© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

 
 

PRINCESS
By Carl Martin Johnson

She was a princess in her dreams.
Her handsome prince was on his way.
By night she climbed moonbeams
To find the cause of his delay.

He would come, she knew.
She could feel it in her heart.
Her wish would soon come true,
Then her real life would start.

She would dance in a great hall
In their castle by the sea.
She would all their guests enthrall
With her grace and dexterity.

This disease that held her fast
With his sharp sword he would slay.
Free her from this bed at last,
Let her twirl in Life’s ballet.

He would come if she closed her eyes.
He would not leave her sad.
She knew he would heed her cries,
Her prince was all she had.

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TRYING TO BREAK THROUGH
By Carl Martin Johnson

I feel a struggle deep within,
Trying to break free.
A new creature would begin
While still a part of me.

At times our thoughts entwine. ..
Then the vision becomes clearer.
I see its destiny, and mine,
Lies in a life far dearer.

It is held back by my mind,
By my body, by my brain.
If freed, it would surely find
The road to a higher plane.

It is my soul’s deep core,
Evolving, growing past me,
Becoming something more,
A being to outlast me.

And it fights hard to emerge
From the cocoon that I provide,
To lead humanity’s surge
Toward a seat at our Father’s side.

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CHALLENGE TO THE MINOR GODS
By Carl Martin Johnson

Tremble, all ye lesser gods!
Look upon my might!
You I defy, despite the odds
To come and feel my bite.

You have thrown ill fate at me.
I have borne it for too long.
But those travails have, you’ll see,
Only served to make me strong.

My soul with rage is bursting.
I have cast off your chains.
I cannot stop this thirsting
To spill the venom in your veins.

“Devils” some men name you,
But you are evil gods to me.
And it is I the one who’ll shame you.
It is I who’ll bend your knee.

Take up the gauntlet that I throw.
After all, I’m only Man.
Then at last we both will know
Who’s the stronger in God’s plan.

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FAR AWAY
By Carl Martin Johnson

Are you real or just a dream
Conjured by my lonely heart?
Are you kind, as you would seem,
Or simply playing well the part?

Did I build you bit by bit
In the workshop of my soul,
From my ideal woman kit
Into a lovely whole?

Will you be there when I reach for you
To share our lovers’ wine?
Will the truth that I adore you
Be the spell that makes you mine?

Or will you fade like morning mist
When I take you in my arms?
Before we’ve even kissed,
Will you vanish with your charms?

Should I find that you’re a ghost,
Fruit of imagination,
I think that would hurt me most,
For you would be my own creation.

But I would dream a place,
A world for you and I,
To live in love’s embrace,
And dream until we die.

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THE HOOKER
By Carl Martin Johnson

She winked as I passed by,
Her figure fine, but face well-worn.
I was young, a little shy,
Between reserve and raw lust torn.

Wise was she, and took my arm.
“Pretty boy” she purred to me.
“I won’t do you any harm.
“I’ve got some things you’ll want to see.”

She led me upstairs to her door.
I entered an unschooled youth.
In a sensual hour more,
I would know more of Life’s truth.

Her hands were soft and knowing,
Her lips soon soothed my worry.
Her eyes were warm and glowing.
As we moved together without hurry.

First she loved me like a man.
Then she held me like a child.
Comforted as only woman can,
Leaving my boy’s heart beguiled.

When I awoke she had gone,
But she left a note behind:
“Dear young man, carry on.
True love you soon will find.”

“ I hope you spare a thought for me,
Once in a long great while.
I never found my own, you see,
But I won’t forget your smile.”

I had not thought of her for years.
Until today, stopped in her town.
The memory drew a few sweet tears,
Lighting my heart that had been down.

I hope she found love at last.
She was the loving kind.
Or if her time has passed,
I hope the angels will be kind.


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DESIRE’S DRAGON
By Carl Martin Johnson

Tread softly past my lair.
Tread softly lest I wake.
I will not fight you fair.
Your very being I will take.

