author’s note:

I was reading the dictionary.  I thought it was a poem about everything.
                  — Steven Wright


As I lift the porcelain cup
I hardly notice
the delicate pattern
of flowing green vines
with little pink roses

my eye goes straight to the place on the lip
where I glued back the chip
after the accident:

despite the solid patch
I can still see a thin nervous line
a downward arc.

A lovely cup ruined
but no—

before the break
it was pretty, yes
but also: pretty mundane…

Now the cup wears a distinctive mark—
beautiful to me because
I’m reminded of the beauty of all those
who work so hard to heal the wound.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
finding Beauty: poetry ebook


author’s note:

“I learn by going where I have to go.”
             — Theodore Roethke


When I feel as if I’m being
pushed around
by unseen forces beyond
my control or understanding
I remind myself:

the tumbleweed
despite its suffering
sows seeds as it bounces.

And when growth feels
so painfully tedious
I tell myself:

to grow an arm
the saguaro needs
seventy slow years

but then what a strong appendage!

And when I again feel the need
to help those who struggle as I do today
I comfort myself with a hope:

if in time, some notice
what sprouted
along my tumbling bumbling path

or notice
I added another arm
or two or three in this life

then maybe some of that some
will feel encouraged
as they grow and sow in the desert.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
searching for my best beliefs: poetry ebook

author’s note:

Love yourself.  Then forget it.  Then, love the world.
            — Mary Oliver


I’ve seen some who always seem so buoyant.

I ask myself:
even if they’re not weighted
with personal conflict
how can they witness
the struggle and conflict
of our world
and not feel a burden
of incessant frustration?

I assume many are simply oblivious.

I believe a few
are born blessed with wisdom—
what they see up-close
they also view
from the mountain

and then maybe others
once felt as heavy as I do today
but gradually found courage enough
to open—to surrender

to the flood waters we hold
but try to hold back—
for fear of being overwhelmed
by our empathy for all humankind.

So now, instead of sinking
at the sight of so much pain
those brave people ascend—
lifted by the rising waters.

A possibility—or so I hope
as I struggle to cope
with all I witness
in this wounded world

which of course, includes
the wounded man
I often criticize—
the one who writes these lines.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: poetry ebook

author’s note:

Some claim dreams are meaningless…

Maybe their dreams are.  Mine aren’t.


In the dream I could not breathe

for one full year!—

as I held to a stiff chair
at the bottom of a murky lake.

To survive this test of endurance
I needed to claw down deep
into my lungs
just to dredge up
a few molecules of oxygen
hidden in storage.

Years later, when I think of this dream
I again experience
the frightening sense
of suffocation—
the tightness in my chest—
the feeling of imprisonment.

Good to remember my strength.

I believe
the wise one within
leads us into trials of adversity
so that we will expand
our capacity.

I believe
that interior puppeteer
gave me the dream
so that I might realize
the benefit of my hardship
then fight for life
instead of crying.

Some will scoff at these ideas—
they’ll state flatly:
no “deep self” enacts a grand plan.

Nonetheless, I’d guess
we’d at least share this one belief:

through such painful tests
people grow.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
the truth of the dream: poetry ebook


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