Thursday, August 31, 2017

Any Wise Snail Will Tell You



author's note:

The haiku above was translated by R. H. Blyth.  It can be found (I think) in The Classic Tradition of Haiku (Dover Thrift Editions).


ANY WISE SNAIL WILL TELL YOU

I'm anxious to get past
the many blocks in my path
'cause I'm told:
on the other side of all that
bric-a-brac
I'll find a place of peace.

In the past
(feeling desperate and doubtful)
I tried to blast
through my blocks
in the manner of a resolute ram.

But
after butting my head
again and again and again
I finally accepted
this unmovable truth:

I must go slow
when working my way through
the unavoidable obstacle.

As any wise snail will tell you:
true progress occurs at a crawl.

But even at this pace
I must occasionally pause
for a breath...

At such times
if my stop becomes still enough
I may again sense
the mysterious music hidden within
all the cacophonous curiosities
of our path

then
if I can deepen my listening
I'll find that same harmony
within me
and for a moment know
the reality of the peace I seek.

After that moment passes
I'll remember why--
why I must continue
this wonderful crawl.



© 2017, Michael R. Patton
glorious tedious transformation: a poetry book

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Center of the World



author's note:

At the age of nine, Black Elk experienced a vision in which he stood at the center of the world--Harney Peak, South Dakota.

But in the same moment, he understood that every place on Earth is also the center.


THE CENTER OF THE WORLD

When I was small
I often felt quite small
so I'd climb a nearby hill

and at the top
I'd survey all before me
and imagine myself to be
The Center of the World--

vowing
one day I'd live a life
so high in the sky--
yes, I'd be a giant!

As an adult
I've tried to realize that wish
but instead of rising up
I just seem to keep on
shrinking down.

Sometimes when I feel
especially small
I return
to that hill

but now I try
to leave my childish anger below
and allow myself to feel the sorrow
of someone who's grown.

If I can take that big step
I'll be high enough above myself
to know a true moment of peace
as I survey our grand expanse.

At such times
I experience this human I am
as both large and small:

I am indeed
The Center of the World...

but so what?--

aren't we all?



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

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ouch!



author's note:

If laughter is the best medicine, maybe it’s good for me to joke about my pain.


OUCH!

When slogging through
a dark morass of agony
some of us will only say
"ouch".

By that I mean:
we'll answer your sincere concern
with a little joke--
understating our pain
in the manner of some cartoon character
toasted to a crisp by a bomb.

Maybe I'm not being honest about
the state of my heart
but to share my burden
would only burden me more
because then I'd worry
you'd worry
much too much
about the state of my soul.

Please, believe me:
I can endure what I must
if I couldn't I wouldn't
be able to limit my cry
to a silly-sad
mouse-like
"ouch".



© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A Wounded Paradise



author's note:

A wounded paradise is still a paradise.


A WOUNDED PARADISE

Maybe I'll make for myself
a black booth--
a sanctuary where
I could confess crimes
I would never ever commit:

wild capers
malicious mischief
rabid fancies--

a devilish release
but with a heavenly purpose:
to bark this growling dog
out of me.

Thus relieved
maybe I could relax
for just a bit...

or maybe not--
I've flared many times before
and afterwards
while sitting in the silent ashes
I have heard the sad pain
hidden behind my cry

and again realized
the truth behind
the fiery cry rising
from our wounded paradise.

We bark...we howl
but no amount
can ever heal the wound--
actually
an eruption too extreme
only seems to tear me more.

Nevertheless, I wonder if
a little private yelp could help
me cool occasionally
when I feel the hackles rising

and afterwards, in the silence
maybe I'd hear again the great pain
that drives the violence of our world

and so, remember
what I must never forget:
I am truly doing some good
for us all
as I work to doctor
this human being
born into
a wounded paradise.



© 2017, Michael R. Patton
My War for Peace: a poetry book

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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Chasing Fog



author's note:

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


CHASING FOG

One misty childhood morning
I tried to lose myself
in a fog cloud
hovering across the field.

I ran--in a blur, I ran
over there
and then back
and then over there again--

the fog kept moving:

wherever I was
was where it was not.

Finally I had to stop for air
but as I wheezed and coughed
I suddenly realized
that though the fog had fled
I'd still eaten a bit of it
with every huffing breath--
yes
I could feel the rasp
of its wet wisps
deep in my lungs.

And so I kept running:
I ran--I ran--I ran until
I'd cleared the field.

In class later that day
the teacher said The Sun
had evaporated that vapor

so if I could feel
the moist ephemeral fabric
burning down to damp ashes
inside me...

then I must be a sun

(albeit a small one).

That logic--
so fanciful
so egotistical--
later provided blessed perspective
for the adult the child became:

yes, I never seemed to catch
those fantasies I chased...

but as I ran here and there
and back again
wasn't I always taking in
that which we call "life"?--

wasn't I always clearing?--

wasn't I always
living as a sun?



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

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