Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ghost Bird

author's note:

In memory of Rita Patton, 1932-2015.


Long ago, a young girl
found a bird chick
opening its beak
to the sky in a silent plea

but though she tried so hard
the cup of her loving hands
could not save the bird

and yet
from that teary frustration
she was blessed

as she became aware
of an opening stretching down
toward the center of her chest:

whenever she saw anyone
crying that same silent plea
she could feel the pain
as the opening tore
just a little bit more...

just that much more


until finally, by instinct
she began to look away
from such everyday sights--

she ignored the silent pleas
she ignored the ghost bird
she ignored the pain.

But she did not live free
because spirits shadow us
even when we forget
and ever so often
they shock us--

just as the ghost bird surprised her
one bright morning

when she looked up
to find in the mirror
an echo of its silent plea
in her own desperate face--

a face she realized
she had secretly seen
in the many faces
she'd tried to ignore

and once again
she could feel the opening
tearing down into
the center of her chest

but deeper now, much deeper:

she then realized
she'd secretly witnessed
that same opening
in all those hearts
she had tried to ignore--

she realized
that even when hearts
live in the dark
they continue to stretch--
to open

just as her own heart
had silently deepened down
through years and years
of false darkness.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
Listening to Silence: the book

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

To Escape a Heartless Death

author’s note:

If I thought my poems only related to my own life, I wouldn't even bother.


To escape
the hurt of this world
I go to see you

but then I hurt again:

sometimes, even a single word
--said in innocence--
can raise a cry from a wound

and as the old pain surges up
we defend ourselves by attacking
the one standing next to us.

But still, I go to you
because you know my wounds
and so, can help soothe the pain.

When I see your wounds
I feel your wounds
and when I feel your wounds
I feel my own, once again:

to ignore my wounds
would be death

and to ignore yours
would be heartless:

I go to see you
to escape a heartless death.

Such a dusty history!--
and yet, when I come to you
the world becomes new
because the world outside

then reappears
but in its greater glory
when I must leave.

I come to see you
because the deeper truth
can only be told
without words.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: the book

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wild Child Home

author’s note:

Dedicated to all those hard-working souls brave enough to raise children...braver than I.


If you're looking for
a meaningful adventure...

we still have many
wide-eyed children
from the far-flung mountains
of Tierra del Fuego available
for adoption.

Yeah, they're a bit feral:
   they'll climb the curtains,
   forage behind walls
   and 'round midnight, you may find them
   up the backyard tree--
     their eyes gleaming
     in your flashlight beam!

But I assure you
they can be housebroken
without losing their cuddly charms
or awkward grace.

As good Americans
they can be taught to follow
our blind leaders--
they can be trained
to look the other way
as their corporations
steal from little old ladies:

yes, we can convince them
to ignore their best interests.

But no matter what we do
many will still want to plant
good crazy seeds:
they'll take on honorable roles--
such as teacher,
midnight scribe
or master shipbuilder.

Some will actually believe
in the necessity of peace:
they'll jump from their aeroplanes
to embrace innocents
we’ve disguised as enemies.

Some will nourish on garbage
then rise from the pits
to transfuse holy blood
back into dormant hearts.

Maybe a few wise ones
will find perfection in the dust
then show us the vision
we so desperately seek.

give those Fuegian children
a loop or two
of our long twisted rope
---hoist them up!---

otherwise they may end
by slinging their pearls
into the dark dismal field
of wounded hope.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
finding beauty: the book

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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Other

author's note:

I've read that 1 to 4% of the DNA in European populations comes from Neanderthal.

Yes, but that doesn't mean we didn't kill them.


Maybe we killed Neanderthal
because he and she appeared to be
“The Other”

and then
lacking any other “Other”
we began to see The Other
in our own kind:

yes, upon consideration
those folk over there
do seem a little peculiar

perhaps because
they look at us
as if we're the strange ones.

In response to this tendency
the sad artist built fences
made of two-sided mirrors
along many of our many boundaries

but to her death, she refused
to explain the loving message:

instead, she told the press
“the one thing I’m compelled to express
  will mean little to you

you see it for yourself.”

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
Peace World: the book

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