Friday, April 28, 2017

Universal Sigh

author's note:

Just for the record: I love our scientists.


Science still can't tell us
why we need to sigh

but we already know
when you lack adequate language
you breathe a deep sigh
and in that way
give pure voice
to the soul
and thus
relieve the heart.

My own four chambers
might have burst
long ago
if not for all those
large and small exhalations.

if I hadn't sighed at the sight
of that stark violet mountain
my heart might have clunked
and quit--

might have stopped
had I not
sighed while watching
that snail crawl over
the pebble stones...

might have collapsed
awhile back
if not for those quiet occasions
when I find myself sighing
for a reason unknown:

at such times
if I listen down deep
I can feel
that strange sadness
and with it
the obscure wish.


sighs not only service
human hearts
but also those of animals--

I've heard a dog sigh
as well as a kitten.

Is it just
a mechanical response?--
or can a cat experience life
to the depths of a soul?

Maybe so
because one night
during a catastrophic dinner
I became a fraidy cat--
and chose flight over fight
but afterwards, in my sigh of relief
I heard the soul of my heart.

But whatever the reality may be
I believe it's best if we believe
canines and felines
occasionally, soulfully sigh--

along with everything else
in this world:
a pigeon, a sturgeon--
even a tree--even
a stone---
they all hold the deep heavy wisdom
expressed by the sigh:

this whole damn planet sighs
this whole damn Universe--!

when I dive down
into the bottomless well
of my sigh
I can hear
that Universal sigh--
I can hear that sigh in mine

and then
despite the great distances
I feel and know
we are one in the sorrow...

we are one in the secret joy.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Brief Wings

author's note:

As they say in the movies: "based on a true story".


For a moment this morning
I again felt those wings:

suddenly--without warning
that stiff pain struck me
right between the shoulder blades--

the tension pinned me straight up.

But wings are quite personal
so I pretended nonchalance
and eased on down the street

even as I sensed
those wing sprouts opening
ever so slightly--
just a bit more than before--

this time
maybe all the way
to the first pinion joint.

Though eager as ever
I dared not push
for a greater unfurling:

such impatience
actually seems to make
the wings retract.

But despite my caution
the sprouts soon shrank back--
as they have
so many times before.

Yes, they'll come again
but I never know when--
could be tomorrow
or many months from now.

My deepest meditation
can't open them
nor do they respond
to my most reverent prayer
or my greatest good act

so I try to distract myself
with honest daily chores.

But of course
my mind sometimes drifts
to my fervent wish:

to one day soar.

I wouldn't fly all the time
nor merely for pleasure
but only when
I deemed the moment

when my high flight might benefit us all.

Don't snicker--
this goal must indeed be possible
because one night I flew
anywhere I wanted at will.

I often use that dream
to lift myself
when I despair
my wings will never spread.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

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Monday, April 10, 2017

That Blessed Demon Season

author’s note:

I'm seasoned.


In the dream
I could not breathe
for an entire season

and as I struggled underwater
to find a few molecules
of air
I cursed
whatever demon
held me down there...

but when the season finally ended
I found only my own self
bobbing at the top of the tank.

I then realized
I'd pushed myself down so deep
in a mission to test
my capacity--

a drastic measure
that had the effect
of drastically increasing
that capacity--

I could feel my sails fill
with blossoms of air.

when I awoke
I only felt
a burning in my lungs:

pain from the scar tissue
I'd tried so hard to ignore

because I did not wish to revisit
that cursed demon season

did not, until
that bright dream
showed me my strength

then I knew
I was strong enough to heal
the blessed wound
I'd given to myself
and in healing
finally fill my sails
with blossoms of air.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

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Saturday, April 01, 2017

Plant Life

author's note:

I say, we all grow.

However, I will admit: in certain cases, it's really really hard to see.


When I was a plant
in a land of drought
I asked the sky for rain

though I doubted
the atmosphere listened
to such requests
what'd be the harm
in trying?

But when the rain
still didn't fall
I could not maintain
my nonchalance:

in anger, I cursed
that stupid blue blank

and soon discovered
cursing only worsened
the burning

whereas to surrender
in abject defeat
brought me
the cool relief of humility...

but then
as strictures of death
crept into my limbs
the drought began to seem
so unjust.

my ire, and with it, my fire
rose from the cold ashes.

That flame was my life
yet it would devour me
unless I could make peace
with my predicament

and if I was to die
before rain came
I did not want
any extra suffering.


my best logic failed
to calm me

so finally
in desperation
I tried to channel my fire
into a joyous act

of Celebration!

Lacking any formal ritual
I clapped and flapped
in a silly dance--

I celebrated this plant life--
celebrated its crazy ambiguities

celebrated the roots
that sustained me
while holding me captive.

celebrated the leaves
that fed me
yet also gave me this pain.

I celebrated, I celebrated--
not just going through the motions
but truly rejoicing
because now I knew
how much I loved this life--
enough to endure its worst.

And from my celebration
came an ecstasy
of laughter and tears--
I felt myself ascend--

rising, rising
until I finally reached
a lofty rain cloud:

quite proud
I beamed at my accomplishment

but then
from this new perspective
I beheld the obvious:
how a multitude of plants
rose up
from that moon-bone desert--

many of them much higher than I

but whatever their size
they all danced in celebration
of our painful
plant life.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton Survival: a poetry book

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