Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Finding My Size



author's note:

Again, a poem with uncertainty, an ocean, and release (see last post)...

Am I repeating myself?  I prefer to think: I'm exploring motifs.


FINDING MY SIZE

I woke to find
the waves of the night sea
had carried me
far away from shore--

my legs dangled
in a depth unknown
while cold waters rocked my body
as if I was a discard--

not so different
from how I usually felt
but I could usually ignore
how I usually felt.

Desperate
I searched for a landmark
I could aim myself towards

but black sky
had merged with black sea--
did I see low-lying stars before me?--
or were those the streetlights
along our shoreline drive?--
perhaps
I only saw the lamps
of my hopeful imagination.

I felt helpless as a dot--
a grain of sand about to sink.

I'd heard we all held
an incredible personal power

but as the current mocked
my assertion of free will
that idea seemed a lie
designed to protect
a fragile sense of self.

I then recalled the other story:
how at our lowest moments--
when we feel damn near empty--
the light will descend
through that opening
to rescue us.

Though I still can't vouch for its truth
I guess belief saved me
because

when the clouds suddenly broke
and that big round Moon beamed
its spotlight down on me
in an instant, I felt safe--delivered--
I could surrender my doubt--
I could lay myself back and breathe--
free in my security.

The spirit of life filled me--
I felt myself swell

but as has happened in the past
I forgot to stop the inflation:

having shrunk down
to nothing
the pipsqueak in me
wanted to expand
to the size of that moon.

But in trying to be bigger
than I am
I lost the blessed moment
and like a beach ball
I then bounced back
to land upon the sandy shore--

back to my usual reality
and so
able to ignore again
how small I am
as well as how large.

Hopefully
next time I shrink down
I can remember
what I usually forget:

how I can be more
by becoming less
but can only maintain
that gain
by keeping my head
in check.



© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

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Sunday, June 04, 2017

Confessions of a Space Man



author's note:

"We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth."
         -- R. Buckminster Fuller


CONFESSIONS OF A SPACE MAN

I sat down on a flat stone--
hoping to find some sense
of stability

but as I gazed across the desert
I slowly began to feel
what I'd been told:
though the earth beneath our feet
seems solid enough
we're actually walking on a thin crust--

a skin constantly shifting
as if something mysterious
seethes underneath--
something that might
at any moment
erupt!

How could I ever feel secure
on a planet continually in flux?

I then decided to look skyward
into the timeless void--
hoping if I lost myself
I might also lose my anxiety...

but when I saw
the myriad stars
cartwheeling
through darkness without end
I felt what I'd been told:
how this planet, this spaceship
holds us captive on a wild spin
through a Universe unknown--

we're not held fast
by Atlas
or any other god.

Finally, in desperation
I went within--
hoping to find an anchor stone
of deep wisdom

but no--
without outside distraction
I discovered how nervous
I actually was:
rocked and racked by an inner ocean--
my rickety boat swooning--swelling
with tension--ready to explode

but then
through the fierce storm
I heard the voice
of that buried stone:
let go it said--let go

and though I could not believe
I saw no other choice, no other hope.

So I opened my toes
my fingers
my arms
my stomach
my groin...

and to my surprise
when I opened my eyes
I found myself
surfing over earthen clouds--
I now rode the stone
through the storm
balanced I was (or nearly so).

These days, I still feel
a little queasy--but
if I can remember to remind myself
to just let go
(without surrendering completely)
I usually manage to hold steady.

Maybe someday
--when I locate that lost grain
  of confidence--
I will truly soar...

If I’ve bored you
with this story before
realize this:
you’ve again helped
a fellow human being
because

by allowing me
to confess my uncertainty
I am released--
maybe only a little, but still:
thus comforted, I balance better.

But perhaps I’ve helped you too--

if you often feel weak
in the solar plexus
at least now you know:
you are not alone.



© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Born in Egypt



author's note:

An apt poem, I believe, for these overheated times.


BORN IN EGYPT

When I was child
the Bible told me:
with enduring patience
you can escape Egypt

and indeed I was eventually
able to leave

but not completely...
even after all these years
the pain of bondage
still rages within me.

Nonetheless
I can laugh an honest laugh
and find heaven in my heart...

yet I know
at any moment
the fire may blaze
back up
to consume the king
of my judgment.

But these fights with myself
prompt me to seek the solace
of the cool still pool.

Down in its darkness
I soothe the latest burn
and in so doing, heal
the old wounds
just a little bit more--
a little bit more.

Maybe someday
I'll be well enough to help
some of the many
who struggle with
a rage born in Egypt:

maybe they (like me)
have tried and failed
to destroy the fire--

can we ever master those flames?

I will--
when I raise
that righteous sword
from the ashes of my sorrow.

I say:
we're actually lucky
to have experienced
such indignity
in early Egypt--

otherwise
we might lack
the fervor to battle
the injustices of our world.



© 2017, Michael R. Patton
My War for Peace: a poetry book

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Monday, May 15, 2017

A Gleam of Purple & Gold



author’s note:

It's not my trail--it's our trail.


A GLEAM OF PURPLE & GOLD

When I first glimpsed
that mountain peak
I believed

I'd seen my destiny:

I believed
I finally understood
the purpose
of this rising trail.

Thus
as I continued to step
I did so with intent.

Nonetheless
I've doubted the reality
behind my stated aim
because clouds and other
atmospheric conditions
usually keep the peak
hidden from me.

Fortunately, the work
of putting one foot
in front of the other
distracts my mind
from excessive worry

that is
until fatigue finally catches me

then I'll begin to wonder if
I'm actually making progress
or if what I seek even exists.

And so, I'll stop
and gaze upward
once again--
desperate for
another glimpse...

and indeed
with patience
I'll eventually see a gleam
of purple and gold:

an image experienced
as a vision--
proclaimed by the spirit
to be truth.

Then
with doubt diminished
and hope renewed
I'll continue to continue.

Though my heart will want to wait
for another bright beam
I know, from experience:
to linger longer
will only slow my progress

and to walk while looking up
is a sure way to trip and fall.



© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

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