Friday, April 22, 2016

World Tree

author’s note:

In observance of Earth Day, April 22...

...and let us not forget National Arbor Day, April 29.


I am told
we may not
have enough
and my own experience
seems to give this idea
   often, I can’t remove
   the big block
   in my thoughts
   and so often
   I can not find
   enough room
   in my heart
   and too often
   I can't quite
   locate my feet.

So in search of an answer
I spoke to a tall tree today--
a solid but free, bold sashaying tree
of green-gold candle flames:

I wanted to know how
it rose so strong, so sure
on such sparse water
in bleached rocky soil
amid dismal sunlight.

It replied:
I draw from a primeval lineage.
It replied:
I draw from an eternal sky

so all through the choking dust
of dry Summer
and all through the numbing sleet
of dead Winter
my roots, my trunk maintain
enough vertical spirit
for me to be
what's required
of a world tree.

Now, having seen
the truth of the tree
I say:

if we're of the same Earth spirit
yet can't find enough resources
then we have failed as a species
and will perish or else
revert to a cave life.

But whether we stay or go
the tree will continue to flower.
The tree will not
look back on us in pity
the tree will look forward,
arms open to the next arrival.

The tree is not heartless,

it won't exaggerate our importance.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
survival: the book

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Sunday, April 17, 2016


author's note:

I believe we're all scientists. From the beginning, we're all experimenting.


Science tells us
nothing is ever completely at rest--

even when my body becomes a carcass
its trillions of vibrant electrons will still spin

but what about what animated that carcass?--
will the "me" that made this poem continue?

To answer that question
I'm free to go beyond science
and believe whatever I please

yet I base my belief, in part
on acute meditative observation:

even as my limbs
slowly lose momentum
something within gains strength--

an inner spinning force
keeps on rising--refining its pitch.

No--I can't accept waste:
after death
the am that I am
will still be spinning--
in some form
I'll be spinning.

Some will surely say
I hold to this belief
in a futile attempt
to alleviate my fear

but even if that's true
this concept can still lift me
to a place of starry wonder:

we are perpetual motion
--spinning tops--
that continue to rise
after this human life stops.

Though stars collapse
and planets disintegrate
this Universe and its beings
will keep on spinning...

constantly building, I believe
into something greater
than what we have been...

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

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Saturday, April 02, 2016

What I Tell Myself about Happiness

author's note:

Happiness is...

...not worrying about happiness.


I tell myself:

don't squander your time
seeking the type of happiness
that comes and goes
depending on the season--

it can slip the tightest grip.

If that happiness happens
well okay
just don't try to clench it
in your fist.

Fortunately for us humans
there's another type
that depends on nothing:

its deep roots hold fast
even in loss and grief

even at midnight
that happiness will beam.

The ones who've discovered
its light down within
can transform words
into golden lamps
to help guide others
exploring the dark depths.

In contrast
those trying to hold
the slippery type of happiness
often boast and babble until
people see they're quite dim.

For too long, I believed
I'd find happiness waiting for me
just around the corner

but after turning
so many corners
I no longer seek--
I explore instead:
I explore outward
but also within

and allow myself to open to
whatever I discover.

In the process
through some unexpected alchemy
I brighten, slowly brighten.

So though I'm still
kind of dim
I believe I can in time
beam the deeper type
of happiness...

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
survival: the book

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