I am the Dragon of Desire.
The beast beyond control.
My tongue lashes with sensual fire.
My breath will inflame your soul.

Step softly past my doorway.
My fangs drip the venom of lust.
Every day I will find one more way
To fill you with self-disgust.

I am He who takes your hand,
Who leads you in the dance.
Whose wings shadow the land
Of the dark side of romance.

Walk softly past my cave,
Lest you cause this demon to rise.
I lay low the honorable and brave.
I am reflected in a fallen man’s eyes.

Once my nostrils have your scent,
Once I have marked you as my prey,
Despite hours in prayer spent,
You will never get away.

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THE SLAVE
By Carl Martin Johnson

There are no chains that bind me.
My restraints are far stronger.
It is no prison that has confined me
But a cage that holds one longer.

I move only within strict borders.
I wish I could be freed.
I must follow unheard orders,
While independence is what I need.

I fear to disobey.
It could mean my end.
But it is difficult not to stray,
Hard not to offend.

How can I evolve,
Reach a higher goal,
Unless I can dissolve
The limits of my soul?

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THE DAY
By Carl Martin Johnson

It was the sun who gave me birth.
She fed me my life through.
But it was Man who gave me worth
By deeds within me he would do.

A cure was found at last
For a horrible disease
That had killed millions in the past
Now brought down to its knees.

Many hungry will be fed
Because of an improved grain.
The agronomist and team she led
Saved poor nations untold pain.

An artist put final touch
On a work that uplifts the soul.
His talent has done much
To elevate humanity’s goal.

And a man just risked his all
To save a ragged stranger.
He could have died from the fall
Yet in his kindness ignored the danger.

The sun is sinking; I am done.
My life was short, and yet worthwhile.
Now, like my siblings, one by one,
I greet the night with sunset’s smile.

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OZ
By Carl Martin Johnson

Dorothy traveled a strange land
On her way to seek her own.
It was not a journey planned,
But one where she’d been thrown.

Dorothy had a single goal:
Not the Wizard, but his balloon.
With that she would have control,
Could fly off late or soon.

She sought help from the man of straw.
He had no brains but she could share.
It was only a minor flaw,
And easy to repair.

The Tin Man had no heart,
So the girl used hers to sow one.
With the seed that she gave start,
Tin Man was soon to grow one.

Sad Lion was faint-hearted,
Though he had the tools to fight.
It was Dorothy who imparted
The awareness of his might.

And the Wizard was a fake.
He held power through illusion.
But his subjects came awake
After Dorothy’s intrusion.

Oz should be most grateful.
She made that broken world whole.
Her voyage there was fateful.
To that place she gave a soul.

You and I are also pilgrims
Traveling toward our home
Thrown into this world by Fate’s whims,
Sentenced here to roam.

If we find a Scarecrow,
A Tin Man and a Lion
They may help us know
The right highway to Zion.

In return, let us leave them better
For having our paths cross
And to this world our souls unfetter
That we give it gain instead of loss.

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THE CLICK
By Carl Martin Johnson

Metallic note of thwarted death
Rang hollow in my ear,
Sucking out my frightened breath,
Striking deep with fear.

I snapped my gaze ‘round to the eyes.
They were wide in shock like mine
We were like caught children in surprise,
Both shocked at Fate’s design.

His rifle’s muzzle kissed my cheek.
It would have spat death’s fire.
Every part of me went limp and weak.
At the next sound I’d expire.

He jerked the trigger hard twice more.
I was frozen; easy prey.
First I begged God, then I swore.
But my enemy had rolled away.

Now when I hear a hollow click,
I work hard at self-control.
Yet, my reflexes turn me quick
To see if it is my missed death knell’s toll.

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THE PICTURE
By Carl Martin Johnson

The photo fell from an old book
That I took, dusty, from a shelf.
What had driven me to look
I don’t know myself.

