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© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

Begone Death
Speak Kindly

By Carl Martin Johnson

Speak kindly to the stranger.
He has troubles, too.
His life is filled with danger
And worries just like you.

Your cheer will make his heart smile,
Briefly soothe his cares and woes.
Respite, for a short while,
In the arms of one who knows.

He will remember you one day
When you need your burdens lifted.
And your smile he will repay
When you need a friend’s cheer gifted.


By Carl Martin Johnson

The Dragon’s at the gate.
The Tiger’s at the door.
There is no time to wait.
Annihilation is in store.

Take up your sword and shield.
None of us can linger.
We die surely if we yield.
Now comes the true Death-bringer.




By Carl Martin Johnson

My lips will give you pleasure,
Whisper love words in your ear.
Excite passion without measure,
And make you love me dear.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Never look behind you.
The past will run you down.
Don’t let old sins find you,
In their guilt sink and drown.

Keep your gaze ahead.
Forward is where you’re going.
The shadow behind is dead.
In front will lie the Knowing.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Here comes the Devil walking,
Using woman as disguise.
Men’s souls like mine she’s stalking.
I see it in her eyes.

She will find me easy prey.
I can’t resist her charms.
I will not run away.
Lust drives me to her arms.

My soul to her is lost.
But I’ll sadly pay the price.
The Devil sets the cost
I’ll not bargain for the vice.

I will be damned to Hell.
But pity you must spare.
‘Twill be by passion that I fell.
So I’ll be happy there.



By Carl Martin Johnson

I will make my life have meaning.
I will not be born in vain.
Though God’s wrath be intervening,
I will endure the pain.

My monument a mountain peak.
My portrait in a cloud.
I will find the fame I seek.
I will live my life out loud.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Am I part of You, Lord?
Do we share our being?
When I look into my mind, Lord,
Is it You that I am seeing?

Lord, I think of you in awe.
I try to penetrate your veil,
What would I see if You I saw?
Would my human vision fail?

When I look inside, Lord,
I sense a Being strong.
Is that where You hide, Lord,
In my soul all along?



By Carl Martin Johnson

A world is born with each new dawn,
One that never was before..
It blesses us and then is gone,
And forever locks its door.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Silent streets I wander lonely,
My soul in dark despair.
You were the one I loved only.
Now my life is bare.

I look up and see a star
Shining brighter than the rest.
I know that is where you are.
There your soul is blessed.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I felt a sweet soul slipping by,
Smoothly, not a sound.
May she find happiness in the sky
That she missed here on the ground.

I could smell an angel’s breath,
A fragrance beyond earth.
One held inside until her death
From the moment of her birth.

Life is but a wavering flame,
It only flickers a short while.
Gone as quickly as it came.
May her soul now see God’s smile.




By Carl Martin Johnson

The child is filled with innocence.
You can see it in his eyes.
He has neither guile nor pretense,
Nor traits we all despise.

Only later comes the hate,
The envy and the greed.
Is that our species’ fate?
Is that survival need?

Will we at last evolve
So we have no need for killing?
Will we learn to solve
Problems without blood spilling?

Will the lust for power
Destroy the human race?
The end seems closer by the hour
As we move farther from God’s grace.

Pray that we endure
‘Til our child-side takes control.
Pray we return pure
To the child part of our soul.



By Carl Martin Johnson

Life, you do not own me.
There are better things in store.
You are lucky to have known me,
But I will go to where there’s more.



By Carl Martin Johnson

Old men dream warrior dreams,
Be they simple men or chief.
They have no time for schemes.
Their days left are too brief.

Every dawn they greet the sun
As an unexpected friend,
Another victory won
In their battle with the end.

One night they will keep sleeping,
Called to a warrior’s rest,
Held warmly in God’s keeping.
Old men’s final quest.
By Carl Martin Johnson

I walk the earth unseen,
Past old familiar places
In a shadow world between.
I recognize old faces.

In passing I nod greeting,
Although they look right through me.
This is not our first meeting,
In a different time they knew me.

I wonder if they feel
My presence when I’m near.
Or could it be they are not real.
Only images that appear.

I think worlds are not defined,
But into each other surging.
If only in my mind
A new one is emerging.
By Carl Martin Johnson

You can’t see under my cammo.
My skin’s a mystery.
I use the white man’s ammo,
But there are warriors black like me.

You know, we bleed red, too.
Like the rest in my platoon.
I get scared bad just like you,
‘Cause death might find me soon.

I don’t know if I’m brave,
But you won’t see me run.
There’s no color past the grave.
White and black are one.

By Carl Martin Johnson

Begone, Death….I defy you.
You have no hold on me
For now I will deny you.
‘Til God’s angels set me free.
By Carl Martin Johnson

A flower grew in my back yard.
Her petals striking blue.
Whenever I found life was hard,
I’d recall her cheerful hue.

I’d greet her as I passed each day,
Smile at her happy bloom.
She’d send me joyfully on my way,
Shining through life’s gloom.

