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My River Lover

© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

The Wolf Cub

By Carl Martin Johnson

My love lives by the river,
Her feet bathe in its flow.
All I have I want to give her,
But she always tells me “no”.

She teases with her green eyes,
Her lovely breast exposes,
Allows a peek at soft white thighs,
Cheeks blushing pink as roses.

The sun glows golden in her hair,
Rippling in the summer wind.
I wish I could lie with her there.
I cannot, but I pretend.

But this night in my dreams
I will hold her in my arms.
Lit by soft moonbeams,
I will enjoy her lovely charms.



By Carl Martin Johnson

The letter spurted from my pen,
And called forth another.
So a further one bled out again
To stand beside his brother.

They tried hard to make word sense.
Alone they could not do it.
Neither past nor present tense
Opened any way to construe it.

Three more of them leaked out,
Falling nicely into line.
There was little doubt
A word would appear just fine.

Yet, standing there alone,
It really had little worth.
More needed to be there soon
To give an idea birth.

So I spat forth several more,
Which set themselves out neatly.
It was not long before
A sentence developed sweetly.

I repeated this four times,
After that I had a verse.
I enjoyed making the rhymes.
I’ve seen better, but I’ve seen worse.

More verses came into being,
Almost as if by magic,
Forming the poems I was seeing,
Some humorous, some tragic.

Still, I realized this composition
Would really be worth naught,
Would not achieve these letters’ mission
Unless it conceived a thought.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Life cannot defeat me.
She’s a mare I’ll break and ride.
What she sends out to meet me,
I will handle in my stride.

I will tame her volcanic fire
Direct the heat to help me grow.
To her summit I’ll aspire,
And set the world aglow.

I own part of Life’s soul.
I can feel it coursing through me.
But I am in control.
I simply use what it brings to me.

One day we will be one,
When I have proved my worth,
When Life’s full love I’ve won,
That will be the New Man’s birth.


By Carl Martin Johnson

It was large, but ill-defined.
I paused and knelt to study.
As neat as if hand-designed
In the clay when it was muddy.

A pawprint, almost surely.
First guess: a mountain cat.
The day was tired; I was seeing poorly.
So I could not swear to that.

The setting sun speared my eyes.
I raised my hand to shade.
I was astounded by the size
Of the track that had been made.

I hurried to my shack.
I admit to some unease.
Because I had noticed on my rush back,
And odd scent on the breeze.

That night I turned and tossed.
I could find no sleep.
Something in me seemed lost.
Some dream I could not keep.

The sky spilled down at dawn,
Like an upended sea.
In an instant the torrent was gone,
Having washed the landscape free.

I was drawn back to the place
Where I’d found the big cat’s paw.
The storm had left no trace.
Now I was not clear on what I saw.

I heard a sound, more a vibration.
From which direction was unclear.
It left me with an eerie sensation.
Curiosity tinged with fear.

I had taken many scalps that spring.
Many screams had torn the air.
Many warriors had heard me sing
And cried out in despair.

This sound was all of those.
Mixed wildly in my mind.
A dance of the life I chose.
Whose end I might now find.

My soul was filled with blood
Like the lion of these hills.
Like him, in this clay and mud,
I had made a thousand kills.

Now my soul would be the prey
Of the demons who loved war
They would take me any day
To a place both dark and far.

When I looked down where I had tread
I saw the track, and knew the sign.
It told me I was dead,
And the monster’s tracks were mine.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Hugo was a child of God,
In the normal world a stranger.
People thought him very odd,
But Hugo kept them from danger.

Hugo realized they spoke of him
When they thought he could not hear.
He wished they would not doubt him.
They had nothing at all to fear.

On his own he walked the streets,
Lone patrol from dusk ‘til dawn.
Until the stars begin retreats,
And the last moonbeam was gone.

He kept watch for his town,
Though the folk were unaware.
Hugo kept bad things from coming ‘round.
He would slay them, should they dare.

Hugo had neither sword nor shield,
But he was very strong.
He would never, ever yield
To what evil came along.

A dragon slithered in one night.
Snuck in from the gloom.
He swallowed Hugo with one bite.
Hugo thought he’d met his doom.

Then he thought of whom he cared.
They would be eaten by the beast.
So Hugo’s sharp teeth bared,
And began to reverse the feast.

He commenced chewing, part by part,
Making the dragon writhe and cry.
At last he reached the poisonous heart.
To taste it was to die.

Hugo ripped it out, then spat!
Quick, but still too late.
There was no denying that.
He accepted his dire fate.

The dragon turned to dust
As Hugo leaped down from its maw.
The deed was brave and just.
Hugo was the only one who saw.

He stood there in the dawn.
His tribe would see this sun.
The monster now was gone.
A victory had been won.

No one save he would know.
No statue would be erected.
Still, the children here would grow,
If ignorant of being protected.

A smile spread on Hugo’s face.
His life had been worth living.
He had found his rightful place.
It was the price now he was giving.

With his dying breath,
He thanked great God above.
Hugo would die a noble death
For the people that he loved.



By Carl Martin Johnson

Let the fight begin!
Let the wars come now!
We are mighty! We can win!
We will conquer! This I vow!

Let us not in shame leave it
For our children to endure.
We’ve let evil spread and must retrieve it,
For the disease provide the cure.

Has life become so dear,
Our blood such precious wine?
Are we so wrought with fear
That we all honor will resign?

While my arm can the sword wield
Let me march in the phalanx.
Let the sun burst on my shield
As I surge forward through the ranks.

Let us go on the assault,
Strike those who threaten in our fury.
What care we if some find fault?
Our children are our jury.


