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© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

Cold Souls


By Carl Martin Johnson

She thought of her birthday a year ago,
Screams of terror and shells falling.
Her mother yelling not to go.
Her father to God calling.

Then the noise was stilled.
Death floated, silent, in the air.
Bloody piles of people killed.
Her parents’ torn bodies lying there.

She ran fast and she ran far.
She struggled hard to stay alive.
Slipping the spider’s web of war,
The young girl managed to survive.

She learned to scavenge and to steal,
To elude capture by evil men,
To substitute dreams for what was real.
She was old for a girl of ten.

Perhaps she had an unlucky birth.
But she never let life make her cry.
She found a new mother in the earth.
A new father in the sky.




By Carl Martin Johnson

In the morning I smell flowers
In my darling’s shining hair.
I could lie with her for hours,
Her beauty is so fair.

The dawn light tints her face
With a delicate rosy hue,
And my heart begins to race,
As when our love was new.

Long lashes twitch from dreaming.
A smile comes to her lips,
Those two ripe berries gleaming,
From whence sweet nectar drips.

I would join her if I could,
In the land where Morpheus reigns.
We would leave behind for good
This world and all its chains.

Yet here she is my bride,
So I bless the Heavenly Powers
That let me lie here by her side
And look at her for hours.



(In Honor of International Holocaust

                     Remembrance Day, 2014)
By Carl Martin Johnson

My name is Carl; I am a Jew
Not by religion, nor by blood,
But in honor of the good they do,
And the horror they withstood.

What hurts the Jew hurts me.
The Jew and I are one.
Never again will come to be
The outrage that was done.

I give warning to evil men
Who seek to do Jews ill:
The slaughter will not happen again
Because those who try, we’ll kill.

For you who will not heed,
Who would put our people to waste,
I swear that you will bleed,
Righteous anger you will taste.

So Jewish children do not fear,
But remember what has been.
We hold Jewish life full dear.
And we swear: Never Again!




By Carl Martin Johnson

I hear a dog off in the dark.
He is a sentinel.
There is warning in his bark
Of harm that we must quell.

There are things we cannot see
Hiding in the penumbra of Being.
If they are allowed to roam free,
Even angels will run fleeing.

We will cage them, you and I,
For we still hold the key.
We’ll ensure it is they, not us, who die,
For the sake of posterity.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Tell me, brother, have you come far
To die here on this ground?
Can you tell me who you are
And what it is you’ve found?

I would cover you if I could,
But bullets are whipping past.
I have to say you don’t look good.
Don’t worry, this fight won’t last.

I hope your end was quick,,
That you didn’t have much pain.
Your lung was not my pick.
I was aiming at your brain.

Your bayonet was sharp.
You used it very well.
Soon I’ll hear an angel’s harp,
Or roast for my sins in Hell.

Maybe we will meet,
If this is not the end.
Where we’re going there’s no defeat,
So I’d like to be your friend.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I am the first of a special thing.
I do not yet know what.
Only that something new I bring
With what it is I’ve got.

All around me nothing grows,
Or moves of its own volition.
He Who made this wasteland alone knows
The purpose of my mission.

Above me stars blaze in the dark.
They warm me with their light.
I am their kin, though just a spark
Come to set fire to the night.

This planet will be a special place.
A nest where the future is born.
It will be the cosmos’ base
Where the new from the old is torn.

I am this New World’s beginning,
Though I know not from whence I came.
I will set the universe spinning,
And Life will be my name.




By Carl Martin Johnson

New day! Rebirth! Start again!
Leave the past behind me.
Forget about what has been.
Let the future find me.

My life I’ll be restoring.
I’m tired of the old me.
I find myself quite boring.
I need new activity.

I need to seek a dragon.
A damsel in distress.
A star to hitch my wagon.
An end to loneliness.

I’ll emerge from my cocoon,
A butterfly with bright new wings.
The world will very soon
See what my rebirth brings.
By Carl Martin Johnson
I wake in the night,
Alone, not afraid.
My mind taking flight
About why I was made.

I am one among billions,
Yet I am unique.
Passing through Life’s pavilions,
The joyous and the bleak.

Does my existence have meaning?
Is it Fate I am here?
Are my acts intervening
In some purpose unclear?

Perhaps I will never know.
But I will always wonder.
Am I here to help the world grow?
Or am I only some awful blunder?



By Carl Martin Johnson
Goodbye to sadness.
I put you out of my mind.
I leave you and your madness
Far, far behind.

All cause of bad feeling
I abandon today.
I begin my heart’s healing,
And let joy have its say.

From now through forever
My spirits I’ll control.
No clouds whatsoever,
Only sun in my soul.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Time doubles back
Like a hesitant friend
On a circular track.
No beginning, no end.

I find myself knowing
Both future and past.
At times life seems slowing.
At times it goes fast.

One day Time will tire
Of the game that it plays.
Then the world will expire.
The end of our days.
By Carl Martin Johnson

My loins are aflame.
My heart a glowing coal.
My soul cries your name.
Only with you am I whole.

So, let me love you.
Let me quench Eros’ fire.
No comet above you
Burns with hotter desire.



By Carl Martin Johnson

I cry for the cold and timid souls
Who let life pass them by.
No obsessions, ambitions or goals.
Never giving life a try.

Should they find love it is by chance,
Likely with one weak as they.
They avoid the passion of romance,
For worry the beloved will stray.

They will not reach the mountain top
Because they fear the climb.
Though they never risk a fatal drop,
They miss the view sublime.

