Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Stone Says



author's note:

A poem posted last year...and rewritten this year.

On rewrites, I usually end up cutting all my favorite lines.  So painful.


THE STONE SAYS

Maybe we don't need graves
but we still could use the stones

as a reminder
after our ashes
have been carried away
by the breeze.

Just a flat stone slab
planted in the grass
would be sufficient--

would say to the world:

like any solid stone, I've endured
many quakes, many storms

as well as
the relentless dripping
of cold ground seepage.

The stone would say:
I am a foundation

you can build on me--you will
even if you forget
I am here--

I’ll always be around.

Before, I was hidden
in that woman
in that man
in that child:

now, finally, in death
you can witness my truth--

feel the life of this stone...


© 2013, Michael R. Patton
MYTHSTEPS: the book

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Silent Voice



author's note:

As stated in the poem, "I've learned not to resist"...

What I didn't say is: I learned the hard way.


THE SILENT VOICE

Sometimes, I can detect a voice

so deep within...almost alien

yet somewhat comforting
because it lies beyond
my screeches and wails:

a voice without language
a voice without sound--

what often tells me yes
when I hope for no
and no when I'm wishing for
a definite yes.

But I've learned not to resist.

What I haven't learned yet
is the purpose behind
its instructions...

I can only tell you
what I trust to be true:

I trust it knows of "home"--

that it knows what needs to unfold
through work and time--that it knows
where I need to go to get to
where I need to be--

that it knows what's required
to answer a desire--a basic desire

but not one driven by survival fear.

Such a concept feels overwhelming

...almost unbelievable...frightening.

And yet...I can't stop listening.


© 2014, Michael R. Patton
OPEN ALL NIGHT: poems of our dream life

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Listening to the Sea



author's note:

I recently learned that "seashore poetry" is a tradition in American literature.

Today, and in the last two entries, I've added my own contribution--my own version of seashore poetry.


LISTENING TO THE SEA

Finally listening
to the cacophony
of the cafeteria
I began to hear
the sea...

then,
as I continued
attuning, I discovered
that same sea voice
inside myself.


© 2014, Michael R. Patton
dreaming steps

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Into the Ocean



author’s note:

This life...it's always a work-in-progress.


INTO THE OCEAN

I've never been able to forget
how afraid I was of the water
as a child--

that feeling has followed me
all through my life--

a sense of weakness

that became especially poignant
one morning as I gazed in wonder
at the magnificent gray-green waters
shifting up and down
in myriad waves...

Finally,
my sadness overwhelmed me
and I retreated to a cave
beneath the sea cliff.

There, in darkness
I shivered and gasped
through a long agitated sleep

returning again and again
in twilight dreams to that beach
where the impersonal presence
of the bay watched me

and waited...patiently.

Fortunately, in dreams
--as in waking life--
we humans have a way
of fooling ourselves

and so, after much fear
and frustration
I finally decided to take
one step forward
as the tide began
to slide back.

As a result,
when the massive wave
suddenly struck
I was carried up
and away

--!--

but no, I didn't fight--
I accepted the great threat
with trembling courage:

having lived with so much terror
for so long
I'd learned to cope--
I could control myself:

I lay back--I spread myself wide
in submission and whispered:
“Though I can not kill my fear
  I will no longer allow this fear
  to kill me.”

Yes, I still felt a lack
but when confronting such force
we are indeed powerless
unless we can lay back.

At that point
I needed no more dreaming
and finally awoke fully

then moved out
   and out
into the wide waters--

into an ocean deepening down.


© 2014, Michael R. Patton
new steps

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

In a Flash



author's note:

Maybe I'm under the influence of the wonderful anthology From the Country of Eight Islands, edited/translated by Hiroaki Sato and Burton Watson.

I hope I am.


IN A FLASH

A child's footprint in the sand

washed away in the flash of a wave...


© 2014, Michael R. Patton
MythSteps

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Sunday, May 04, 2014

Good Life, Good Death



author's note:

"We shall overcome..."
    -- from "I'll Overcome Some Day" by Charles Tindley


GOOD LIFE, GOOD DEATH

At the end
I think I'll have courage enough
not to fight to prolong a life
no longer needed

because in this life
I've fought and fought
to overcome my fear
of what feels overwhelming...

I'm talking about freedom:

I've warred within
in order to win
those good deaths
I needed

which also meant
I battled to reject
enticing confinements
that would have been
bad deaths for me.

So in the end
I think I'll have the strength
to release a good life
and embrace a good death.


© 2014, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

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