I picked it up and gazed at her.
Loveliness frozen in the past.
I was still amazed at her.
I wondered, did her beauty last.

There was a moment in my youth
When she was my reason to exist.
It may be, if I admit the truth,
She was the prize I missed.

I wondered how she was.
Was she married or alone.
What she likes and what she does.
Inside, how she had grown.

With her lot was she content?
Did she regret some things she’d done?
Were the years well-spent,
With a true love she had won?

Did she now and then, like me,
Look back on what we had,
Thinking what we would be,
With lost dreams, a little sad.

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THE FALLING BRANCH
By Carl Martin Johnson

A tree limb fell this morning.
It was big; I could have died.
There was not the slightest warning.
It just crashed down to my side.

I enjoyed the burst of fear,
With the reminder I am mortal,
Can any instant lose all that’s dear,
And be thrown through the next life’s portal.

But when I see the Reaper’s face,
Though I may suspect what’s after,
I hope I have the manly grace
To greet my death with laughter.

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BREATHING THE WORLD
By Carl Martin Johnson

I breathed in the world
To make sure I was living.
All through me it unfurled
To gift me things worth giving.

My lungs chewed at the sweet blend
Of love, hate, peace and war.
Other feelings without end
That make us who we are.

The fragrance was spicy hot,
Full of vigor, strength, and growing.
Life’s freshness, and death’s rot.
All mysteries worth knowing.

And I held it long inside,
So it could enrich my blood.
I let it there abide
Until it had done all it could.

Then slowly I breathed out,
Exhaling all my fears.
Secure now, with no doubt
Life is more than it appears.

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WIND MUSIC
By Carl Martin Johnson

I heard a symphony today.
There was no admission fee.
I stopped to hear the music play
Through the leaves from tree to tree.

The breeze began its violin,
Using a cottonwood as a bow.
Its soulful tune I heard begin
And carry ‘round the branches slow.

The steady wind gained in force.
Letting larger strings join in.
The volume increased, of course,
And I listened to a melody begin.

A gust across the grass played soft,
A humming, gentle whine,
Whirling the notes high aloft
In a lively tempo fine.

Stronger still blew the gale,
In deep symphonic movement.
I was listening to a god exhale
To the creative work’s improvement.

Lightning flashed and thunder rolled,
Cymbal clash and kettledrum boom,
In a crescendo moving to behold:
Music birthing from Nature’s womb.

When the clouds had cleared and the wind had stilled,
My spirit had been expanded.
My heart and mind remain gratefully thrilled
At the performance God had commanded.

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I LOVE THE STORM
By Carl Martin Johnson

I have always loved a storm,
All the turbulence and noise.
The bluster threatening harm,
Tall oaks thrown around like toys.

I taste the lightning flash,
It rolls crisp across my tongue.
I feel the thunder’s crash.
Makes my spirit young.

Hard, wind-driven rain
Slapping sharp across my face.
Tingling, but no pain
In the tempest’s wet embrace.

Perhaps my soul and the storm are kin,
Roiling, boiling, exploding things.
Or the storm is who I am within,
And the thunder what my soul sings.


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THE SCAR
By Carl Martin Johnson

I saw a face this morning,
A face I might have known.
It sent me a grave warning.
It could have been my own.

A ragged scar, pale white with age,
Ran hard from cheek to chin,
Giving his visage a look of rage,
Like a battle about to begin.

An aura of great mystery
Exuded from his ravaged mien.
I could tell that his history,
Was a warrior’s, that was plain.

The eyes were iceberg blue,
Cold and hard, going blind,
That younger were warm and true,
And whose glance was ever kind.

Hard life had calloused his heart,
Yet tenderness was buried deep
Though he kept himself apart,
He had memories to keep.

Suddenly I froze in terror,
Knowing who that man might be.
I was looking in a mirror.
The face I saw was me.

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