Into The Mystic

I love that song! I should have named this fourth piece in my Alaska series Into The Mystic. Maybe I’ll dream Van Morrison tonight. But the title for this piece comes from another famous poet, Emily Dickinson – The Warf Is Still. It works, but, darn it, it should have been Into The Mystic.

Here’s a link to Van’s song. If you don’t know it, I think you’ll want to.

And here’s the lyrics:

Into The Mystic

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun

Ere the bonnie boat was won
As we sailed into the mystic

Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic

And when that foghorn blows
I will be coming home

And when the foghorn blows
I want to hear it I don’t have to fear it

and I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And magnificently we will flow into the mystic

When that fog horn blows
You know I will be coming home

And when that fog horn whistle blows
I got to hear it I don’t have to fear it

and I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will flow into the mystic

Come on, girl
Too late to stop now

Written by Van Morrison • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

On The Nature Of (W0)Man

“Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away/ You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.” ~Robert Frost

This poem is for my sister, Michelle, who is in need of many prayers right now.

I guess I have a deep personal interest in metaphorical walls; they’ve come up in all my poems this week. Sartre wrote a story called “The Wall.” I haven’t read it yet, maybe it will shine some light on the subject. (FYI -It didn’t.)

How do you feel about esoteric poetry? Do you think  you get something from a poem, even if it expresses a completely personal theme to the poet? When does a poem become too esoteric?

Are you familiar with Hippocrates’ Humours/Temperments?

Thanks for visiting! Comments are always welcome.


On The Nature Of (Wo)man
by Anni Johnson

Lost in the middle,
you built your wall,
you feisty feminine warrior.

The bee that stung you
transformed your face
for battle: an epic
middle man journey

that would land you
on your back, monitors beeping.

An imbalance of humours
causes the body pain. Yellow bile
leads your injury: bitter taste,
followed by excessive thirst.

We had joy, we had fun,
we had seasons in the sun… 
but the fabric of life allowed
the devil’s pocket to open.

The past and the here and now
are never very far from each other.
A tasty organ of life
dilled in a fine brine
will eat you alive.

You guard your secret heart
that sits to the side
and bleeds.

To Verse Or To Free Verse

What inspires you to create art, or write a poem? How do you feel about meter, blank verse, and free verse? Have you been influenced one way or another?

I  been reading lately about the poetry of Charles Olson and J.H. Prynne. Olson created a manifesto and began what is called Projective Verse. The guiding motto for the Projective Verse: “The head to the ear by way of the syllable, the heart by way of the breath to the line.”   Here’s a video explaining Projective Verse on YouTube. (Good watch, even if the presenter is a bit overly animated.)

I really like the intuitive sense Olson imparts in his school of thought. It seems to me that John Ashbery’s poetry also follows a similar system of creation even though he prefers not to associate with any particular school: He is often associated with the New York School   – think Surrealism and Modernism. I’ve also found his name related to Organic Poetry.

It can take weeks or months for a journal to review and reject a poem. I’d rather share with the world sooner, so I’m posting the poem I wrote today now. After all, it is a first draft.

Constructive feedback is welcome.


To Verse Or To Free Verse
by Anni Johnson

Mine: A horse with barbed wire bit
feeling blindly for the bard. Drip. Drip.

The pounding. The pounding.

Incandescent flashes: Constructs of the ego. The pounding.

The pounding. Is there anybody in there?

Mind bombs, or heart
breaking forms.

A right or wrong path?
Does a “firm persuasion” exist?

The pounding.

The pounding the way music passes
in organized chaos
like knots
interdependent, connected.

The whole orchestral potential
ending with frog phobia.

I just tied up my gladiolas.





Publishing Poems

The odds of getting published in a poetry journal are apparently slim: 2% – very slim indeed! I’ve sent a half dozen poems – what I consider to be my better work – to a dozen or more journals with kindly No Thank Yous in response. Three journals have said, Send again. Encouraging, but a resounding NO all the same. I’ve read that to get a poem published you have to submit at least 100 times. Okay, I’ll keep trying.

What is a poem anyway? Are academic degrees necessary?

read my poems


Photo: Anni Johnson, 2016

Updating Website

In anticipation of an upcoming show at RiverRead this December, I am reworking the information on my site   www.annijvisualartist.com

I’m not sure what I’ll present for this show, but I’m sure it will include my recent Alaska adventure in one form or another. Photos of my Alaska trip can be viewed on Facebook @ K.Ann Johnson67.

If my last few poems aren’t accepted by a journal soon, I’ll post them here.


Photo: Anni Johnson, 2016