Monday, May 14, 2012

Missive from a Distant Province

author's note:

As I recall, I wrote the first draft of this poem a few years ago, while reading the excellent anthology The Clouds Should Know Me By Now: Buddhist Poet Monks of China, edited by Red Cloud and Mike O'Connor.


Despite the fine qualities
of my song and dance
I remain in this
outlying province

waiting, waiting so long
for some word from
that far-off imperial capitol.

I tried to appease my hunger
by enjoying the sun
on the stones in the stream

telling myself how
the open light of my humble home
shines more brightly
than those golden hinges
on the latched imperial gates

but beneath my cool logic
the pain in me screamed

so, whenever I heard
someone else cry out
I heard myself...

thus, my pain
and his pain and her pain
in time, became...our pain.

So now I no longer pray for approval
from the palace--
whatever gratuities I'd receive
would not be enough to comfort me--

if I do not reject the crested pillow
that's only because I know
it can not soften what I feel.

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

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