Members Profile

Brian Johnston
Brian Johnston Bay Area / United States, Male, 71
Profession :
Farmer, Video Game/Programer, Physicist
Education :
Physics, Music (Piano & Voice) , English
2757 Points

Brian Johnston's last comments on poems and poets

  • POEM: Just Passing Through by Lora Colon (12/19/2014 12:51:00 AM)

    It is so easy Lora to denigrate one person's faith as ill-considered or another's doubt as based in their own sin when I think both generalizations are too easy and lack the empathy that faith would lead us to. Surely we all have both reasons to believe and reasons to doubt which we are able to justify with equal strong arguments. Though I am a believer I still have both long standing doubts and doubts that wax and wane. The God I feel drawn to and love in my heart of hearts however is a just God and I rejoice in my faith in this attribute, even when I don't see it or don't like what I think I see. I know myself to be a sinner in spite of my faith, my faith is so small. No mountains have I ever moved, and yet I believe that God's Grace is sufficient for everyone. Perhaps the only hell that exists is the lack of hope/faith that His Grace is sufficient for you too.

    You could be right, maybe we are all just passing through and God does not exist. But say the chance of that being true is 50%, isn't the possibility that He does exist also 50%. The math gets fuzzy when you ask yourself if He cares or not, again both are possible and our intellect certainly pales in comparison if he does exist.

    But pain is just a feeling like joy or cold or salty and frequently just a judgement on our part. I have come to think of spicy hot food as yummy although many people consider the feeling of spicy hot to be simply painful and therefore to be avoided. This suggests that pain in fact has its grey areas. Personally though I do not like physical pain that much, still I understand its protective nature at times that can keep me from being badly burned. The phenomena of emotional pain certainly has parallels to this.

    The long and the short of what I am trying to say is this, in my universe the pain that I experience in my life is not, I believe, inconsistent with the possibility of a loving God. And in most cases the pain that I experience is something that I can reduce, control, or even eliminate by changing my own behavior. Perhaps you can do the same?

    If you find any of this offensive or not supportive of you, please feel free to delete it. If you find it thoughtful and caring, I hope you will let it stand. For there are many who walk in both of our shoes.

  • POEM: _A C T C - 2014/11 Poem Hunter - Final Votes by Brian Johnston (12/13/2014 8:06:00 AM)

    Final Vote Tally

    Darlene Walsh - Total Votes 1
    Brian Johnston

    Diane Hine - Total Votes 2
    Darlene Walsh
    Bri Edwards

    Brian Johnston - Total Votes 0
    Abekah Emmanuel (Note: Abekah's vote arrived just 1 minute after the deadline.)

  • POEM: _A C T C - 2014/11 Poem Hunter - Final Votes by Brian Johnston (12/11/2014 9:52:00 AM)

    Well Darlene gets my vote this month. She tackled the issue of smallness not being key to the quality or meaningfullness to the recipient the best I thought.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Bri's contribution got off to a rocky start by writing a photographic snapshot of a single gift on a day when he got up on the wrong side of the bed it seems but then almost redeemed himself with acknowledging the thoughtfulness of a glass of water. What is missing for me is the recognition that small gifts can also be pivotal in changing a life for the better.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Diane's poem was also more limited in scope I felt than the Title implied, but it was clever and suggested a duplicity in gift giving where one gift sets up an expectation that another gift might be coming. (If it doesn't come does that mean the receiver has disappointed the giver and that the gift was conditional) . But I missed as I did with Bri's poem a sense of a small gift being life changing.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Abekah's poem went in the opposite direction. I did not understand who or what this line referred to...

    For we are nothing but mere dreams
    In the mind of man's long fearful enemy.
    (is the enemy fearful of man or is man afraid of this enemy and who or what is the enemy?)

    but Abekah's expression of obligation to the giver seems to negate the smallness of the gift. Being there for another, should not be an effort that demands reciprocation (payback to the giver) from the receiver, but surely a gift that instead inspires us to 'Pay It Forward.'

