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© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

War Drum

By Carl Martin Johnson

Beat! Beat loud the War Drum!
Arise all men of heart!
The time to fight has now come.
Time to do our part.

The politicians balk.
They lack manly spine.
Time is done for talk.
Time to drink the war god’s wine.

Raise up the righteous war cry!
Roar deep for the enemy’s ear.
Tell them they will soon die,
They know us…and they fear.

Sharpen your battle knives.
All weapons clean and ready.
If we must, we’ll give our lives.
Our resolve is sure and steady.

The War Drum beats and our hearts hear.
Fighting men answer the call.
We are warriors and know not fear.
We will not let our nation fall.




By Carl Martin Johnson


Keep alive the wild inside,
Your primitive appetites.
Beneath evolved veneer they hide,
Coming out on dream-filled nights.


Close your eyes and you will see,
Lurking deep within your soul,
Instincts that let you be
A human animal whole.


Imbedded in your genes.
Beneath the surface lurking.
From life’s primordial scenes.
You can feel the urges working.


They are the core of what you are.
The fertile soil that grew your mind.
Humankind has come very far,
But the beast was not left behind.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Whisper the names of God to me.
I’ll speak to Him if I can.
I will ask what we are meant to be,
We are who are called Man.

Why are we alive here on this Earth?
I know there is a reason.
Why do mothers endure the pain of birth
To bring us into season?

I will ask Him what we have to do
To become a better creature.
We would all try if only we knew,
And God is an excellent teacher.

Are we meant to be divine?
Can we become gods too?
Is our part in the Grand Design
To create Divinity anew?

Tell me all God’s names.
I will beg for His direction.
And that He light His Wisdom’s flames,
To guide us to Perfection.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Silence is my teacher now.
I’ve found words do not suffice.
I’ll let the quiet show me how
To be a man who’s free of vice.

I’ll send my mind off to a star,
One burning deep inside,
To discover what the real truths are,
The ones that our words hide.

I’ll stay very still.
Wait for thoughts to enter.
Come into me what will,
And take root in my center.

Wise spirits will caress me,
Leaving knowledge when they go.
With wisdom they will bless me.
Then perhaps myself I’ll know.



By Carl Martin Johnson


I’ve been three days lying in this trench,
Wet and cold and tired.
Inhaling rough death’s horrid stench,
Counting every bullet fired.


They come at us with every dawn,
Hundreds in the wave.
We fight hard until they’re gone.
They are enemy…..but brave.


In front of me there’s a man I shot.
He took a damned long time to die.
I pretend I’m hard, but I’m really not.
I couldn’t stand to hear him cry.


Piled one on another in the mud.
How many did I fell?
The ground around them red with blood.
It must look like this in Hell.


I’ve been hit, but I want the pain.
If I sleep they might sneak in.
I can’t hear them with this rain.
Tonight they’ll come again.


A mortar tube just popped.
Rounds in our perimeter bursting.
This time will they be stopped?
Or will our blood slake Death’s thirsting?


Here comes one charging toward me.
That bayonet looks long.
Please, my angel, guard me.
Keep my courage strong.


I dig my face into the earth,
But when I raise my head,
One of us, both loved at birth,
Will on this day be dead.


I’ve killed so much my soul is sick.
God make him turn away!
Or at least let fate’s choice be quick.
Then I’ll kill no more today.




By Carl Martin Johnson

The word is somewhere here around.
I caught a glimpse just now.
It’s trying hard not to be found,
But I will figure how.

My line was near completed.
It would have made a rhyme.
Of a sudden the word deleted,
A single letter at a time.

Would have been a lovely verse,
Cadence, depth and flow.
Could be better, could be worse.
Now I may never know.

It was a verb that touched the soul.
Or it may have been a noun.
It escaped from my control,
And my smile became a frown.

But it cannot hide for long.
My hunt will never cease.
I will have it in my song
And create a masterpiece.




By Carl Martin Johnson

He had ridden into the badland
On a horse without a name.
Back home was now a sadland.
He had himself to blame.

She had been gone for years.
Left for a man without a gun.
No one ever saw his tears,
Or knew the damage done.

Outlaws he still chased
Across the Texas clay.
But the fight he now faced
Would be his end today.

Quanah led the Comanche band,
And his spear was not forgiving.
The lawman would make a stand,
Then he would stop living.

The red sun was rising.
All night he had ridden hard.
The dark had been disguising.
Had acted as his rearguard.

Over his shoulder he saw them gaining.
His mount was nearly done.
Not much time remaining.
He knew his race was run.

Time to sing his death song.
He turned his horse and stood.
He knew he would not live long.
Desperation would do no good.

The first arrow hit his hand.
Soon others felled his mare.
This was not the death he’d planned,
But it was a death that he would bear.




By Carl Martin Johnson

My mind and soul are ready.
“Death where is thy sting?”
I will look into Death’s eyes steady,
Anticipating what He will bring.

I see adventure, not the end.
Countless before me the bridge have crossed.
In that cohort I have many friends,
So, I know I won’t get lost.

I may find death only the first gate.
Others beyond it lying.
It is not long I have to wait.
The only cost to know is dying.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Whispers carried by the wind
Spread secrets all around.
To enemy and friend
With less than a fluttering butterfly’s sound.

Feel them brushing past your ears.
Try to catch those about you.
Find if you’ve caused someone tears.
Someone who can’t live without you.

Or words of a lover hidden from you
You make out floating on the breeze.
Her sonnets to another overcome you,
Bringing you desolate to your knees.

