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The Lost American: "In the Garden Where the Flowers Grow"
by Michael Lee Johnson
2008-07-17 08:08:29
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I'm going to take Islam where their God has not been before-
to the garden of  Jesus, olive oil presses, Gethsemane--
trees, flowers, fruits, vegetables didn't poison anyone there.
Passion was sweat on the ground and brow.
There weren't darts of hate, misconception or terrorism;
children on their knees five times a day brainwashed to hate.
Christ didn't lead them astray nor make them pagan pink.
There is no God apart from Allah, and Mohammed is the Prophet,
but it's Jesus who makes the garden grow with or without water.
Then and now the apples grow in my garden of forgiveness.
Figs trees grow far away where I can't reach them but believe in them.
Like the Tamarisk tree, Christ is a source of honey,
manna and wafer, a taste so sweet in the desert so dry.
You don't have to be a scholar to write poetry, religion, or understand
the Eucharist; but you need to be a real saint to know the difference.
Islam, is Judas Iscariot among your converts nose pointed toward
Mecca today?
I'm going to take Islam where their God has not been before-
to the garden where the flowers grow.

* * * * * * * *

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer.  He is self-employed in advertising, and selling custom promotional products.  He is the author of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom. He was nominated for the James B. Baker Award in poetry, Sam's Dot Publishing.  He is a contributor in the Silver Boomers poetry anthology about aging baby boomers, by Silver Boomer Books. 

Special Note:  Michael Lee Johnson, United States, and Phillip Ellis, an Australian poet, are looking for a chapbook publisher for a joint venture merging free verse with more traditional verse.  Mr. Johnson has two chapbooks ready for publishing review.  Manuscripts are available on request.

Michael Lee Johnson
E-mail: promomanusa@gmail.com

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Emanuel Paparella2008-07-17 17:26:02
This poem by C.S. Lewis is perhaps a good complement to the above:

Evolutionary Hymn

Lead us, Evolution, lead us
Up the future's endless stair;
Chop us, change us, prod us, weed us.
For stagnation is despair:
Groping, guessing, yet progressing,
Lead us nobody knows where.

Wrong or justice, joy or sorrow,
In the present what are they
while there's always jam-tomorrow,
While we tread the onward way?
Never knowing where we're going,
We can never go astray.

To whatever variation
Our posterity may turn
Hairy, squashy, or crustacean,
Bulbous-eyed or square of stern,
Tusked or toothless, mild or ruthless,
Towards that unknown god we yearn.

Ask not if it's god or devil,
Brethren, lest your words imply
Static norms of good and evil
(As in Plato) throned on high;
Such scholastic, inelastic,
Abstract yardsticks we deny.

Far too long have sages vainly
Glossed great Nature's simple text;
He who runs can read it plainly,
'Goodness = what comes next.'
By evolving, Life is solving
All the questions we perplexed.

Oh then! Value means survival-
Value. If our progeny
Spreads and spawns and licks each rival,
That will prove its deity
(Far from pleasant, by our present,
Standards, though it may well be).

C S Lewis

LL2008-07-17 22:46:34
Paparella my friend - let's see your poetry!

Emanuel Paparella2008-07-18 13:12:58
Indeed, Linda Lane, if that is meant as a challenge and/or encouragment of sort, not to be intimidated by the likes of Lewis, or Dante, or Goethe, or Shakespeare, and try one’s hands at expressing one’s ideas via poetry, it is quite welcome. On the other hand, as that gem of a film “Il Postino” powerfully intimates, one need not put words on paper to be a poet and to understand the poetic in the universe. In fact using poetry to express ideas may be a bad idea, despite Nietzsche. Unfortunately there are many who in doing so delude themselves that they are now great poets, when the naked truth is that they are merely versifiers parading as poets. Wouldn’t you agree?

John Abram2008-07-18 18:39:59
Finally a poet who speaks out on what is inside him...it may not be "politically" correct, but spoken as many feel in today's world.

Rollin Merits2008-07-28 08:58:43
This is one of the outstanding poets of this generation yet to be fully appreciated; who has the courage to address the real issue of terrorism and it's source.

Lilly Persions2008-07-28 09:27:17
I love this use of imagery that some might find offensive in today's world; but, it is a reality. The world needs more poets with a firm belief system like this one.

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