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Brian Johnston's comments on forums

  • Brian Johnston (10/9/2014 12:45:00 PM) Post reply

    Well, having tried to teach you things before and failed miserably each time, once more I leap into the breach... HA!

    breach |breCH|
    1 an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct: a breach of confidence | I sued for breach of contract.
    • a break in relations: a sudden breach between father and son.
    2 a gap in a wall, barrier, or defense, esp. one made by an attacking army.
    3 the vacant space between Brier Edwina's ears, any gigantic lacking of something that may or may not have ever existed...

    You know Bri this is kind of fun (for the writer though possibly never for the reader!) Ha!

    As it turns out when I did a SEARCH FOR 'God's Kind of Poetry' on Poemhunter I found exactly 7 poems that had that title on Poemhunter. It clearly doesn't work however on embedded text in an actual poem that contains the same words. Hope that stating the obvious has finally helped you in some way! Now at least you know how much I care. : -)

    PS: Don't know why you have so much trouble being funny?It seems easy to me! But maybe the trick is for you to 'be all there?'

  • Brian Johnston (5/30/2014 10:04:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    There has been another passing of note besides the poet Maya Angelou who, though grievously wounded by life, bounced back to assert her place in Poetry's Hall of Fame and in the hearts of us all. The poet Beauteous Victory, who graced Poemhunter with her passion and her pain has also vanished from our lives, but far more grievously. We do not know her real name, can not commiserate personally with her anymore, or speak to her shared heart by writing poems to her poems. The only part of her that lives now on Poemhunter for any of us now are the 3 poems that she shared with Neethu Panicker and myself that she was not able to erase, and did not ask us to take down.

    Beauteous Victory too was a black woman with great heart, a poet who achieved the upper echelons of Poemhunter's popularity poll. Though we may never know her fate, her voice abides in our hearts. She is now and will be missed. She is now and will be still loved for many years by her friends on Poemhunter.

  • Brian Johnston (5/24/2014 6:07:00 AM) Post reply

    Advice To Young Poets (Rev 1)

    It never is an easy ride
    And I don’t mean to deride,
    But your imaginative sense,
    Far exceeds experience.

    Of course you must learn how to fight,
    Gird your pen for unmanned flight,
    By never making yourself wrong,
    Though your youth sullies the song.

    Youth’s insights are sometimes shallow,
    Tend fields that should stay fallow,
    But plant your grain and pray for rain,
    Do not exaggerate pain.

    Remaining true to you today,
    Welcome muse, chips fall as may,
    Though muse may always be your guide,
    The color’s yours to decide.

    A skeleton the muse gives you!
    Living poems come to view,
    With flesh, with heart poet donates,
    No life served on silver plates.

    A clever title serves your need,
    (And reluctant muse can feed)
    Often gets the juices flowing
    When no sure path is showing.

    A dream can sometimes give release
    To deep feelings seeking peace,
    When you're at war with what you know,
    Offer insight where to go.

    Try to stay close to what you love,
    Don’t waste time on what’s above.
    Know it’s just you that you’re selling,
    Make peace with fears you’re quelling.

    And no, not once forgo the chance
    With living poems to dance
    With humble, breathless savoir-faire,
    Please escort her from her chair.

    Brian Johnston
    May 4 2014

    Please visit the Poet's Notes section of many of my poems for even more comments
    on how I approach writing poetry.


    Poet's Mouth

    I feel sure mine’s a true case of ‘Poet’s Mouth’
    My fans certainly are precocious,
    My goodness, oh they think I’m divine
    They are all itching to be my Valentine.

    I feel sure mine’s a true case of ‘Poet’s Mouth’
    My words like rare jewels are so precious,
    My rhythms like wild bats fly so free
    Folk’s hearts skip a beat when they listen to me.

    I feel sure mine’s a true case of ‘Poet’s Mouth’
    My thoughts like fresh snow truly pristine,
    My rhymes like holy water quite pure
    This confluence shining because I’m demure.

