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© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

Older Than My Father

by Carl Johnson

I was charged with finding Beauty.
The order whispered as I slept.
A voice said it was my duty.
Then quietly it wept.

Filled with purpose, I set out.
I was honored with my quest.
In my mind there was no doubt
I was up to this great test.

In my garden I stopped first.
My roses were in bloom.
Their bright red glory burst
With others mixed on Nature’s loom.

Then a lady drew my gaze.
She was gliding o’er the grass.
Her features would gods amaze.
I sighed deep and let her pass.

A cathedral’s spire reached to the sky,
Man-made wonder to behold.
No sight more pleasing to the eye
Than such a work both grand and bold.

I came upon a mighty mountain,
Snowcap glistening against blue sky.
My eyes were drinking from beauty’s fountain.
Yet I knew I could do better with another try.

My journey lengthened.
I crossed the earth.
My will strengthened.
To place beauty’s birth.

Witness I was to the wonders
Of beauty’s many layers.
Fiery sunsets, tropic thunders,
Children at their prayers.

But each time I thought me near
To beauty’s absolute,
Something better would appear
Even closer to the root.

I wandered thus for many years.
Despaired to ever reach my goal.
I often found myself in tears.
I had searched from pole to pole.

Until one day on a dusty street
In a poor part of the world,
I found a woman begging at my feet,
Her fingers gnarled and curled.

I fished my pocket for a coin,
Thinking good luck could be bought.
Her eyes raised up to my eyes join.
And I saw the woman owned what I sought.

She let me pass into her soul.
Into the garden there.
Never in my life whole
Had I conceived a sight so fair.

I saw the Holy Face of God,
From whose smile all beauty is born.
All the steps that I had trod
Were redeemed on that sweet morn.




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.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Tell me, Nightwind, where you blow.
What spirit are you chasing?
Is it a demon that I know,
You are hell-bent on erasing?

Were you loosed by Satan to fetch him,
To return him to his home?
If you hurry, you will catch him.
Such evil should not roam.

Will gentle breeze turn to gale,
As you close on the evil being?
When you find his noxious trail,
Will it be a hurricane he’s fleeing?

Chase him! Chase him! Chase him!
Let him feel your stormy wrath.
Turn tornado when you face him.
Spin him back down Hades’ path.

You are Lucifer’s hunting hound.
He is jealous of control.
Hunt the demon! Hunt him down!
Satan alone can damn a soul.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Her name I can’t recall,
But her face I well remember.
Though I knew her in the Fall,
She had the beauty of December.

Her hair was snowy white,
Running like silk through my fingers.
It was a lovers’ night,
And the memory still lingers.

Her face’s lines of living
Left her loveliness unscarred.
Soft eyes glowed with giving.
There was nothing about her hard.

I was young and off to fight.
I needed love to ease my fear.
So I held the woman tight,
And said “I want you, dear.”

Light poured in from the moon,
Flowing milky across our bed.
There was a lover’s tune,
If only in my head.

She was generous with her charms,
Which were firm, despite her years.
She bucked and writhed in my strong arms,
Watering passion with hot tears.

I’d write, I think I said,
But, when I left she was asleep.
I forgot her address beside the bed.
It was not a promise I meant to keep.

I don’t think of her for years,
Then suddenly I will remember.
The thick mist of time clears,
And I see my woman of December.




By Carl Martin Johnson


Some days one remembers,
Burned deep into the mind.
Fanned to life like smoldering embers.
Images never left behind.


They are landmarks in our migration
From life’s beginning to its finish.
Times of despair or celebration.
Events that elevate or diminish.


I’ve had my own days like this,
Some pleasant and some not.
The sunset of my first kiss.
The dawn when I got shot.


But the days I can’t forget,
Whose images play and play,
Are the day that we first met,
And the day you walked away.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Kiss me, Dawn, my love.
Bless me with your smile.
Dark night rise above,
And shine on me awhile.

I see your first beams teasing,
Slicing clean into dim morning.
Soon your gold light will be pleasing,
As you give the new day borning.

With open arms I meet you.
I want your glow upon my face.
Through night’s cold I stood to greet you,
To feel the warmth of your embrace.

I am here for you, Dawn.
Set my soul afire.
Give me life to carry on,
With words that you inspire.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I know I took the long way home.
But I was in no hurry.
I had a powerful urge to roam.
There was no cause to worry.

The path I took was seldom trod.
No footprints for me to follow.
Yet I found wondrous things and odd
To fill me where I was hollow.

I traveled under the normal sun.
Somehow the light shined brighter.
The sky above was the familiar one,
Although the clouds seemed lighter.

I nodded to a stranger,
Far different folk from me.
Never worried about the danger.
His smile was all I could see.

I came upon a flowered hill.
I climbed up for the view.
The world I saw was the same, but still
The way I saw was new.

