Michael Lee Johnson – Four Poems
Fall, everything is turning yellow and golden.
No wind, Indian summer, bright day,
wind charms with Indian enchantment,
last brides marry before first snowfall,
grass growth slows down, retreats,
bushes cut back with chills, retreats,
haven of the winter grows legs, strong,
learns baby steps, pushes itself
up slowly against my patio door, freezes,
and says, “soon, soon, Spring I’ll be there.”
Winter is sweeping up what is left of fall,
making room for shorter day’s longer nights.
I hear the echoes of the change of seasons,
until next sundown sunflowers grow.
Coastal warm breeze
off Santa Monica, California
the sun turns salt
shaker upside down
and it rains white smog, humid mist.
No thunder, no lightening,
nothing else to do
forward into liquid
into eternal days
If I Were Young Again
Piecemeal summer dies:
long winter spreads its blanket again.
For ten years I have lived in exile,
locked in this rickety cabin, shoulders
jostled up against open Alberta sky.
If I were young again, I’d sing of coolness of high
mountain snow flowers, sprinkle of night glow-blue meadows;
I would dream and stretch slim fingers into distant nowhere,
yawn slowly over endless prairie miles.
The grassland is where in summer silence grows;
in evening eagles spread their wings
dripping feathers like warm honey.
If I were young again, I’d eat pine cones, food of birds,
share meals with wild wolves;
I’d have as much dessert as I wanted,
reach out into blue sky, lick the clouds off my fingertips.
But I’m not young anymore and my thoughts tormented
are raw, overworked, sharpened with misery
from torture of war and childhood.
For ten years now I’ve lived locked in this unstable cabin,
inside rush of summer winds,
outside air beaten dim with snow.
The Seasons and the Slants
I live my life inside my patio window.
It’s here, at my business desk I slip
into my own warm pajamas and slippers-
seek Jesus, come to terms
with my own cross and brittle conditions.
Outside, winter night turns to winter storm,
the blue jay, cardinal, sparrows and doves
go into hiding, away from the razor whipping winds,
behind willow tree bare limb branches-
they lose their faces in somber hue.
Their voices at night abbreviate
and are still, short like Hemingway sentences.
With this poetic mind, no one cares
about the seasons and the slants
the wind or its echoes.
Author’s Statement on Beauty
Beauty is a reflection of nature in many of my poems. Love is a rose, a good book and that is beauty. The arrival of the sparrow at my condominium birdfeeder is a sign of beauty, as Christ said, “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent.”
Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. Mr. Johnson has work published in small press magazines online and in print. He is also the editor/publisher of an anthology Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze. He also has poetry videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos. More at: http://poetryman.mysite.com/.