By Carl Martin Johnson

The dark fur made him hard to see
On the shadowed forest floor.
His mahogany eyes looked up at me,
I half expected him to roar.

I hesitated a second only
Before I bent to pick him up.
He looked fierce, but lonely.
He was just a little pup.

He was proud and brave,
Yet trembling with fright.
My thick gloves served to save
My fingers from his bite.

I reminded myself this was no pet.
He was a hunter who ate his kill.
I was human and to him a threat.
I could not bend him to my will.

Should I leave him then to face the cold,
Perhaps to die of hunger?
He wrestled frantically in my hold.
He would have already died were he much younger.

My conscience told me to take him home.
My soul said set him free.
He is a wild thing, meant to roam.
Let his fate be what it must be.

I set him down and he stood still,
Looking at me as if he understood.
He bared his fangs to let me know, not kill.
It is man’s world, but his wood.


By Carl Martin Johnson

It’s the smell of war that sickens,
More than the sight, more than the sound.
The sweet, putrid aroma that thickens,
Over the corpses lying ‘round.

The acrid cordite from the firing,
Nostrils burned from artillery exploding,
Men sweat-soaked, still perspiring,
In constant shooting and reloading.

On theater screens we see war,
But it misses other senses.
It is far from how things are,
In spite of Hollywood’s pretenses.

We don’t experience the nauseating reek
Of a comrade’s guts spilled into his hands,
Or the coppery scent of the red leak
As he bleeds out where he stands.

Before we are caught in a wave
Of battle’s undeniable glory,
Remember that the brave
Fight in an arena that is gory.

And when we must send our youth
To combat, perhaps to die,
Take note of old warriors’ truth:
There is more to war than meets the eye.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Night, sing me to sleep
With your insects and your birds.
Rock me into darkness deep
With sounds more beautiful than words.

Come and give me respite.
Give me shelter from the day.
Free me from waking’s despot.
Make my troubles fade away.

Let me dream of peaceful things.
Let me lose all thoughts of war.
Let me glimpse what Heaven brings.
The day I go there is not far.

If you would be so kind,
Please tell me who I am,
And, in God’s Grand Design,
How I fit into the Plan.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I will make today a good day.
Who knows? Might be my last.
I’ll be worthwhile in some way,
Because my life is going fast.

This day is a happy gift to me.
It is not something I’ve earned.
Yet, each breath feels like a victory,
Death’s power overturned.

So I’ll pay back the favor
By bringing value to this time,
Leaving one deed for others to savor
On our common uphill climb.

Death’s razor has shaved me close,
And more than once has nicked,
But Life had not doled out my full dose.
I was not one the Reaper picked.

One day I must pay the fare.
The cost of living is dying.
I’ll be useful until I get there,
Or not for want of trying.

For now I’ll wake and bless each day,
Kiss the sun, bright in the sky,
Thank God I have come all this way,
And live hard until I die.


By Carl Martin Johnson

One day I saw a single seed.
I could not tell the kind..
It might grow something I would need.
Might be a lucky find.

That night I put it in the ground,
By the light of a full white moon,
Still not knowing what I’d found.
Its growth would tell me soon.

I watered the seedbed every day.
I fertilized the soil.
In coming days it would repay
For all my care and toil.

Patiently I waited.
At last burst forth a sprout.
I sang and celebrated.
I gave a joyous shout.

But though my dear plant grew and grew,
My smile began to fade.
Its appearance did not live up to
The effort I had made.

The leaves were limp and jagged.
Prickles covered the skinny stalk.
Its bud was rough and ragged.
It would have growled if it could talk.

I was disgusted at my attempt
At farming the cursed seed.
The world, like me, would hold contempt
For my adopted weed.

For many days I was sad.
I avoided the ugly crop,
I was feeling very bad
That my project was such a flop.

One morning I rose with the sun,
Determined to uproot it.
Or take along my father’s gun
Take swift aim and shoot it.

But as I neared its blooming spot
I was slapped with a great surprise.
Some miracle must have been wrought,
Or an imp had bewitched my eyes.

The stalk was tall and straight.
It reached up toward the sky.
Knocking hard on Heaven’s gate
With its gold framed mahogany eye.

And then I knew why my fate
Had shown the seed to me.
It taught me I must sometimes wait
If true beauty I would see.




By Carl Martin Johnson


Day turns into night.
Life turns into dying.
Bear it without fright.
There is no use in crying.


Face both sun and rain
With the same brave smile.
All the joy and pain
Lasts only a little while.



By Carl Martin Johnson

I feel Life rushing past,
Strong current streaming on.
It is going by too fast.
I must jump in before it’s gone.

Like autumn leaves, events float by,
Barely glimpsed, then out of sight.
No time to laugh, no time to cry
Before the act takes flight.

I should leap into the deluge,
Find out if I can swim,
Leave my place of refuge,
Brave Fate’s flood, however grim.

Here standing on the bank
I am safe, secure and warm.
But I will have only myself to blame,
If I never feel Life’s charm.

I will steel myself and dive,
Swallow deep and taste,
Find what it means to be alive,
Before my life has gone to waste.



By Carl Martin Johnson

You can kill me if you catch me,
If you believe you are good enough.
But I don’t think you will match me.
You are not of the right stuff.

We have crossed before.
Each time I have won.
You don’t bite up to your roar.
This time you will be done.

So may the sweet sun kiss your face.
May the stars light up your night.
May the war gods give you grace
To come with honor to the fight.

Stand before me if you can,
Manly combat, eye-to-eye.
Who will be the better man?
Who will be the last to die?


The Smell Of War
Night Lullaby
The Track
Today Will Be A Good Day
The Seed
The Current
Fight Now!
A Love Note To My Enemy
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