Sunday, June 26, 2016

The White Palace

author's note:

Though I cut these three lines from the poem below, I think they bear repeating:

the water told her:
that palace belongs to you
so you don't need a prince


She ceased to be a handmaiden
when she stumbled and fell
while gathering wood
and awoke

to see the black forest blazing
with the white light of a palace

for an infinite moment

then woke again
into a darkness deepened
by the absence of that light--
awoke knowing
her long sojourn had begun:

the nebulous desire
that had frustrated her former life
now focused toward the golden goal
of finding the gate
to that magical palace of light

and with focus, that desire grew

but as a result
her frustration did too.

she survived her many fearful inner storms
because she knew enough stories to know
this path wouldn't lead to splendor
without hardships such as
briars, boils, boredom,
lightning bolts, boars, mosquitoes,
cold ghosts and unknown shadows.

she finally tripped
on the worst malady of all:


shouldn't I be there by now?
she wondered
haven’t I already earned the key?

but this time when she fell
she landed at the stream
and on its singing mirror
found, to her surprise
the white blaze
in her dark eyes.

The water told her:
that castle doesn't reside
in any candy kingdom
but stands firm
on your own solid earth--

it's not made of fairy dust
but of your stone and oak and darkness

with a white light
glowing from the open door and windows-- all light is.

At the stream, she realized
what she’d long known deep down:

how she creates
that functional structure
with every searching step she makes
in this black forest.

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

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Used-Car Politics

author’s note:

“Political reality has little to do with reality.”
        -- Mark Hertsgaard, The Eagle’s Shadow

I returned to this poem as a way to deal with the pain and frustration of another campaign season.


Why are we so easily deceived
by those who sell us ideas
in the manner of a used-car dealer?--

because as children, we want to believe!--

governed by our fanciful imagination
we buy into the unreal reality
of an impractical political practicality.

But before long
a wheel or two falls off
and we become disillusioned
with the illusion
and curse the clunker we bought.

I'm a child when I blame
(and I still blame much too often)
but I'm also a child
when I dance and sing

so though we must
become responsible adults
let us not abandon the child
in the process:

the child in us who hopes
--who believes--
we will create a better world
as we grow up.

we should calm that child down
whenever we see a TV ad
for another used-car dealership.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Survival: the book

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Meditating Upon a Centipede

author's note:

I dedicate this poem to all those of my generation who hoped the Carlos Castaneda books were true accounts.

So, in part, I dedicate this poem to myself.


Once in a forest, alone
I tried to force my eyes open

driven by an impatient desire
to see the hidden world I sense--

I peered
into the secret darkness of the trees--
I stared--I squinted--
trying to penetrate

until nearly blind with frustration

then, in exhaustion
I sank down
to rest on a stump
by a dry brook...

but in the quiet blank
of this convalescence
I lapsed into
a timeless, effortless

my empty eyes began to fill
with the beauty
of a simply complex centipede
navigating a battlefield
of gray-brown leaves
between my feet--

this focus, so selfless
pillowed mind and heart

until the magical creature
disappeared into the stump

then the desire to see
the hidden
rose once again:

a drive not satisfied
by such soft comfort

so I stood up
to continue the hunt...

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

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, June 05, 2016


author's note:

I am groping for the keys
of the heavenly harmonies.
           -- Whittier


Though I don't pray...

sometimes, I do
join right palm to left

as I lower my knees
onto solid ground

because this pause
and position
quiets thought somehow:
somehow helps me
rediscover a feeling
that needs no religion

to rediscover
that one and one
actually equal one

to rediscover
the silent wisdom
of whatever god
exists within

to realize again
a sense of humility
so easy to forget.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,