Wednesday, August 27, 2014

After I Fell in the Forest

author's note:

A poem not unlike the last poem posted, though the two were written years apart.

Maybe I'm repeating myself...

...or maybe I'm describing a continuing process.


Before I fell in the forest...

I did not hear the trees

but after I fell...
as I lay on the earth
as the decayed leaves
worked to heal me
and the sunlight
through the new leaves
worked to lift me...

I began to detect
the watchful quiet
all around me:

vines, stones, ferns, moss
speaking as one silence--

a mystery so alien:

though I listen intently
I'm still not certain
what they're all saying

yet I can feel a strong response
stirring deep within me--

drawing me down
into my own dark question
into depths without end--

into a mystery so alien:

it doesn't seem to belong to me...

perhaps I belong to it.

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

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tenuous Peace

author's note:

I'm amazed at those who perform the high-wire acts.


I feel as if one slip
could destroy my peace

yet I try not to be
overly cautious
because if I'm too afraid
of losing balance
I'll trip myself up.

How can peace truly exist
amid such weakness
of mind?


as I listen
for any remnant of that peace...

I find a quiet
which, though tenuous
is definitely real:

a balance too delicate
for this imperfect man
to maintain its perfection
for more than a few steps.

But I’ve finally decided
not to consider the cost
of all those falls
when I measure my success--
consider instead: the amount
of honest effort spent...

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
glorious tedious transformation: the book

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Sound of Mystery

author's note:

“Exploring the silence gives poetic thought birth.”
            -- Pao Hsien, (trans. Hansen)


As the story goes...

when our ancestors sensed mystery
within a tree or river
or mountain
or creature
they felt compelled to talk to it

and so begin to drum.

Whatever sound echoed back
become the name
of that bounder, beast or shrub.

But after all the many things
had been named
one big mystery remained--

a mystery without any certain location:

a mystery everywhere...simultaneously

a mystery felt, but not seen.

This final mystery would not
answer our ancestors
no matter how they implored
so they set down their drums
and in the ensuing quiet
the silent mystery resounded
through a world ineffable...

the sensation so overwhelming
our ancestors soon returned
to their drumming for distraction

even so, ever so often
our ancestors felt the need
to listen...

until they again became overwhelmed.

Now I feel need to stop
because I sense something missing--
I’m trying to regress:
to rid myself of all these names
I've accumulated.

If I can, maybe I can
shut up long enough
to hear the roar
of that silent mystery

and again be flooded
by a feeling saturating
all the earth and sky
of this unknown land.

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

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spinning Top

author's note:

I remember playing with a spinning top as a child...You had to wind the string just right...then pull the end of the string just so... order to get a good smooth spin.

As with many things of childhood, it prepared me for this adult life.


As soon as I wake up
I can feel my spinning top
begin to wobble--

sometimes, I wonder if I should just...

let it fall, let it roll, let it go

but then what would my story be?--

as a boy I was told
the story of The Fall:
such a sad ending
for our beginning--

I decided I would right the wrong!

I'd stand so strong

but because we spin
even when standing still
my goal became
the great frustration.

Yet with each slip
(and there have been so very many)
I've grown ever more determined
to stay on my toes.

Even so, as one grows
one often grows tired...

sometimes I wish I could just

forget that damn top!

But if I blinded my awareness
I might also lose sight
of those rare splendid moments
of pure human grace.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton

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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Stealing the Moon

for the record:

The August Full Moon is known as the Sturgeon Moon.

The name comes to us from American Indian tribes who fished for the sturgeon at this time of year.


I strolled across
The Moon tonight--
down the street
so wide, the echo:

I felt as if I was stealing.

So maybe thieves rob banks
not just for the money--
they also want The Moon:

you burst open a gumball machine
for that feeling of release--
an elation of spirit--
dark freedom

but then comes emptiness

and without any sense of being cleared.

So, we continue to search
in a million different ways
for a spot of true moonlight.

I myself only luck into
the graces of The Moon

for instance:

while watching
a night spider pick its way
toward the center of a silver web
I may forget myself
and in the absence
become another me--
the one who can deeply imbibe
The Moon's soft light...

only to be startled back
as a frantic fluttering moth
disrupts the luminous spell.

Afterwards I'm surprised
--and a little frightened--
when I realize that I lost myself,
yet such moments of quiet clarity
intensify my desire for The Moon.

So despite the delicate difficulty
I keep trying to pick my way
into the center of that silken web...

© 2014, Michael R. Patton

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Sunday, August 03, 2014

I Can Hear Myself

author's note:

I return to a familiar theme...

Maybe I'm repeating myself...

I prefer to think of it as "developing a motif".


Please pardon my absence--

I'd like to squawk along
with all you other birds:

such noise can actually be medicinal

but for a stronger healing
I must walk alone to the mountain lake:

this alien lake, these alien trees
seem to know me--

they know I don't need pity:
what I need is their understanding...

their wise silence prompts me to listen

but only for so long:

reawakened by the blare
of this alive quiet
my engine begins to rev

so I know I must return
to the grating joyful cacophony
of forces in opposition

that, in truth, only echo
what bangs and clangs inside me.

So, no matter if I'm here
or there, I can hear myself

though still not as clearly as I wish...

© 2014, Michael R. Patton

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