Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cannonball Blues

author’s note:

At the least the cannonball of this poem is in the hold and not in the cannon...

...most of the time anyway.


Years ago, I woke up
to the sounds of a cannonball
rolling around in my cargo hold--

banging against the hull walls--

even on a gentle sea
I can hear that ball


bump...into the oak wood

and if I plug my ears
the sound actually amplifies.

I've tried to control the ballistic
but can’t negotiate its massive weight---

that cast iron ignores my prayers,
jeers at my earnest meditation--!

Yet through this experience
I've discovered my ship
is of solid construction:

now I know I won't break

even in the roughest waves.

But I want to do more than endure:

I still dream of the day
when I’m strong enough--calm enough
to hear that muffled bump bump bump
and enjoy an honest laugh--

a little laugh at myself--

a big laugh at this bumpy life.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Digging the Trail

author’s note:

As a boy, I was led to believe that Hell was deep inside the Earth.

Later, as I started to dig, I discovered I'd been badly misinformed.


When I worked as an undertaker
one night, I discovered
the real reason we dream
of buried treasure:

at the bottom of the grave
suddenly my shovel blade
hit a pocket of molten rock--!--

a fire, a light--a burst of brilliance
too soon gone...

Since that time,
the electric bulb
has never been enough
to satisfy my hunger...

since that time,
I've struggled along
with all you other
grimy miners--
sharing your fever

as we search for the precious ores--

leading us slowly
down to the core.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
myth steps

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014


author's note:

I use "blind" in this poem as a symbol.

When an individual has problems with his eyesight, he is "visually impaired", as the doctor tells us.


When I lived as the blind girl
selling pencils on a street corner
I found my desire to sing

because I began to feel

how the leaves of our soul unfold
how the roots of our soul deepen

in response to this lowly confinement.

What good luck!--our malady, this life...

© 2014, Michael R. Patton

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Shadow Weight

a shameless self promotion:

This poem didn't arrive in time to be included in my latest collection of poems, Butterfly Soul (book cover above).

But maybe that's just as well. Because the poems in that collection speak of dealing with grief...

...and this poem, of not.


My brother walks upstairs
with steps so soft

yet we all hear him

though we never dare
to say his name

for fear he might come down--
we can't bear to feel him so near:

our grief burdens me
all through the sunny day
all through the moonlit night.

But with that shadow weight
comes the awareness
of how immense
all human life is.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
BUTTEFLY SOUL: poems of death/grief/joy

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Shadow Kingdom

author's note:

Some say we live in a world of shadows...

I say: let's explore.


Voices from unseen partiers
echo out of the dark distance--

the words unclear--distorted:

an alien sound

perhaps a little frightening.

I absorb the
as do the oak trees--

I feel the sounds
deep within
just as the trees listen
down in their roots.

What resides inside mystifies me
like a shadow kingdom

and so, I keep summoning
long after the voices have gone:

how beautifully strange we are.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton

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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A Million Irritants Can Not Kill My Love

author's note:

There are many ways to go to church.


The dust motes drifting in
those beams shooting down
through the branches and leaves
brought on sneeze after sneeze

even so, I walked within a cathedral.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton

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