Then you hear a small child’s prayer,
Innocent and pure.
It freshens the evening air,
And you know you will endure.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Let me kiss your fingertips
Before you run them down my chest.
Touch them to my hungry lips
Before they begin their loving quest.

Feel the contours of my face.
Learn me more than just by sight.
Every hill and line you trace
Will help you find me in the night.

Graze my shoulders with your nails.
Transmit your woman’s passion.
The sensation never fails
To draw forth erotic compassion.

Press them hard into my spine,
Mixing pleasure with the pain.
Have them tell me you are mine,
That we are bound by love’s sweet chain.

Move them gently inside my thighs.
Make my desire increase.
Know by my ardent sighs
That I am seeking hot release.

And when lust becomes unbearable,
I will surrender to your charms.
We’ll make love so wondrously terrible
We’ll fairly die in each other’s arms.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Have I made the world a better place?
Is it good that I am here?
Am I only occupying space?
Would it matter should I disappear?

What good will I leave behind?
Not a statue or a town.
Better a deed that, when called to mind,
Brings a smile and not a frown.

I have no real fear of death,
What comes after or the pain.
Rather that, from my dying breath,
Only a useless corpse will remain.

Did lives change because of mine?
Have I been a paradigm?
Did I create some artwork fine?
Was I a hero of my time?

Well, I am not yet dead.
I still have a chance at glory.
Before I lay down my head,
I will make a grander story.
By Carl Martin Johnson

A snowflake landed on my tongue.
Like communion I received it.
It died quickly and very young.
Only God and I believed it.
By Carl Martin Johnson

There are creatures on the hill.
I hear movement in the night.
I cannot see them well, but still,
I know that I am right.

Do they have secrets to share?
Are there mysteries they’re solving?
I should try to climb up there
To learn what they’re resolving.

Perhaps they are gods and cruel,
Waiting to destroy me.
To burn my soul as fuel
While their hungry maws enjoy me.

But I will never know
If the risk I do not take.
So up the hill I’ll go,
For me and my kind’s sake.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Happiness attacked me,
Snuck in while my guard was down.
For many days it had tracked me.
Now it’s carved a smile from my frown.

It just exploded in my face.
I could not stop my laughter.
Foolishly giggling in disgrace,
I’ll be embarrassed ever after.

Did I contract some strange disease
That eats away my sadness?
Someone tell me, please:
Is this some form of madness?

In the meantime, best avoid me.
This happiness can infect you.
This elation near destroyed me.
Can’t tell how it might affect you.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Storm looked down upon the land,
Hungering to wreak devastation.
What people considered Satan’s hand,
The storm viewed as creation.

He bellowed out his thunder
To throw terror over the ground.
He was lord of all seen under.
All bowed to his booming sound.

Lightning, Storm’s sharp spear,
He cast at random from on high.
The fauna ran in fear.
The flora stayed to die.

Storm spat hail and rain,
Hard bullets into the earth.
The earth cried out in pain,
Like a woman giving birth.

Now from the soil’s moist womb,
Fresh-born life will sprout.
From the land new flowers bloom.
Life’s renewed when Life’s wiped out.
By Carl Martin Johnson

I want to know your flavor,
Explore your lovely taste.
Every part of you I’ll savor.
None of you will I waste.

Your delicate aroma delights me,
And the nose leads to the tongue.
Your tangy spice incites me
To know all parts of you unsung.

My lover’s palate you will please
With your erotic seasoning,
And will my taste buds tease
With essences beyond reasoning.

When you feel my loving bites,
They will give not pain, but pleasure.
In the perfume of our nights,
Your taste is what I’ll treasure.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Alone now in the quiet.
Around you.
Your heart cannot defy it.
Love’s whispers bound you.

The world’s noise clouds my sight.
Blinds me.
I need the silence of the night.
There your love finds me.

Like a field of muffled snow.
Soft cotton.
Unspoken our lovewords grow.
Not forgotten.

Here we’ll stay in soundless dream.
With passion’s full-hushed scream.
Love keeping.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Is the world only in my mind?
Is that where it exists?
Will I wake someday to find
I’m all of what consists?

Are Life’s tragedies my nightmares?
Life’s joyful times my dreams?
Are they all my imagination’s shares?
Nothing really what it seems?

About none of this I care.
It does not bring me fear.
The uncertainty I can bear,
If when I wake I find you here.
By Carl Martin Johnson

I grew up on rock an’ roll.
It took root in my heart.
It still beats loudly in my soul.
It’s still a vital part.

My generation’s poems are sung,
Though some of us still read them.
They are important to the young.
And, as we age, we need them.

The songs are records of how we are,
Who we were, and where we’re going,
Plucked out on Gibson electric guitar,
Rhythm hard, but flowing.

It is, and was, tempo of the time.
It told, and tells, our story.
Decades of emotion set to rhyme.
The years’ sorrows and their glory.

Centuries from now,
When people want to know,
Our music will show how.
That’s where scholars will go.

We will all “Rock On”.
In Heaven we’ll still dance.
Long after we’re dead and gone,
We’ll still be held in Rock Music’s trance.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Close your ears and listen,
If truth you wish to hear.
Drops of knowledge glisten,
Speaking soft as they appear.

The true world sings within.
Be still and you will hear,
Over the outside’s hectic din.
Use your soul, and not your ear.

You will slowly find the real.
A melody will break through.
Then maybe you will feel
The song God wrote for you.
The Wild Inside
Do I Make A Difference?
The Names Of God
Creatures On The Hill
Silence, My Teacher
Happiness Attack
The Attack
The Storm
Tasting You
The Word In Hiding
The Quiet
Rock On!
Death's Sting
Whispers On The Wind
Close Your Ears
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