The journey took me longer.
But it was not time wasted.
It made me a little stronger
From the new things in life tasted.



By Carl Martin Johnson

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


By Carl Martin Johnson

My father died a younger man.
I’ve lived a decade longer.
He was denied a full life span,
Though he was healthy and far stronger.

I’ve had more time than he to learn,
Yet I have not grown wise.
Every twist comes with a turn.
Each day is a surprise.

I wonder what he thought at last,
When the dashboard crushed his chest.
Did eternity loom cold and vast,
Or did he close his eyes and rest?

Perhaps all his life congealed
In that final second.
Could be the Great Truth was revealed
As the next life beckoned.

I will see him in a while.
At least I hope he’s there to meet me.
I kind of miss his happy smile.
I’d like it there to greet me.


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.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I heard a songbird call my name.
He whistled it out clearly.
I believe he was happy that I came.
I stopped and thanked him dearly.

His tree looked like a happy place,
So I stayed resting in its shade.
The leaves were woven like green lace.
What a fine arbor it made.

I tried a whistle of my own,
To strike up a conversation.
But it must have been a tune unknown,
For it made no great sensation.

My welcome I would not overstay.
I bowed and took my leave.
Continuing on my way,
Refreshed by the brief reprieve.

When next I hear a songbird sing,
I will answer him in kind.
And if I keep on wandering,
Someday the Song I’ll find.
By Carl Martin Johnson

That star up there belongs to you,
The one that’s shining bright.
It sparkles for you, silver blue,
So you’ll know it every night.

You’ll find it good for dreaming
When lying in summer grass.
If you soak up the light it’s beaming,
Your dreams may come to pass.

Send your soul there when it’s tired.
Worldly woes can never enter.
It will come back to you inspired
Because God’s love is at star center.

And, when you get lonely,
Feel life has passed you by,
Remember the star shines for you only.
It’s your faithful friend up in the sky.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Life seems to come in pieces
Rather than a constant flow.
It slows and then increases
At a pace I never know.

I wait long days to feel it,
Hoping numbly for its touch.
For some miracle to reveal it,
To be grasped in its hot clutch.

From event to event I’m thrown,
Whether I am ready or I’m not.
By the winds of fate I’m blown,
Meekly accepting of my lot.

I will start to chase the pieces.
I will pull them into one.
So the flow of living never ceases
Until my living’s done.
By Carl Martin Johnson

I see Light in the distance,
Dim, but I know it’s there.
I believe in its existence,
A golden, burning flare.

Will it come, or shall I seek?
How badly do I need it?
Become bold, or remain meek?
Disregard or heed it?

With the Light perhaps I’ll see
What was dark to me before.
Look beyond the Mystery.
Unlock the Secret Door.

By Carl Martin Johnson

Darkness, fall now, friend.
Hide me from the light.
Let this hard day end.
Cover me with night.

Conceal me in your shade
So troubles cannot find me.
Into your black I’ll fade.
To terrors you will blind me.

For me you hold no fear.
You are a gentle hiding place.
Your inky cloak so dear,
I feel safe in your embrace.

Rest me for the dawn.
For the tests that will beset me.
I will return when they are gone.
‘Til then, Darkness, don’t forget me.
By Carl Martin Johnson

I sit here and cry,
Cry tears in the river.
My love told a lie,
And I can’t forgive her.

She warmed another man’s bed,
Though she promised me they would part.
River’s red now with tears I have bled,
Gushing from my wounded heart.

Run river, run red.
Carry my tears to the sea.
Wash away the words she said.
Sweep my memory free.

She said she just made a mistake.
He lured her back with his charm.
She didn’t mean for my heart to break.
She didn’t mean to do me such harm.

River, keep rolling past.
Wash away clean all my sorrow.
Move your dark current fast.
Take me on into tomorrow.

Hard images torture my mind.
The pain they bring won’t go away.
True love, I know’s, hard to find.
But this time I can’t make it stay.

Dark river, I am so lost.
Deep river, I need a friend.
I loved and I paid the cost.
Now tell me my heartache will end.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Love’s fire burns brightly in her eyes.
She is ready for my touch.
She is my life’s most precious prize.
I cannot have too much.

She trembles in anticipation.
Her lips hot embers as we kiss.
Her body feverish with celebration.
No love more passionate than this.

What she needs I will give her.
What she craves I too desire.
What she wants I will deliver.
We will burn in erotic fire.

When our ardor wanes,
Her eyes will softly glow.
I will see that love remains.
That is all I’ll need to know.

Death Of The Diplomat's Guard
A Warning To The Muslims Attacking Our Diplomatic
Your Star
The December Woman
Light In The Distance
Some Days
Tears In The River (A Song)
Long Way Home
The Fire In Her Eyes
In The End
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