Wednesday, May 25, 2016

On the Continent of Love Lost

author's note:

With regret, I cut this stanza from the poem below, for the sake of continuity:

and because someone
usually wants to punch us
after we've written "loss is gain"
we know our words
must be accurate arrows.


She said
her heart had exiled her writing
to the land of love lost.

But I told her
that land need not be the island--
it can be the continent:

on the island
when we write of love lost
we write of the garden lost
we write of childhood lost

and we also write of that
on the continent
but we add:
we must lose the garden
in order to evolve.

On both the island
and the continent, we write
of the confusion of love lost

but on the continent
we write of the drive
to find our way back home.

On the island, we write
of returning
and not knowing
the one we once loved.

But on the continent
we write of returning
and again knowing the one within.

On the island
we write of open wounds
that refuse to mend

but on the continent
we write of how
those open wounds
can lead us down
to the deep wounds:

we write of mending
of mending all the way down--

we write of gaining from loss.

On the island
we're afraid of losing--
of losing again

and we're also afraid
on the continent--
despite all our gains:

we're afraid of a love
we can not escape
a love we can not release
a love we can not hold--

we're afraid
yet willfully go ahead
because we know we must.

All this I told her
but then admitted:
I don't always inhabit
the continent

but when I do, I'm able to honor
the past and the present
with memorials and celebration:

because on the continent
we refuse to ignore our grief

and celebration
because on the continent
even shadows have light.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
finding Beauty: the book

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Forward Back

author's note:

A companion poem to the last one posted.


One morning on
a two-lane highway
my car suddenly spun
over black ice

and when the back-end
had whipped to a stop
I faced the place
I’d just abandoned.

In that abrupt moment of stillness
I finally felt the echoing shout
of a deeper knowing--the alarm
I'd tried so hard to ignore.

What I did then is what
I knew I had to do--
yes, I returned.

Though I've learned to listen
to intuition
when the message
goes against my wishes
I may still allow my stubborn will
to drive--to drive me

until I go into a spin, another spin

then I'm willing to listen again

to something greater within--something
that will spin me until I change direction--

until I do what must be done

as for why I must do what I must
I usually can't see

maybe even afterwards.
Maybe even long afterwards.

As for this return
I can only say for certain...

while in the box
I willfully seized
the opportunity
to lower down deeper
into my depths.

I believe I've received
high compensation
for this work in the mine

and yet...and yet
at times
doubt haunts my head:

did I return, in truth, because
I was afraid to go on...?

but no
though afraid
I was more afraid
of what my intuition said.

To listen to intuition
is listen to the heart

and if I obey
what my heart tells me
I'll always act with courage

when spinning in the dark.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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Sunday, May 08, 2016


author's note:

If asked to label the age we live in...

...I'd reply: it's the Age of the Jump.


What do you do
when an inner voice tells you
to jump

luckily, I knew enough to know
not to leap from the window:

the message was a metaphor.

I understood
yet rejected the instruction
even after all the repeats.

You see
I've made many such metaphorical jumps
and at times landed hard

but even when softly on both feet
usually not in bright triumph

unlike what the authors
of all those shiny books
seem to promise.

So I argued with the message

until I'd found enough courage
to do what I knew I had to do--

what my heart felt to be true

and since I wasn’t pushed
I won't complain if the landing
looks like another damn accident...
no, I'll trust the result--I will still believe

that where I am
is where I need to be:

I find strength in that belief--
enough strength
to lift myself back to my feet.

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

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Monday, May 02, 2016

When I Look Into My Eyes

author's note:

I can't find the word "re-awareness" in my dictionary...

But it should be included.  Because, in my experience, that's the nature of awareness: gained, then lost.  But never completely lost.


Sometimes when I start to feel
uncertain about this creation
called human life
I'll look into my eyes

hoping to return to a bright center
of spirit and purpose
and thus, reassure an animal
that frets over its fragility.

But initially
the clouds of my anxiety
will block this anxious attempt
to peer into the depths

and so I’ll only see a reflection
of the same unsettling thoughts
that brought me to the mirror.

I'll see
how my warm twinkle blinks
on and off, on and off:
a distress signal of fear--
fear I usually try to ignore,
afraid I could not function
if constantly aware

and with this re-awareness
--this self-confession--
I'll become even more
willing to persist--
to be courageously patient
until I pierce through
to some deeper truths

though I can't help but dread the descent

not just because
I know I'll see my worst
but also because
I know I'll see my best:

that which is buried yet never at rest.

Maybe we created gods
of light and darkness
because we could not tolerate
the incredible in ourselves

but none of our conceptions
ever illuminated me as much
as the ageless one I can find
deep deep down in my eyes

below the darkness and light
below the worst and the best.

Maybe you’ll call me Narcissus
and maybe you're right

but from such mirror gazing
I become aware again of a knowing
we too often ignore:

a human being is always much more
than the complexity we can clearly see
with but a single glance
at his cloudy anxious eyes.

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

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