Thursday, November 17, 2016

The North Pole

author’s note:

As I’ve said before: if I thought my poems were only about me...

...I wouldn’t even bother.



Believing I'd received
a whispered summons
from an angel unseen
I began to walk...

guided all along the long way
by the haloed notes of that piper--

certain I would find
a land of sweet diamonds
at the end of my sojourn

but instead I arrived
in a dark land of cut-glass ice--
the tippy-top of the world
the North Pole:
nowhere else left to go

so I sat myself down
on a big cold cube

and cursed that angel

until finally
I wearied of my anger
and in the frozen quiet
of that emptiness
I began to hear
a rising soprano choir:

the wordless chant
of a thousand maidens
holding holy candles
in a prison deep beneath
our luminous-white icecap.

Before I could protect myself
the flame of their sound
had found, had penetrated my hidden hurt
--a yearning long ignored--

and I began to burn and writhe
and beg for release
from a feeling unbearable

until a monolithic bell
answered the plea of my pain--
its layers of soothing baritone
radiating down
from the apogee
of that black sky dome--

wise reverberations deeply-felt:
cool but not cold.

A greater moment
in which two worlds joined within me...

that sensation gone now
yet never quite lost--
the prison door unlocked
and though muted
the bell still sounding:

a union I’d fooled myself into finding
by lusting after mere confections:
costume jewelry.


In that greater moment
I thanked the angel
with a thousand apologies
it would not extend my reprieve
and soon insisted I return
to that dry but fertile earth

with its green succulents
blighted with brown splotches.

My first impulse was to resist
however, I’d come to realize
that devious spirit
really does know best

and haven't we given ourselves
the same message
in countless stories and dreams?:

when you've gone as far
as you can go
by sitting still
at the top of the world
you must follow
your steps back down

in those new two-tone shoes:
tough enough to protect your feet
yet light enough
for your soles to feel
that sweet diamond trail.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton

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