Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How My Ego Saved a Tree

author's note:

"Poems are made by fools like me,
  But only God can make a tree."
                -- Joyce Kilmer

Maybe so, but we can damn well help.


Lost, I was

and tired
tired of searching

so when I found an old blind man
sitting cross-legged on the ground
I asked him for some wisdom

and because I'd begged, I had to obey
when he pointed me to a gray hill
covered with a stubble of stumps.

But though confused
I knew enough to know
I needed to be needed--

I needed meaning

so I convinced myself
this wounded land
needed my healing--

needed me especially.

From this decision, we see
how the ego can sometimes
serve the spirit:

having regained my leaves--
my limbs, my trunk
I realize how much
I needed the healing
of this green hill...

© 2013, Michael R. Patton

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Weak & Strong

author's note:

A poem appropriate for a cold, windy beginning to a bright new Spring.


Either this world had speeded up
or I had slowed to a crawl

because I could not keep pace
with the rotations
of the planet...

so I decided to stop
for just a little while--
assuring myself
I'd still be moving
since the Earth would be
taking me along as it revolved

but I soon discovered
that standing in one place
required a shocking amount
of willpower

especially as silent questions began
to surround me--
after all, all anyone ever saw was
someone just standing around.

So I decided I should leave
however, I now felt too weak
as I sensed something churning
in the pit of my stomach--

which I guess is what happens
when you stop:
you feel those feelings
you've fought so hard to ignore.

I tried to settle myself down
by delving my roots as deep as I could
but when you're standing in the open, alone
bitter winds are bound to blow
and then no depth ever feels deep enough
as the storm progresses
from bad to worse...

Yet as a result of this fix
I came to realize:
a decision as horrible as this
couldn't have been made by chance--
rough though it was,
I'd found what I needed.

You may argue with my reasoning
but from that flash of understanding
I gathered the strength to hold on fast

until the gale had shorn the tree of leaves
until the dusty wind had settled

until the dusk had darkened
to the easier evening
I had earned...

Then, as the moon rose
my intestines relaxed
and I lifted my eyes
to the apex...

quite secure now on my feet
as I continued going round
and round
and round

with the revolution of my planet...

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

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Same Creek

author's note:

Yes, I know this Universe is in a constant state of flux--I can feel it...

And yet, when I can get down to the heart of things, I find some stability.


Whoever says you can't step
in the same creek twice
obviously doesn't know creeks...

I have returned to the same creek
again and again

and it always says:

step in

step in,
and I will wash your feet clean

no matter where you've been--

maybe you muddied your feet
because you thought you wanted
all of that slop

or maybe you leapt in
because you realized
you had no real choice.

Either way,
my waters do not judge
your blind innocence

and because I understand
you needed to go where you went
your true being can not resist me

and so you keep returning
to this valley:

sometimes knowing
you need me
but other times,
ignoring the need

until you fool yourself
into tripping then sliding
down through
the fallen leaves

to arrive at the bottom
where I await your arrival...
my easy current saying softly:

we're alone now, so don't worry--

though you have changed
I remain the same creek:

old and stable--constant
in my changing--complex
in my simple rippling

so as to slowly dazzle you
as I soothe your feet:

in that way, I clear away
the mental muddle
while with my calm acceptance
I reassure your heart.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Daily Opera

author's note:

Full disclosure: so far, I'm not too much of an opera fan.

But I do like the idea of opera...the idea of life amplified to its true grandness.


As I open to the dawn...

from the beast of instinct tamed
there comes a breast song--

all else in the room responds--
a booming chorus:

suddenly I'm in a world of opera--

every day: an opera...rising

with the sun, the heat...

then exhaling

with the cool sunset

then lifting again--softly

with the moon...

all the way to the echoing stars.

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

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