Thursday, March 29, 2012


author's note:

As a schoolboy, I found inspiration in the story of The Little Engine That Could.

However, in my adulthood, I find the challenge isn't so simple--after one hill, there's always another...

...or else, it's the same hill with different levels.


So often I've said: I can’t I won't!

though I know I've already made my choice:

this choice involves wearing a yoke

but why would anyone want to wear a yoke--?--

especially when the yoke connects to a plow--?--

especially when the plow must be pulled
                                        up a steep slippery hill--?--

where I can build
luscious green terraces
to nurture nutritious bean plants.

I use this line of questioning
when I need to lead myself
back to the reason for this work.

But sometimes, even that good sense
isn't enough to keep me from crying: I can't I won't!

So to soothe the hurt
and move my feet
I reach this agreement
with myself:
         "okay, I will...
          I will for now."

I'm willing to comply
as long as I believe
I actually have an option...

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Listening to Silence

author’s note:

Since my previous post spoke of water, I thought it appropriate to follow with a poem about stone.


Here in the canyon
the black boulder
has the great patience
to wait...

as I struggle to awaken to it.

Day after day, I return to the stone:
this returning is my ritual--
my homing, my homage,
my prayer, my growth.

Even in my blindness, I can see
how much that boulder knows--
something of such profound quiet
must be unfathomably wise--

so wise as to remain silent--
so wise as to speak to me
with its silence--its silence
instructs me to listen...

to what can not be spoken

which is always stronger
than anything that can.

And though my hearing
still feels so weak
I'm slowly gaining strength

because each day, as I listen
in my short time of quiet I find
a just little more
of that master boulder
solid in my silent depths.

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
webbed site

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Return to Center

author’s note:

I've memorized this poem, so as to use it for medicinal purposes.

But I suppose that's how we use all poetry--for medicinal purposes.


In the dream...

one waterdrop
from that towering redwood tree
hit the midnight mirror of the pond

as if to plunge
a cold needle
down into my heart--

creating rings within rings of ripples--

the waves spreading
until finally striking
the rocks along the shore

then coming back
to center. All the circles gathering
to a still point...a point

that could not remain
so still--a point
I could not hold

but a stillness that I know
I can recall
whenever I break
against those rocks.

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
Open All Night: the book

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Warm Blue Cave

author’s note:

I am a part of all that I have met.
                    -- Alfred Lord Tennyson

I would say: all that I have met is a part of me.


The world welcomed me
with closed doors
and hard crows--

as a result,
I came to believe any open door
would slam shut
if I approached

and even the soft blue bird
might peck my eyes out.

But this break also
gave me great feeling for
all those other fractured mirrors--
I wanted to patch us all.

with such pain around me
I felt the need to crawl
into a cave so blue
I would stay warm
no matter how cold
the air outside might blow.

And I did crawl.
And I did find
a better coat--
a garment with the strength
of ages.  I found
what truly belonged to me--
what I could not lose.
Even so

I felt I had not yet
found enough...but change
demands change

so I left and when I left
I walked out on two feet
instead of four.  I walked

out and around,
but no matter what I saw
ever so often, I could look down
and feel
that warm blue cave
deep in my belly--

warm enough for me
to keep my arms open
long enough
for the birds to land

and none of them
have tried
to peck out my eyes


But I trust
that I'm now strong enough
to keep my hands uncoiled

and though I feared
the wounded birds
would weigh me down
they seem, instead
to have lifted me up.

Even more to my surprise:
we must be
of the same feather
because I can hear
their echoes
deep within me

whenever I descend
to open my door
to that warm blue world.

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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