Wednesday, December 30, 2015


author’s note:

Best wishes for 2016.


Lao Tzu said
the Ancient Sages
were as evanescent
as icicles


according to my dictionary
that which is “evanescent” is like a vapor--
here and gone in just a short time:

for example...
in the cold night
my evanescent breath
twirls upwards in a wisp
to vanish like a ghost
--like a dream lost--

like the vapor from an icicle--

an icicle slowly dwindling in the Sun drop

a blessed sacrifice: a gift--
though the Sages have faded into the darkness
their water still lives in our well.

But are we not all icicles
large or small?--

as this life of mine melts
maybe I can make peace with the loss
by telling myself
what I believe to be
a good belief:

long after I'm gone
what I have given (whatever that is)
will still be a part of whatever we are...

I am as you are:
evanescent...yet continuous.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Song for the Tree Huggers

author's note:

Here's a term I often hear used derisively: tree hugger.

Well, if you're losing your balance and about to fall off a cliff, I think you might be relieved to find the arms of a tree.


The tree tells me:

if suddenly
your love rises so high
that you feel you must
either release the flow
or die

then please encircle me
with your desperate arms
and I will accept your offering--

I will accept your burden
I will accept your suffering:

In breaking yourself open
you will heal.

But maybe you can't feel
your love--
maybe you hurt so much
you can't bear to touch
any thing at all--

not even a devoted tree.

If so, I trust
your greater desire
will eventually
push you past your fear
and you'll straggle here
to embrace me

and in that surrender rediscover
your overwhelming love...

and once done, return
to help others find
their way back
to this tree.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
cartoons of Christmas past

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Friday, December 18, 2015

The Dilemma of the Man in the Egg

author’s note:

Since my house
burned down, I now own
a better view
of the rising moon.
       -– Masahide (trans. Beilenson/Behn)


In the story of the man
confined within an egg
we confront this dilemma:

though the shell now feels
a little too tight, and though
his nourishment has gone stale
our man still prefers this familiar shelter
over the unknown outside.

even such paltry circumstance
can not stop him from growing

and so the shell will likely burst
before our man blindly
extinguishes his life.

Not the most heroic story, I realize

and yet
the man's inevitable transformation
gives me hope:

hope for our world

and hope for myself.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
common courage: the book

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Friday, December 11, 2015

The Greater Drive

author's note:

When in doubt, I'll use the words "maybe" and "perhaps"...

I do not use either word in this poem.


While adults are often
so inflexible...

children can twist themselves
into incredible pretzels

but the adult is rigid
for the same reason
the child is elastic--

they're both just trying to survive.

Yet in protecting its life
the child may nearly kill itself

then later
if the child as an adult
tries to free its mind and body
the process will feel like
many tedious heartrending

to untwist
I must go against
tactics that seem to be
an essential part
of my very being.

Sometimes I like to imagine
I could simply say
"no, it's just not worth the effort"

but I know if I did try to retreat
without winning release
I would then have to fight
a drive of even greater strength...

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
glorious tedious transformation: the book

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Thursday, December 03, 2015

My Greater Desire

author’s note:

The destruction that brings
an eagle from heaven is better
than mercy.
         -- Robinson Jeffers


As I stand at the edge of the tunnel...

the dog begins to growl
!--sensing the danger--!

Yes, I've often relied
on the dog for my survival
but now I know I must accept
my greater desire:

to pass through the darkness

according to the wise ones
on the other side I can find
that place known to me
only on rare occasions
in the strange depths
of my heart--

a garden we must earn:

once I've arrived
a golden beam will angle down
through the shadows of trees
to ignite

a dark blue pool--an oasis

that's waited so long
to reveal its fiery light.

The dog is wise in its way
but can not understand
such a brilliant need.

So, I refuse its guidance
and enter the tunnel naked:

my walk both bold and humble

as the faithful dog
(fearing for my safety)
follows in the righteous mud...

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the book

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