[ultimate_heading main_heading=”pj johnson *Featured Poet* – Issue.XXVI : March 2017 ” main_heading_color=”#1e73be” sub_heading_color=”#8224e3″ spacer=”line_with_icon” spacer_position=”bottom” line_style=”dotted” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#1e73be” icon_type=”custom” icon_img=”id^48|url^http://ashvamegh.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Ashvamegh-ICO.jpg|caption^null|alt^Ashvamegh Journal Icon|title^Ashvamegh ICO|description^null” img_width=”48″ main_heading_style=”font-weight:bold;” main_heading_font_size=”desktop:34px;” line_width=”3″]the Yukon poet laureate[/ultimate_heading]
[interactive_banner banner_title=”pj johnson” banner_desc=”The Yukon Poet Laureate with exceptional talents in singing, composing, writing and performing arts.” banner_image=”id^5090|url^http://ashvamegh.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/pj-johnson-yukon-laureate.jpg|caption^null|alt^pj johnson poet|title^pj johnson yukon laureate|description^null” banner_height=”ult-banner-block-custom-height” banner_height_val=”350″ banner_bg_color=”#1e73be” banner_overlay_bg_color=”rgba(118,157,191,0.56)”]

pj johnson is the Yukon Poet Laureate who was appointed the first official invested poet laureate in Canada back in July 1994. She is a multi-talented woman who has been, over the years, participating in the world of creative arts as a musician/ composer, actress, poet, playwright, photographer, performance artist, and creative mentor. Her original creative works have been performed live and televised at various local and national venues.

Read the poems by pj johnson


as i walk into the green garden

johnson green fieldand as i walk into the green garden

that is always dying

the faces

of the lost ones

still blossoming before me

like so many

brightly-colored flowers

that never fade



my mother –

her old bones

asleep on the hill

overlooking the ranch

above a crumbling cabin

that echoes yet

with story

keep watch

keep track


as butter-fat wolf-pups

wrestle with the frosted ends

of snow-covered moose bones

and ravenous ravens

laughing like magpies

swoop down from stunted jackpines

to scour the boreal vista

vying forever for whatever leftovers

are left


my heart has memorized

the saddle-straddled coffin

and a line of sad-faced mourners

moving slowly forward

behind a rider-less Red Fox pony

escorting The Yukon Horse Woman


carrying her up that mountain

one last time


where goes the green of summer

when northwinds come

to howl away the sun

what’s left of the fatted calf

that once was life

that hovers now ghost-like

upon some foreign horizon

where do the living

really go


a sudden burst of wolf wind

thrashes through the buckbrush

quieting the neigh of gentle horses

caressing my friendless ear

as if in answer

and the sun rises higher

than god

as the sparkling midnight waters

begin to dance across the lake



“because I am a sled dog”

sled dog poembecause I am a sled dog

I have no voice

I can only speak to you

with my eyes

with my bark

and with the wagging of my tail


if I could talk to you

I would tell you that I worship you

and that my only wish

is to be with you

to be loved and adored

and to be wanted for who I am


I would tell you

I am a living breathing being

much like you

that feels love and joy and pain

and if I could only speak to you in words

I would tell you all these things


I would tell you I am here

to do your bidding

even if that means running a thousand miles

in a brutal race I didn’t choose to run

even if it means

I might suffer and die


for you are my world

my greatest joy

and I only live to please you

I would protect you with my life

if you asked me to

all I ask in return

is that you love me back


howlin’  time

when the haunting howl of grey wolf

cuts across the arctic air

and you stand beneath the mountain

and the frost is in your hair

and your soul is bent and bleeding

but there’s nothin’ you can do

you’re awake and yet you’re dreaming

all there is is god and you

it’s howlin’ time


and you are part of everything

and everything is you

yet you walk along forgotten

by a world you never knew

and your life is like a season

when the moon has gone insane

and it shimmers down your shoulder

comes to life and dies again

it’s howlin’ time


it’s howlin’ time

it’s howlin’ time

when the spirits of the lost ones

come to walk with you again

it’s howlin’ time

it’s howlin’ time

when there’s only god and you

it’s howlin’ time


so you wander in the willows

and you cut across your pain

and there’s magic in the treetops

and a raven calls your name

and your eyes are bright with sonnets

and you wonder if you’re sane

as the spirits of the lost ones

come to walk with you again

it’s howlin’ time


and you ask about your mother

and the child that never was

as a thousand answers leave you

but the question never does

and you reach out to your father

he’s a million miles away

he’ll be gone by monday morning

but by god he heard you pray

it’s howlin’ time


and you know that he is dying

and you know that no one cares

as you stumble up the mountain

and the frost is in your hair

and you hunger for a reason

and you hunger for a clue

and you hunger for a season

but there’s only god and you

it’s howlin’ time


it’s howlin’ time

it’s howlin’ time

when the spirits of the lost ones

come to walk with you again

it’s howlin’ time

it’s howlin’ time

when there’s only god and you

it’s howlin’ time

when there’s only god and you

it’s howlin’ time



set not your face in grief


set not your face in grief against the wind

this death is but a word

that wanders in the night

planting sorrow in the hearts of men

cast down the seed


set not your face in grief against the wind

i am the rose so full of life i cannot die

celebrate me

for this death means nothing

i am beauty in full bloom


set not your face in grief against the wind

for i am new and perfect

like the snow that falls around you

i the silent miracle sift down from heaven

knowing heaven


set not your face in grief against the wind

for i am raven, free in spirit

soaring highly without bound

i am legend reminding you of life

reminding you to live



she walks with a certain pride

johnson yukon poem   

moving slowly along the highway

each step a labor and leaning heavily

on a gnarled willow stick

she walks with a certain pride

her wispy hair flowing out

from under a fox-trimmed hood

that frames her sun-dark face

in the tedious tailwinds

of traffic rushing infinitely


her teak-brown gaze


and destination-fixed

betrays no air of expectation

only the steady dark prints

of moosehide moccasins

and the rounded tracks

of her pack-laden Husky

trail out behind her


panting, the two plow unbroken drifts

their trail growing distant

in the lengthening of shadows

her old eyes bright in bitter winds that whisper

of a day when Raven stole away the Sun

of drumsongs. dancing.

and of legends passed down by elders

weaving baskets

over pine-scented campfires


as a cool December moon

outlines her smallness

she pauses to tug at the Husky’s harness

sighing frostily

and trudges on

the steady thrust of her

willow stick

piercing the snow

like the rhythm of an ancient drumbeat


she begins to chant a tuneless song

of burning sweetgrass.

sinew-threaded moccasins.

and great warriors

gone back to the earth

like old totems

returned as she

the circle of her life complete


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