Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Irritation of Wisdom

author's note:

It may not show...

...but I've worked so hard on this poem--a poem that tells of how I've worked so hard to see.


I first heard her voice
after I woke to discover
my eyes sealed shut.

I listened
but only after
my rising fear had fired
wild bursts of frustration;

only after I surrendered,
tired and weak
did I finally give myself
to her stern command:

"Having now come to know
  that you do not know
  you will feel
  your path blindly
  and in feeling, find
  the slow way of opening."

In the following years
--years of following--
her admonitions have often
grated my ears...

I am still on the slow way--
still so slowly:

I can see, but only a little
but a little is enough
to make me want to see
so much more--
to make me want to heed
her irritating wisdom.

I've seen enough to see:
I'll never see enough
to satisfy me--
I'll always be working,
I'll never be done...

I've seen enough to see:
we're all working--
all in the same slow way:

struggling to follow
the irritating wisdom
we struggle to ignore.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Purpose of Hair Loss

author's note:

Years ago, a mentally-unstable young man told me, "Michael, I want to run through the garden with the woman of golden hair."

He was so thoughtful, so sincere, so perceptive...I truly hope he has found his golden hair.


Hair falls out
one thin thread
at a time

so we don't realize
what we've lost
until we chance upon
our reflection
(maybe in a bucket of water)

then we can see:

how we've grown
a little bare on top
or a lot

and because hair disappears
so slowly, it must be
gathered back slowly as well...

but from where--?--

I can only tell you:
I've looked everywhere

and found my hair
bit by bit
here and there...

in festering swamp
and stifling desert

in frightening caves
and back out

into frightening sunlight.

Since hair obeys gravity
often I've had to creep my way
like a crawling baby

and since hair can also ascend
on the sweep of a breeze
I've had to claw my way up
a tall wobbly tree trunk

hard work
but the occasional meager win
keeps this gambler going:

I find a gossamer lock
lacing the green grass...
a slender string
drifting down a stream:

it all adds up...though so tediously
I can't help but feel tired and dull
on this journey

until a woman with a bucket
shows me my reflection
in her clear water
and I see again
that my searching
creates an alchemy:

once returned
to its proper place
that mousey hair of ours
shines golden...

lights the way.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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