Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Fable of the Old Man & the Bumpkin



author's note:

Do we become stronger or do we gradually realize how strong we actually are?


THE FABLE OF THE OLD MAN & THE BUMPKIN

An old man sitting in a tree
begged a young bumpkin
passing by on the path below
to carry him across the river.

The lad gladly complied...

but when he reached the opposite side
he felt the burden lift from his back
then turned to find
the old man laughing
in the branches of that tree
where our story began.

But that's not the end:
he's toted that codger
over the water
again and again and again

even though the geezer merely whistles
when asked how and why
he keeps vaporizing.

So stop
I told the green rustic

to which he replied:
Just look how strong
my arms and legs and back
have become

and besides
this way
I get to help someone else
not just once...not just twice
but as many times as I wish.




© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: poetry ebook

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Glad to Share My Incredible Nightmare



author’s note:

I'm reminded of the expression, "He's a nice person--when he's asleep."

Whoever coined that phrase has never seen my dreams.


GLAD TO SHARE MY INCREDIBLE NIGHTMARE

What a night!--
hail rained down
all through my dreams
to stick in my throat and boot
the next morning
as I tried to talk and walk
as if not so discombobulated
by a sleep
that was non-sleep.

I believe
the steam of what boils in my heart
finds release in dreams--
sometimes creating something quite sweet:
an angelic pipe-organ melody

but more often
blasting a cacophony:

last night, those tight little fists of ice
whipped down on flat stone
in rattling waves of roar--!

But I must admit
such storms light me up
with their lightning

even though in the morning
I'm left frazzled
in the burnt-crisp aftershock...

a charge and burn absent the next night
when I'm refreshed and eased
by gentle visions gone in a wisp...

leaving me with no better story
than to repeat what happened
night before last.



© 2018, Michael R. Patton
what I learned while alone: poetry ebook

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Sharing the Price of Fire



author's note:

To be clear: the returning hero could just as well have been a heroine.


SHARING THE PRICE OF FIRE

I laid myself down
on the mountain top
until
the thunder god finally blasted me
with a lightning bolt:

by this heroic action
I captured some flames--
yes, I sacrificed my well-being
so the people would have fire.

But when I returned home
--brandishing the torch--
that woman saw how charred and scarred I was
and said:

You’ve frazzled your nerves,
stammered your brain
so now
I'm bound to a tremoring shadow.

“The world and you
  will soon bless my offering,”
  I countered.

The truth is:
you did it for yourself--
now sit down
and let me apply the salve.

Okay, so I didn't receive
the praise I'd hoped for...

yet I still felt blessed
because I realized she understood me

and not only accepted my foibles
but loved me enough to help me deal
with whatever demons might plague me
after my disastrous triumph.



© 2018, Michael R. Patton
Survival: poetry ebook

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Friday, May 11, 2018

A House of Tolerance



author's note:

I'd like to thank those who have been tolerant of my menagerie...


A HOUSE OF TOLERANCE

Last night, while dreaming of
my solitary house
I opened a broom closet
and a bundled body fell out...

one more mystery character to unwrap--
another

in a wide cast
that includes both commanders
and slaves,
mountebanks as well as monks--
a riotous mix.

So please excuse me if I hesitate
to invite you in--
though I may seem quite quiet
I'm actually a carousel
of commotion.

Yes, at first, you might enjoy
the entertainment
but in time, a circus
can become very overbearing--

I know because I live with me.

A struggle
but with its benefits:
by learning to be
more tolerant of myself
I’ve become
more tolerant of others.

Maybe you want to enter
this solitary house
because you're also trying to learn
tolerance...

well, in that case, okay.

Anyway
I think I'm tolerant enough now
to handle our inevitable
fits of exasperation.



© 2018, Michael R. Patton
what I learned while alone: a poetry ebook

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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The Owl at Midnight



author's note:

It doesn't have to be an owl.


THE OWL AT MIDNIGHT

One blessed midnight...

I woke to find
my confused face reflected
on the translucent lens
of the owl's dark eyes.

As the wise one peered deep into me
from its perch on the window sill
I froze dumb, struck to the core--

I could feel its sharp vision scanning
through my assorted troubles--conflicts!--
not judging me nor feeling pity
merely calculating my progress
in our refining process.

Overwhelmed by the intense scrutiny
I soon shut down
but though I wished I'd stayed awake
I felt satisfied after that visit:

what I'd only vaguely sensed before
had been confirmed by experience:

our world does indeed have eyes--
yes, we're being monitored

and though our watchers
may seem distant and dispassionate
obviously, they must care--
otherwise they wouldn't track
our steps so intently.

I realize some may claim
the owl was but a dream...

but either way
I can still say:
this work I'm doing matters.



© 2018, Michael R. Patton
searching for my best beliefs: ebook

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Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Dying with Him



author's note:

I want to die with my boots on.


DYING WITH HIM

Unable to believe a prayer could help
I suffered quietly with the man instead:

I matched my breath
with his ragged breath
and winced
whenever his eyelids crinkled in pain

yet I still felt so distant.

To entertain my impatience
I counted time as his blind hand
ticked against the sheet

and in that way
I fell into a timeless trance

until with a startle
our heart clunked clumsily
once...twice

then my breath and chest slumped
as his whole apparatus collapsed
with one relinquishing heave.

Suddenly a subtle brightness
intensified the room:
a nebulous glittery mist
hovered midair

only to dissolve in a blink--
too soon gone.

I nearly laughed:

what had seemed
so crushingly hard
had become in an instant
ridiculously easy.

In that moment, I realized
the old book spoke the truth--
we are indeed resurrected.

I suffered with him
until we suffered no more.



© 2018, Michael R. Patton
what I learned while alone: poetry ebook

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