging from the brush.
Chance of my survival is remote.

All right, it’s beginning.
I can see the first ones rise.
This battle we’ll not be winning.
So hear my last battle cries!




From Carl Martin Johnson

Greetings! I am Death-bringer.
Let my vengeance freeze your heart.

At the touch of my icy finger,
Your evil souls will burst apart.





By Carl Martin Johnson

It was a creature thickly furred,
One he’d never seen before.
Through his vision weak and blurred,
He saw a wild thing, nothing more.


It was dying, if not dead,
Lying close by in the mud.
They shared a pool of red,
A comingling of their blood.


The soldier’s wounds were deep.
He knew his time was near.
Soon now he would sleep,
But for him death held no fear.


He looked up at the trees,
At the forest birds returned.
Their songs carried on the breeze
Over the ground that war had burned.


He grasped the ball of fur,
Though it lay deathly still.
Praying it would stir,
He focused all his will.


As he stroked its blood-soaked coat,
The tiny creature stirred.
A cry came from its throat
That the soldier barely heard.


The man smiled at the small brown eye,
Though he would not see dawn.
The soldier knew that he would die,
But Life would still go on.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I am the storm,
The roar of thunder.
Upon evil I rain harm.
Watch ye and wonder.

Run, demons, from my lightning.
Beware the white-hot flash.
To the godless I am frightening.
They know well my flaming lash.

Beware my awesome deluge.
Each drop a molten spear.
From their sting there is no refuge.
Their wounds bring mortal fear.

My wind is hurricane,
Sweeping tyrants from my path.
Inflicting grievous pain
With my all-righteous wrath.

I am the darkening cloud.
If you see me be afraid.
Run fast with your head bowed.
By me is God’s reckoning made.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I’m stumbling through this morning haze
Toward the sound of fighting.
I fear I’ve reached the end of days.
Coward’s fangs are biting.

The fog is thick..I can’t see.
That is for the best.
If I saw the weapons aimed at me,
I might not pass the test.

A round just took my brother down.
The medic’s at his side.
I wish I could crawl into the ground.
But I’m too proud to hide.

I’ll keep moving straight ahead,
Ignore the bullets snapping.
Tomorrow’s dawn may find me dead,
Or the Reaper could be napping.




By Carl Martin Johnson

All my fears have vanished.
I frightened them away.
To Hades they’ve been banished.
Hell is where they’ll stay.

There is no bullet that can hurt me.
What I am is deep inside.
My soul will live should my body desert me.
I will not end because I’ve died.

Yes, I can feel great pain.
But only in my soul.
Though blood gushes from my vein,
My spirit remains whole.

So, enemy do your worst.
I scorn your cuts and bruises.
With coward’s fear uncursed.
My soul defeat refuses.




By Carl Martin Johnson

There lurks a secret in my genes,
Going far back to the cave.
I dream prehistoric scenes
Where I’m more animal than brave.

Fear was brief and forgotten soon.
I attacked enemies with bloodlust.
To coward’s disease I was immune.
I viewed those who ran with disgust.

Imbedded in my DNA,
Hides a thing primitive and wild.
Though generations far away,
I am still the caveman’s child.

It lies deep in every warrior’s blood,
Part of us one and all.
From before old Noah’s flood,
We are bred from Neanderthal.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Unseen arms wrap ‘round me
When life becomes too hard.
As if a brother found me,
I rest while he stands guard.

Held above the current,
No struggling against the flow,
Not seeing ghosts who weren’t,
Sensing my courage grow.

The strong arms will not release
‘Til I can make it on my own.
My troubled soul at peace.
And worry’s dragons flown.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Fear gripped me, icy-fingered,
Spread tendrils ‘round my heart.
Terror came and lingered,
Tearing my resolve apart.

It clutched the coward in me,
Snatched it from its cave,
Letting weakness win me.
How could I be brave?

I stood still and frozen.
Would I betray my trust?
I was the sentry chosen.
Now it’s fight I must.

I see the enemy’s eyes.
He is closing for the kill.
He will take us by surprise
If I cannot find the will.

God, let my hot blood flow,
My icy heart unchain.
Set my sword in battle throe.
Ignoring my wounds’ pain.

If it’s now I die,
Let me die with valor.
So, Fear pass me by.
I despise your faintheart’s pallor.



By Carl Martin Johnson

Crimson blossoms on every chest.
Boutonnieres of war.
Roses that in full attest.
What the horrors are.

In fields the poppies bloom,
Ground fertile from warrior’s blood.
Where the valiant met their doom,
Face down in red hued mud.

Now stands a lily on each grave,
In hope of souls’ rebirth.
God holds dear the fallen brave
For their sacrifice on earth.



By Carl Martin Johnson

He bit and slapped and scratched.,
As my K-Bar blade sliced in.
Like a demon newly-hatched,
He fought hard to stop his end.

Our mouths were close to kissing.
I smelled his fetid breath.
Blood foam from his throat was hissing.
He was shaking hands with death.

He looked long into my eyes,
One warrior to another.
The best way a soldier dies,
At the hand of a warrior brother.


Holiday Greetings To Isis
A Warrior's Prayer To His Angel
Life Goes On
After The Battle
I Am The Storm
Morning Haze
The Soldier's Eyes
Vanished Fear
If I Fall
My Ancestral Neanderthal
Demon Raging
Unseen Arms
A Man Defined
The War Knife
War Flowers
The Moment
Death By My Hand
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