Geoff Johnston

I was born in Papua New Guinea in 1966. Our family moved to Australia in 1974 and we settled in Brisbane. I completed Secondary School in 1984 at St Peter’s Lutheran College in Brisbane.

In 1985, I began my Seminary studies at Luther Seminary in North Adelaide. I completed a Bachelor of Theology in 1990. In 1991, I completed one year of private study at Flinders University doing Asian Studies and Indonesian. In 1993, I completed my Seminary Studies with a Graduate Diploma in Ministry. On 12th December 1993, I was ordained a pastor in the Lutheran Church of Australia. It was during my years of study in Adelaide that I first became involved with Friendly Street.

From the years 1994 – 1997 I was posted in Townsville, Queensland. In July 1997, I took up a posting in Waikerie, South Australia, where I have served to this day. In 2001/2002, I had a brief stint in Saskatchewan, Canada where I served a parish for nine months on Exchange.

My poetry is really the poetry of aspiration and longing for the things of value.

I enjoy playing guitar and following Carlton.

I fear growing old

I fear growing old
I fear the aches, the pains
the slowing of the step
and slowing of the brain
the crumpled skin
the bent back and sliding fat

I fear growing old
when memories become our dreams
when change assumes a larger frame
the broken hips
the flaccid penis and fearful looks

I fear growing old
when faith rests at heaven’s gate
or sweetens the afternoon tea
the simple truths
the private god and platitudes

I fear growing old
in a middle-class malaise
the pension and the caravan
saving for life’s fickle end – consuming again
the tired close
the lost ideals, the inheritance.

From Friendly Street No. 23

Coming of Age

Words come packaged
boxed in childhood fears

Thoughts flicker
in the cinema of passing years

Rolling off the reel

Ideals slip
into the foam, bob and disappear

Faith free-falls
in the rush of sky and air

And I have come of age

From Friendly Street No. 27

The Whale, the Walrus, We

The sea calls back her own
– the creatures of the deep
While the watch
From glass-bottom boat

The sea calls back her own
– the creatures of the deep
They wring their hands
Wet their feet

The sea calls back
– the creatures of the deep
The whale, the walrus

From Friendly Street No. 27