Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Finding My Size



author's note:

Again, a poem with uncertainty, an ocean, and release (see last post)...

Am I repeating myself?  I prefer to think: I'm exploring motifs.


FINDING MY SIZE

I woke to find
the waves of the night sea
had carried me
far away from shore--

my legs dangled
in a depth unknown
while cold waters rocked my body
as if I was a discard--

not so different
from how I usually felt
but I could usually ignore
how I usually felt.

Desperate
I searched for a landmark
I could aim myself towards

but black sky
had merged with black sea--
did I see low-lying stars before me?--
or were those the streetlights
along our shoreline drive?--
perhaps
I only saw the lamps
of my hopeful imagination.

I felt helpless as a dot--
a grain of sand about to sink.

I'd heard we all held
an incredible personal power

but as the current mocked
my assertion of free will
that idea seemed a lie
designed to protect
a fragile sense of self.

I then recalled the other story:
how at our lowest moments--
when we feel damn near empty--
the light will descend
through that opening
to rescue us.

Though I still can't vouch for its truth
I guess belief saved me
because

when the clouds suddenly broke
and that big round Moon beamed
its spotlight down on me
in an instant, I felt safe--delivered--
I could surrender my doubt--
I could lay myself back and breathe--
free in my security.

The spirit of life filled me--
I felt myself swell

but as has happened in the past
I forgot to stop the inflation:

having shrunk down
to nothing
the pipsqueak in me
wanted to expand
to the size of that moon.

But in trying to be bigger
than I am
I lost the blessed moment
and like a beach ball
I then bounced back
to land upon the sandy shore--

back to my usual reality
and so
able to ignore again
how small I am
as well as how large.

Hopefully
next time I shrink down
I can remember
what I usually forget:

how I can be more
by becoming less
but can only maintain
that gain
by keeping my head
in check.



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

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Sunday, June 04, 2017

Confessions of a Space Man



author's note:

"We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth."
         -- R. Buckminster Fuller


CONFESSIONS OF A SPACE MAN

I sat down on a flat stone--
hoping to find some sense
of stability

but as I gazed across the desert
I slowly began to feel
what I'd been told:
though the earth beneath our feet
seems solid enough
we're actually walking on a thin crust--

a skin constantly shifting
as if something mysterious
seethes underneath--
something that might
at any moment
erupt!

How could I ever feel secure
on a planet continually in flux?

I then decided to look skyward
into the timeless void--
hoping if I lost myself
I might also lose my anxiety...

but when I saw
the myriad stars
cartwheeling
through darkness without end
I felt what I'd been told:
how this planet, this spaceship
holds us captive on a wild spin
through a Universe unknown--

we're not held fast
by Atlas
or any other god.

Finally, in desperation
I went within--
hoping to find an anchor stone
of deep wisdom

but no--
without outside distraction
I discovered how nervous
I actually was:
rocked and racked by an inner ocean--
my rickety boat swooning--swelling
with tension--ready to explode

but then
through the fierce storm
I heard the voice
of that buried stone:
let go it said--let go

and though I could not believe
I saw no other choice, no other hope.

So I opened my toes
my fingers
my arms
my stomach
my groin...

and to my surprise
when I opened my eyes
I found myself
surfing over earthen clouds--
I now rode the stone
through the storm
balanced I was (or nearly so).

These days, I still feel
a little queasy--but
if I can remember to remind myself
to just let go
(without surrendering completely)
I usually manage to hold steady.

Maybe someday
--when I locate that lost grain
  of confidence--
I will truly soar...

If I’ve bored you
with this story before
realize this:
you’ve again helped
a fellow human being
because

by allowing me
to confess my uncertainty
I am released--
maybe only a little, but still:
thus comforted, I balance better.

But perhaps I’ve helped you too--

if you often feel weak
in the solar plexus
at least now you know:
you are not alone.



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

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