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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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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