Thursday, August 25, 2016

For the Benefit of Blessed Fools



author's note:

Dedicated to the memory of Gisela Kirberg.  Someone who understood the value of a good fairy tale.


FOR THE BENEFIT OF BLESSED FOOLS

As a boy, I believed
a pot of gold greeted Noah
at the end of the rainbow
after his 40 days and 40 nights
of storm

so now, whenever I behold a rainbow
the child in me rises to sing
of how the door of that arch
will someday--finally--open for me
and I'll step over its threshold
into a golden new life.

A foolish hope, perhaps
but as an adult, I've learned
to listen to the child

while also
checking its wishes against
the demands of the soul-self.

and regarding this wish,
I'm pleased to report
the soul-self says "yes"

while also telling me
what I must risk and sacrifice
in order to achieve it.

Though I've learned to obey...

the reasonable adult in me
often feels doubt.

So, for reassurance
I tell myself the story
of the blessed fool who became a frog
as a way to survive all the rain and mud

then hardened
into gray lead
as a way to withstand
all the lightning.

But blinded by
the confusion of his storm
the fool was unaware
he'd transformed
until the day he finally
asked himself why
he felt so odd...

that question cleared the clouds
long enough
for him to see
he'd become a lead frog

he then realized
that the danger of remaining
as he was
was greater than the danger
of becoming something other

and so
from that point forward
he gladly embraced
the slow
tedious
painful process
of alchemy

and as a result
after 40 days and 40 nights
(in storybook time)
the husk of the dead lead frog
opened up
and a golden prince
leapt out.

I know some will say
a fairy tale is merely
comfortable refuge
for fools who still believe

but I say...
this story has remained
in constant circulation
because we've witnessed its truth
in the bios of so many
who've lived some version
of that journey--

many of whom likely told
some version of the tale
to themselves for reassurance
occasionally, along the way

until they'd finally
--finally--opened the door
and stepped over the threshold.

Afterwards
they kept on repeating it
but now for the benefit
of us other blessed frogs.



© 2016, Michael R. Patton
glorious tedious transformation: a poetry book

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

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home