True, they never taste defeat,
But victory eludes them
They never sip the nectar sweet
Of triumph that includes them.

I tell them “Wake! Throw off your fear!
For while you feel no strife,
Your insulation, held so dear,
Keeps you from feeling Life.”




By Carl Martin Johnson

Close your eyes and hear the tune
Life plays for only you.
It’s the way angels commune.
Life does it with us, too.

Sometimes she whispers in our ear
With a soft caressing breeze.
Or, when she wants to be sure we hear,
Wind whistling through the trees.

Her gurgling brooks lull us to sleep.
Morning birds sing us awake.
Thunder rolls down deep
In secret roads we fear to take.

But Life has made her finest song
A symphony of one note.
It’s the life-greeting, loud and strong,
From a newborn baby’s throat.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I flung my daydreams into the night.
They have grown too haunting.
I am weary of the fight.
The images are too daunting.

My memories have their own lives.
I’ve lost all control.
They dwell in a place where horror thrives,
In a dark part of my soul.

The sad songs of war,
The shouts, the screams,
Have driven me too far,
Have hijacked all my dreams.

Visions of maimed and dying
Fly by in crimson red.
My grief is beyond crying.
I long for peace among the dead.

Ghosts swirl all around me,
Of those I loved and those I killed.
Their emptiness has found me,
And it never can be filled.




By Carl Martin Johnson

God strolled through my soul just then,
Maybe He saw my desolation,
And assessed what the worth had been,
In the effort of my creation.

If He viewed my gray despair,
The desolate landscape of my being,
He will know how very rare
Are my hopes, now gone or fleeing.

He will be ashamed I am so weak,
Cowering down in fear.
No matter be the prospect bleak,
A man’s pride should be more dear.

For His sake, if not mine,
I must jump quickly to my feet.
Are my roots not divine?
Am I not Man complete?

If I hurry, He may ignore it,
Leave me be to rise again,
Be who I was before it
Pulled me down to coward’s sin.

The next time He passes through me
I will make Him proud, I swear.
I will be the way He knew me,
If He notices me there.





By Carl Martin Johnson

Fire touches me
But I do not burn.
Life teaches me
But I do not learn.

I keep afloat on the soul
Provided for my survival.
I wonder at my role
In life’s daily revival
That maintains the world whole.

Am I the clue…the key?
Would the world BE without me?




By Carl Martin Johnson

I have finally seen him, only last night
His eyes, his face, his form seemed to burn
But, wispy, translucent in the moon’s light.
Was it to his call or by chance I had turned?
Or some reward, one I had yet to earn?

His aspect was much like mine,
Neither fearsome nor warm.
Still, I knew it to be a sign
That when I saw him again
I would be beyond harm.

I had always sensed he was there.
It was he, who, sword high,
Warned Death: “Beware!”
When fate whispered softy
“You live.” and “You die.”

When the bullet whipped past me
To slap deadly behind,
I would have answered, had you asked me
“Are you cared for in some way?”
“Yes, I must be, but by one not my kind.”

Now I have met him, I know
I will soon not need his protection.
And I wonder will he stay mine when I go
Or find another to guard
Until my resurrection.




By Carl Martin Johnson

It was no more than a sting at first,
But soon he felt the wet.
Then he realized and cursed.
It would hurt, but there was no pain yet.

The firefight was a free-for-all,
Bullets flying all around.
He’d dropped quick to a low crawl,
And hugged close to the ground.

The hit had come before, he thought.
He had ignored the tug he had felt.
No time to feel things when you fought.
You just played the cards you were dealt.

The fight burned hard on every side.
The enemy so near he could smell them.
If he moved he would be among those who died.
Any try for escape would tell them.

A rasping sounded back of the fire.
A wheezing from his chest.
Singing wet requiem like a funeral choir
To a soul on its final quest.

He ripped his shirt and saw red foam
Blowing like whale’s spout with each breath.
The wound was either a ticket home,
Or a free ride on the highway to death.

He grabbed his battlefield dressing
From the canvas web gear he wore,
And held it fast to the wound, compressing,
Forgetting the pain and the gore.

Consciousness was fading fast.
It was getting too hard to hold on.
He knew it unlikely he would last.
If he blacked out, he was probably gone.

But he was tired and bleeding to sleep,
If he died, well, that was his fate.
He shoved the bandage in the hole deep
And closed his eyes to wait.


By Carl Martin Johnson
The Paladin comes lonely,
Arriving dark in summer night.
He is here for one thing only.
It is Evil he will fight.

He knows the One he seeks
Can take any form.
But he will protect the weak
Against the demon’s harm.

Paladin brings the Fire.
He also brings the Ice.
Lest you awaken his ire,
Think once, think twice.

Satan and his legions
Quake at Paladin’s name.
In all Hades regions,
They cringe in coward’s shame.

For he is God’s knight.
Dubbed so in His name.
And archangels aid his fight,
When he carries Justice’ flame.

Now his face turned to the sky
Silhouetted in the dawn.
He prays he will not die
So God’s battle can go on.



By Carl Martin Johnson

She comes while I sleep
And breathes words through my lips.
Kisses me deep.
Drinks my soul in sweet sips.

But the life that she takes
She returns beautified.
The nectar she makes
Resurrects what has died.

In the dawn when I wake,
I can feel what she gives.
Through the poems I make,
Her offering lives.


Morning My Love
Life Songs
Carl the Jew
My Ghosts
Dog Barking in the Night
God Strolled Through My Soul
Dying Ground
The Spark
The Wound
Goodbye to Unhappiness
The Paladin
The Muse
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