    I feel sure mine’s a true case of ‘Poet’s Mouth’
    My insights are really infectious,
    My verse filled with poetic debris,
    If I wrote free verse they could weaponize me.

    I feel sure mine’s a true case of ‘Poet’s Mouth’
    For high honor I’m certainly fit…..
    How perfect if the first could be me….
    Winner of the Golden Globes (of poetry!)

    Brian Johnston
    March 23,2014

    Please visit the Poet's Notes section of many of my poems for even more comments
    on how I approach writing poetry.


    Impossibly High Standards (Revised)

    Just to be present is a blessed event,
    Arguments about form are just chatter,
    The hour it arrives always filled with portent,
    No competing high purpose will matter.

    For writing a poem’s like creating life,
    An honor to just assist in its birth,
    To battle with muse, fight with clarity’s knife,
    What could there be more important on earth?

    The paper we write on is like Holy Ground,
    Our ink honors life, its fragrance like myrrh,
    To grind mental gears is a world shaking sound,
    Images form, suggest God’s passing blur.

    As rainbows crown rain that brings life to the plain,
    So does new poetry honor its source,
    Heals the soul, mends the heart, abolishes pain,
    Moves emotion along God’s refined course.

    Poems that all of our emptiness purges,
    Poems like river banks guide our essence,
    Until, at long last, humanity merges
    With the vast sea of God's exuberance.

    Brian Johnston
    April 30,2014

    Please visit the Poet's Notes section of many of my poems for even more comments
    on how I approach writing poetry.


    An Appeal To (As Yet) Undiscovered Poets

    Undiscovered poets hear me, to PH draw near,
    This just might be a good chance for your views to ring clear.

    An email address you need to get up and running,
    Huge monkeys it‘s said could really write something stunning.

    So grab paper and pen, come as soon as you canna,
    But don’t forget please sir to bring several banana.

    Enough monkey typewriters might just supplant Shakespeare,
    Given enough time (and assuming plenty of beer.)

    We don’t have all day but trust me. I have a good hunch,
    With banana enough friend we don't think about lunch.

    So let’s all hop to it just see man what we can do,
    If monkey shenanigans truly carry us though.

    Show literary typos the ace in our pocket,
    By lighting the fuse to our post(English) grad rocket.

    Brian Johnston
    May 7,2014

    This Poem requires its own special vocabulary explanation (see below)
    Brian’s bastardized Jamaican English explained….
    ...'PH' - PoemHunter (you know man, the site you be on right now)
    …‘Huge’ – a synonym for ‘a great many’ or ‘a large number of’….
    …’canna’ – a synonym for ‘are able to, ’ or slang for ‘smoke a joint, ’ dare I say it
    .................'cannabis! ' (Serendipitous luck I assure you. I'm not that smart.)
    …’banana’ - the plural form of banana. Hey it's my poem!
    …’supplant’ - a synonym for ‘prove to be better than’ as in ‘my pot’s better than
    .......................your pot’….
    ….’beer’ – an alcoholic beverage you always think you can drink more of….
    …’shenanigans’ – an Irish?word that means ‘horse play’ or ‘sculduggery’….
    …’typos’ – a new hip word comparing Poetry snobs to a misspelled word….
    …’ace in the pocket’ – a way to cheat when playing the card game Poker….
    …’post(English) grad rocket’ - a new poetry craze that English majors can’t crack! ....

    Visit my site for even more comments on writing particular poems and discussion
    of what makes a good poem good. In particular I recommend several letters
    between one of the top poets on the site Tapan Pradman and myself posted under the title of
    'Open Letter #A: To All PoemHunter Poets.' I hope to offer more of these letters in the future.

    But truly the real gifts of this site are the new friends you are sure to find. You may make
    enemies too (in spite of good intentions.) Save the grain, let the chaff blow away in the wind.
    If you have heart and talent you won't need the angry ones who have an axe to grind in any case.

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