Monday, June 28, 2010

War Sun

author’s note:

I believe it was John F. Kennedy who said, “Human conflict is created by humans and so, can be ended by humans.”

I would add: “Human conflict will end when we resolve the conflict within.”


I can usually ignore
the static storm
tightening up my joints

until I lie down in the dark

then I again feel the heaviness
of the enraged wave
rising up in my chest--
again see nervous flashes
of lightening
behind my eyelids:

in this way
I become reacquainted with my war--

humbled once more
by my failure
to expel the rain
that has bled deep
into my lungs...

but in such moments, sometimes
I can finally admit my loss
and so, stop fighting myself
and win a brief but powerful truce...

the wave then topples down

into a black pool
that rests at my knees,
my knees lowered
to the earth
a deep pool that reflects
my torn face,
the rubble of my eyes

but when I place
these empty, hesitant hands
into that still water
I can feel the sun of love
spreading through my whole world--

despite my fear,
a peace undeniable,

© 2010, Michael R. Patton
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Frog From The Sky

author’s note:

I owe the last line of this poem to a fortune cookie fortune found “by accident” as I stepped from my car onto a New Orleans street years ago:

“It is better to idealize the real than to realize the ideal.”

I’m still pondering that statement.  I now wonder if, by idealizing the real, we may actually end up realizing the ideal.


What if you believed
doing the right thing
was its own reward?--

but then…one day

a bullfrog falls from the sky
and you don’t what else to do
so you catch it and cradle it
in your instinctive hands

and so, when the frog says,
“Now you must do
whatever I ask you to do,”
what can you do but obey--?--
after all, you assumed
a certain responsibility
when you saved the frog.

Thus, you must carry
that strange moist bundle of heartbeat
as you march forever
along a thin barely-visible line--
up and down mountains
so numerous they become
through so many armies
of irritating ants,
through all sorts of storm
including rain so tedious
you don’t know where
the tears of boredom end
and the cleansing raindrops begin.

Worse yet, once it has issued its instructions
the frog goes mum--
the frog won’t even look at you now
and so, you don’t know if you’re loved
though after awhile, you cease to care.

You no longer dare
to want or wish.
You don’t even curse
the day you found the frog--
you’ve come to see destiny
as neither friend nor foe,
but as something so monolithic
as to be anonymous.

Thus, in such a frame,
you hardly know what’s where
when in a brilliant burst, you arrive
in the deepest recess of the deepest cave
of the highest mountain--
you’ve gone so deep
you don’t even need to think
just as you didn’t need to think
all those years ago
when you caught the frog--

and so, you know you must
place the bullfrog on a stone--a stone throne--
as if performing a coronation,
as if you now control destiny.

And since every gift given up
is replaced
you receive a diamond
to carry in the palm of your hand--

to accompany you
on your backward trek
that doesn‘t even seem to take
half as long--suddenly
you turn a corner
and are home.

But of course, such things
as precious diamonds
always disappear--
or at least, disappear
from view

but, no matter--you’ve gone
past the point of bragging,
moreover, you can feel
the jewel burning,
so deep and yet so close--

you’ve realized the ideal:
the diamond
which cost you so much
is actually priceless.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton

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Thursday, June 03, 2010


author’s note:

author’s note:

Ironically, as I re-work this poem, I’ve come to one of those infrequent physical lulls that slow me down just when I wish to go faster.

I must remember what Dr. Laurence Peter said: “Only a mediocre person is always at his best.”


I’ve learned about “ebb”--
the beach may resemble
a lost battlefield
but such a strip is fertile--

so much once hidden now uncovered.

I’ve accepted ebb,
but I still don’t know how
to accommodate fullness,
the fullness that comes
with the cavalry roar of a rushing surge,
with bells of rising hills of water--
          the burls, bustles, barrels
          of rolling pile waves pound--

breaking, smashing
in a whirl horse wild socking splash

only to end
with a drop curtain
sizzling down the sand--

the ocean taking a quick breath
before the next festive flash
reclaims even more land.

Yes, I can sense fullness
but acceptance is another matter--

still, I must, I must
open to absorb
this other half
so that it may join
with the half I already know--
I must, I must
make my half life whole.

To maintain any split injures the world.

No more east and west.
No more north and south.
No more other and other.
Not later--now.
and never ceasing to work
toward more later.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton

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