Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Bat



author's note:

This poem, written on Christmas Eve 2007, has become my Christmas tradition...

But traditions change over time.  This year, I've added a subtitle.


CHRISTMAS BAT
(or: The Birth Pains of Winter)

In this season, when we recognize
the birth of bright new life
in the darkest dark...

I wanted to give you all
an appropriate poem
of sweet Christmas light

but my heart stubbornly refused
to sing of our ideal Yuletide--

instead, this bat poem
demanded to be born:

   Cold cave and dung--
   there I hung
   wet with stalactite drops

   until a vampire bat perceived
   how tedious torturous time
   had finally ripened me--

   its bite woke me up--
   those painful fangs burst me free!--

   so that I might soar
   and sow my seed.

Some poems won't let you go
until you open their cage
so after I wrote that batty rhyme
I felt quite relieved

until the child within me said,
“Okay--
  now you can warm me
  with a real Christmas story!”

I tried (but in vain)
to placate
that hungry innocent
with this insight:
  doesn't that flighty verse
  actually speak of Christmas?--

  of new life born
  from the darkest night?


© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

While Working in the Sock Department of a Major Chain Store



author's note:

In memory of Beatriz Prentice--who often said: "it's an outer manifestation of an inner reality".


WHILE WORKING IN THE SOCK DEPARTMENT OF A MAJOR CHAIN STORE

Recently, I’ve noticed
people preferring plaid socks
over ones with stripes

I view this trend
not as a mere fad
but as a message
from the human psyche:

I believe
that plaid speaks
of work we're doing within--

nothing less
than the process
of combining
our left and right
our up and down
so we can become
what we truly are:

individuals of four unified sides.

I believe
as the plaid person
finds her true design
she will rise
and thus realize
our grand plaid pattern--
she'll see where she fits
in the world network
of four-sided folk.

Maybe you scoff
at these beliefs
but consider how
this perspective benefits me:

now, whenever I see
someone choosing
a plaid pair of socks
my hope lifts

and this small life
gains height
as I become
even more determined
to get my four sides
together.



© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Listening to Silence: a poetry book

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Monday, December 05, 2016

To All You Other Noahs



author’s note:

It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
             -- Bob Dylan


TO ALL YOU OTHER NOAHS

I am building an ark

my work guided
by a voice transcendent

asking me to believe
what I can't yet see

but I blindly obey because
as carpenters, we learn
disasters can happen when
we refuse to listen...

yeah
doubt often lowers me down

but I lift myself
with this perspective:

maybe I am
making a grand mistake...

but if so
it's wonderfully grand.



© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Survival: a poetry book

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