Winter came. My flower died.
Her azure petals dropped.
I could not save her though I tried.
Her gentle life had stopped.

I kept her memory in my heart.
Only that sustained me.
I prayed each night for Spring to start,
Warming the winds that strained me.

Then one dawn I spied a sprout
Where the flower once had been.
My soul gave a silent shout.
A new flower would begin.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I think Life is teasing me,
Enticing me to stay,
Suggesting she’ll be pleasing me,
That she would like to play.

She pulls back then leads me on,
Using hot charms to entice.
She seduces me or I’d be gone.
Though I think I’d miss her spice.


By Carl Martin Johnson

If you’ve a poet for your lover,
You’ve a great fool for your man.
Run quickly! Run for cover!
Leave him while you can.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Joy, you cannot hide from me.
I know you’re ‘round somewhere.
I will find you, wait and see.
I sense you in the air.

I heard you in a songbird,
An aria from the sky.
So beautiful my heart stirred.
I felt melancholy die.

And I saw you in a misty dawn,
Millions of rainbows from its sun.
Just a glimpse then you were gone,
But I know you are not done.

I will catch you, yes I can.
You belong fast in my heart.
‘Til then I’m just a cheerless man
Missing a vital part.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I touch you with my fingertips,
Run softly down your spine,
My searching tongue between your lips,
The more to make you mine.

You rake my chest with tigress claws,
Like a big cat with her prey.
Our love is ruled by jungle laws,
Wild animals at play.

Your gypsy blood is liquid fire
Your flesh burning in my hands.
We are driven by primal desire
We are slaves to its commands.

Our eyes betray our lust
Before our loins can meet.
Our hearts are filled with trust
That our union be complete.

By Carl Martin Johnson

I saw a thing jump from the sun
This morning just at dawn.
I sped forward at a run,
But it had already gone.

It must have been a wonder
To be birthed from that bright flame
To visit us here under
From the fantasy whence it came.

Does it mean us well or ill?
Harm or help us grow?
What purpose to fulfill?
I may never know.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Sleep fast and wake in light.
This life is just a dream.
Your real home is much more bright.
The happy glow of starlight gleam.

With no need of mortal eyes,
There your soul will see
What you think real is a disguise
Masking truths that truly be.

By Carl Martin Johnson

I pray my words be kind.
Never wound or harm.
In my heart and in my mind,
I will keep my verses warm.

If God’s given me a gift,
I will use it to unite,
Not to harden or to rift
Or incite nonrighteous fight.

When I instigate,
It will be only for good.
Never will I preach hate.
Let that be understood.

Should this oath I fail to keep,
May my pen run dry,
My inspiration sleep,
Until the day I die.
By Carl Martin Johnson

For this moment I am here.
I may be gone tomorrow.
I have held this time dear.
I will leave it with no sorrow.

By Carl Martin Johnson

There’s a language in my brain
From many lives ago.
A happy, soft refrain
In a tongue I do not know.

I hear the words quite clearly.
They create a lovely tune.
I understand them nearly,
But they dissolve too soon.

I wonder who I was then.
What reason for my song.
What kind of man I’d once been.
To which tribe did I belong.

The voice is surely mine
From far back in the past.
Perhaps it is a sign
That my old soul will last.
By Carl Martin Johnson

I’m following the Red Wolf’s track.
To see where he will go.
If he stops, then I’ll turn back.
Or change my pace to slow.

The Red Wolf knows the way
Into the forest deep,
To the place where all dreams stay,
And we foolish poets sleep.

At times he stops to look
To ensure I’m still behind.
To check which way I took
On the trail and in my mind.

One blends into the other,
As the two worlds intertwine.
Lead me, Wolf, my brother.
Let us head for the Divine.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Poets, arrogant and vain,
Would have you share our sight.
Why should you join our pain.
Turn your day into night?

By Carl Martin Johnson

“Make sure you look me up,” he yelled.
“After this goddamned war.”
I barely heard…we were being shelled
And his Med Evac was far.

But I threw him a big wave,
‘Cause Paco was the best.
Little bastard sure was brave,
Head an’ shoulders ‘bove the rest.

He had a goofy smile
When the bad guys hit us hard.
When I had to sleep a while,
It was Paco took my guard.

Now I stand before this wall.
We both came very far.
Buddy, I found you after all
After our goddamned war.
Blue Flower
Guard The Gate
My Lips Will Give You Pleasure
Life Teasing
Don't Look Behind
A Poet For Your Lover
Devil Walking
Joy Can't Hide
Life Loud
I Touch You
Like You, Lord
Jumped From The Sun
A World Is Born
Silent Streets
For This Moment
Strange Language In My Brain
Kind Words
Sleep Fast
Sweet Soul Slipping By
Life, You Do Not Own Me
Old Men
The Red Wolf
I Walk Unseen
Poets, Arrogant And Vain
After The War Is Over
Black Like Me
Old Men
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