carousel by the sea
Youth’s Dumb Green Fields Come Back Again
by Carole Johnston

An Homage to Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting

for the fog of constant sorrow to lift

for crows to convene in my house muttering
dirges like foggy old men

for my guardian angel to flap her
crow wings and soar through my dreams

I am still waiting

for “Hologram Girl” to jump off my pages and find all the
lost dream words

for words bursting from trees to blossom themselves into silver

for silver stallions to canter off the carousel whinnying prayers to
the sea

for manic dawn to crack the prayers of madness

for the old mad Madonna to bless us with forgiveness

to float in forgiveness until we forgive ourselves

to free ourselves from everything but flowers

I am waiting to be free 

PAINTING: Carousel by the Sea by Clarence Holbrook Carter (1979).


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I carried A Coney Island of the Mind  around with me throughout my freshman year of college, and the poem “I Am Waiting” has been in and out of my consciousness since that halcyon time of my youth. Wondering what I am really “waiting” for evoked images and personal metaphors. In this poem, I have attempted to invoke Ferlinghetti’s tone of whimsical sadness. Many more lines came to me, but the pattern of the poem seemed to lock itself in and be finished. The pattern of repeating one word from each of the preceding lines caused the poem to write itself in images and led me to realize that forgiveness is what I am really waiting for. Aren’t we all?

Johnston. jpg

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carole Johnston is a poet and retired creative writing teacher living in Lexington, Kentucky.  She has published three volumes of poetry: Journeys—Getting Lost, Manic Dawn, and Purple Ink—A Childhood in Tanka. She has become devoted to reading and writing Japanese short-form poetry, mainly haiku and tanka, and has published poems in Frog Pond, Blithe Spirit, Atlas Poetica, Red Lights, Cattails Journal of the United Haiku and Tanka Society, Akitsu Quarterly, Skylark Tanka Journal, Hedgerow, Moonbathing Journal of Women’s Tanka, and various other journals. After 18 years of teaching creative writing/literary arts at the School For Creative and Performing Arts at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Kentucky, Carole now teaches poetry and fiction to young children at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. She believes that her purpose in life is to surround children with poetry and inspire them to write.