Sunday, November 30, 2014

I Use the Flower



author's note:

Maybe we really didn't understand "flower power" in the 60s.


I USE THE FLOWER

I use the flower
when I wish to express
the struggle of pushing upward
and out--

I write of the brave green shoot
I write of the uncertain unfurling:

the slow anxious process
leading to the vulnerability
needed for our flourishing:

the sacrificial relinquishing

--a delicate balance
   between living and dying.

I write:
"the flower opens its dark heart
  to the day's fiery light"
because the blooming sings
so boldly of the pain
I can't yet confess.

I use the flower
to inspire me
to go beyond my anxiety

as I push myself
gradually...gradually
upwards--

opening to the sky

a sky that pulls me...

promising the grand release
of a second Spring...


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

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Confronting My Reflection



author's note:

“Look and look again.
  This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.”
          -- Mary Oliver


CONFRONTING MY REFLECTION

When by chance I saw my reflection...

the shock of the sudden sight
caused me to wonder

if I might be beautiful:

after all, beauty often shocks us.

So I examined myself more closely

and thus, began to notice warts--

more and more rosy-red warts.

This second shock repelled me
yet drew me in:

like beauty, the grotesque
seems so vibrant with life

and under a microscope
a blotch once seen as ugly
will appear quite lovely.

As a result,
when I again stepped back
my perception had altered:
I couldn't separate the beautiful
from the grotesque--

I felt both confused
and enlightened:
I saw myself more fully
but could barely bear to look
at a blend so overwhelming.

Now, when I tell you
you're beautiful
you may question
what I see in you...

I lack words to express
but please realize:
having drawn me in
your beauty has shocked
the superficiality out of me
again and again.


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

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Lesson from The Moon



author's note:

The Harvest Moon is the Full Moon that occurs closest to the Fall Equinox in September...

It was given that name because farmers were able to harvest late into the night on that date, thanks to the bright moonlight.

I wish you many prosperous Harvest Moons.


A LESSON FROM THE MOON

Though I'd turned my eyes down
I could not avoid the truth:

from a black pool
The Moon spoke,
quite clearly:

one moment
you'll find me shining
as a full white goblet

then in the next
you will only see
a pale crescent puddle
at the bottom of my glass

but at such times
I am really no less...


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

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sophie Sophie Sophie



author's note:

Many have speculated on the existence of a goddess religion in ancient times...

I now have my doubts.  Even so, I know the goddess is real.


SOPHIE SOPHIE SOPHIE

I lost Sophie so long ago
I can't remember when--

now she seems so foreign

though I see her everywhere:

in the glowing pearl earring
found suddenly in a dark theater

in an elegant hand print on
a frosted window
highlighted by The Moon

in a burning sunrise cloud

in the reflection of that cloud
on the gently burning sea...

so much of life says "Sophie" to me--

including the way
the peasant woman kneels
at the creek as she scrubs
yesterday’s clothes
--her long black hair
  flowing down to the ripples--

I stand there, smiling whitely
with my hands behind my back
acting casual as I remark
on today’s weather

while to myself I chant
this sacred thought:
“Sophie Sophie Sophie”.

But as she lifts her inquiring eyes
I'm startled awake
and ask myself,
 “What--
   what could she possibly see in me?”


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

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Those Blessed Incognitos



author's note:

Earth's population, at present, is around 7.274 billion (and growing by the second).  For reasons of sound and rhythm, I rounded the number down to 7.


THOSE BLESSED INCOGNITOS

I want to see
all our secret priestesses
and priests.

Camouflaged
in blue work clothes
they toil deep in the mines
they dig new wells--

they erect scaffolding and build
structures, both seen and unseen.

In the night as we slumber
their hearts swell and overflow
the river bank to soothe
the seven billion battlefields
of our human world.

All these birthing labors
eventually exhaust them--
ever so often, they must
drag themselves out
to the motherly forest:

there,
to surrender themselves
to the fertile black earth--
to decay and resurrect
in three days or less

and maybe they hesitate
before returning

but they return, nonetheless

because as priests and priestesses
they understand nothing is lost:
they realize even when they lose
it's just another step
in the ascent.


© 2014, Michael R. Patton
common courage: the book

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Contemplating the Face of Nefertiti



author's note:

This poem refers to the famous sculpture of Nefertiti now located in the Neues Museum of Berlin.  However, it came to me through a picture book.

Nonetheless, my response is authentic.


CONTEMPLATING THE FACE OF NEFERTITI

Her world is lost to me

and yet not:

actually
I'm just as ancient as she is

and can sense
something of that depth
as I peer into her deep presence:

in her silence I find my silence.

Her beauty leads me down--
below my trashcan junkyard
to a palatial dark elegance.

I'm an enigma to myself

and you're an enigma to me

but I can easily forget our mystery

and so she must remind me
again and again and again
with those opaque eyes--

eyes that seem to refuse us
their secrets

while boldly proclaiming
a truth beyond speech.


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

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Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Deeper Truth

snake marriage - November 9, 2014s

author's note:

Why should we reject science?  We all perform experiments every day.  We're all scientists.


THE DEEPER TRUTH

Science has demonstrated...

two hearts will beat in synch
if two people--any two
stay together in the same small room
for twenty-four hours

--yes, their hearts will be in harmony--

a finding which seems to go against
what we've long accepted as hard truth:

close proximity creates friction, tension.

So how can we reconcile these two facts?

Well, based on
my own painful experience
I can honestly say:

in this small space
I'm quite able to remain
at odds with you
as long as I listen
to what I tell myself
in my head

while ignoring

what I hear in my heart.


© 2014, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Floating World



author’s note:

The above graphic shows the Japanese characters for "gate".


FLOATING WORLD

In the foreground
of the Japanese landscape print...

a dragon in lead armor plates
waits coiled beside the hilltop gate

as trees sacrifice their leaves
to the river water below the hill

and in the background...

a small peasant carrying
a bundle of rice on his back
trudges through the slanting rain
on the road that follows the river--

the river disappearing
into distant mountains tufted with pine--
their peaks shrouded in cloud.

I am living in a world of grain:

a world to be ingested, digested, read
--an outside world experienced within.

A world to which I'm held
by the rice bundle I hold.

A world of lead

yet also a world of artifice:

after the long blurred season
of rain has ended
this world loses form

as its melted colors mingle
  in flooded lanes and fields
as its structures and landmarks squiggle
  in water reflections...

I lose shape too--I lose boundary
as I open myself to all this fluid beauty--
to a world quickly evaporating:

lifted to the white heavens--

soon invisible...yet just as real.

What am I then?--

have I finally braved the dragon?

Have I passed through the gate?


© 2014, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

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