Friday, July 27, 2012

Talking About Silence

author's note:

I've revised this poem...

For one thing, in the first version, I had two minutes of silence, but in this version, I have twenty minutes.

So perhaps, life does get better.


Silence is...

the deep water cave rediscovered
after twenty thousand years:

silence is feeling at rest
even amid such mysterious
underwater darkness--

silence is a single flame
in the indefinite distance
of that darkness--

I know I can draw
that light to me
by remaining silent:

silence is the effort
that requires no effort...

I know something about silence
though I've only been
in total silence
for twenty minutes
my entire life

but in that brief time
I traveled
twenty thousand years.

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

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Bird Watching

author's note:

Long ago, I learned not to assume that I knew what was inside another human being.

I learned the hard way, of course.

A little later, I learned not to assume that I knew what was inside my own self.  Again, the hard way.


I take the Eagle
as my personal
universal symbol

but I also accept
the free-range Bantam
as an aspect of my person

in an aviary of mystifying contrast:

I am wee brown Wren,
as well as neon Peacock--

I am Dodo waddling
and nibble Plover
racing over the seashore--
I am

Crow cawing death's alarm

but also gold Meadowlark
singing a midwife's song!

So then,
what bird I am not?

Well, I can't say for sure
because, like you
every day I discover more--
more of who I am.

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
picturing metaphor

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Lift

author's note:

Watched a documentary on the Blues last night...

To me, the Blues say: might as well celebrate the weight of this life.


Sometimes when I witness
someone struggling to stand...

I reflect again on what every
human being is asked to carry

and as I consider
the lot of us
I stop and when I stop
I can feel that weight again--
the pressure
I usually manage to ignore
when I'm rolling--

even though
the weight on the spirit
puts such a weight
into our limbs.

Many have written
that this burden, this fear
comes from knowing
of our death

but after listening
to my own protestations,
I write that what this life asks
creates such a pressure:

this life keeps asking me to crack--
open and open and open

the request seems so unjust--!--
especially since I've fought so hard
to hold myself together--to buttress myself--
to defend myself against this world--

tried so hard to ignore that damn weight--
worried it might stop me dead...

and yet...
when I do stop...when I feel
the pressure again
and then try to negotiate
the weight of that weight--
try to understand
what would seem to be
an unreasonable demand...

I gain a sense of something
an intangible tangible:
a quiet force of assurance
rising within me

and so,
instead of being crushed down...
I experience
a slight lift, a shift--
an exhalation of such magic
I can't possibly take credit

and so--that quick--I arrive
at the end of my little break:
I stand up again, I move again...
I forget again

but feeling a little lighter
maybe I defend a little less.

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

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Thursday, July 05, 2012

No Rest for the Sleeping

author's note:

The butterfly--
What are the dreams that make him
flutter his wings?
          -- Chiyo (trans. Donald Keene)


In an ancient tale
a giant worm eats the sun
and then, because of the darkness
goes into hibernation...

All night long, the beast
wrestles in its sleep
as that festering solar fire
agitates its belly...

which is why I said:

you must have a sun inside
judging by the way
you twist and turn
as you dream beside me.

But instead of accepting
my sympathy, you told me
I also fight while asleep.

Yes, many nights
we only get fitful rest
as we struggle in dreams
that try to awaken us

but I believe someday
we'll finally exhaust our weaker wills
and then surrender
to the demands
of that bountiful sun...

to the hard razor light
of merciless dawn...

we've waited for eons.

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
dreaming steps

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