author’s note:

I hope I’m remembering this quote accurately:

When told that a certain woman was very humble, Dorothy Parker replied, “She has a lot to be humble about.”


AFTER I FELL IN THE FOREST 

I never felt the trees

until I fell in the forest

and as I lay face down, trying
to find the strength to stand again
I began to feel
the watchful quiet all around:
aliens communicating without sound.

I’ve listened intently
many times since
and though I still can’t
decipher their silent speech
I sense the trees pity my weakness.

Perhaps I return because 
I want their empathy
after being beaten in battle.

Humility is a virtue—is honesty.
But I will only prostrate myself 
before beings wise enough
to feel compassion for a fallen fool.

you tube channel
© 2021, Michael R. Patton
author’s note:

I’d feel embarrassed by this confession if I thought I was the only one playing a violin.


WISDOM CREEK

All day long I’m a violin 
dreaming a melodramatic melody.

But when I write poetry
I stop playing
and instead
whisper about how 
I sat down in solitude 
at the wisdom creek.

Truth is: 
I often forget to visit
those healing waters,
caught up, as I am
in my bars of music.

But strings in the head
eventually trip the feet

then I land down hard
on my back--back
at the wisdom creek.

But as I sit on its bank
in stunned silence
I may hear a deeper me

while watching my inflated violin
float away on the gentle waters.

But I’m cured only for the moment--
that overwrought music returns too soon:

apparently
the hungry boy in me
desires a grander life—
wants to feel heroic.

Maybe someday I’ll convince him
we can accomplish more
by feeling and following 
our quiet strength.

you tube channel
© 2021, Michael R. Patton
author’s note:

When you don’t have a boulder (see last post), a rock will do.


STONE ALIVE 

One day, feeling frustrated
with all the dust of our noise
I sat down on the ground
and lifted a rock 
and to amuse myself, said:

“Can you help me, dear stone?
  Old as you are
  you must know something 
  about life on this planet.
  Has age made you a sage?

“But no, I suppose
  only mountains and cliffs
  can give us wisdom.”
That plain gray stone
seemed so insignificant, so dumb.

But then as I relaxed 
in afternoon idleness
I no longer asked, but merely gazed

and as that stone warmed my palm
I slowly became enchanted:
I no longer perceived the thing as dead
but as an entity
tightly contained within its own self.

I actually sensed an essence--
an intensity radiating 
from a power within: a force
so subtle as to seem unreal 
and yet as incessant and insistent
as the drone of a Stonehenge megalith.

But my tolerance for amazement
has its limits:
I soon lay the stone back down
then bowed with respect
and ambled on.

Since then, I’ve occasionally paused 
long enough to meditate upon a stone
and though I appreciate them as solid friends
that can calm me on uncertain days
I’ve never again felt the same intensity.

However, I don’t doubt their power.  No--
the problem lies with my erratic concentration.
I know:

if such a plain gray stone 
holds the energy of life
so do all the other rocks
cascading across this planet.

My goal is: 
to eventually arrive at 
the splendid open moment
when in a blaze of illumination I realize
the incredible force behind the disguise
of all these earthly things.

you tube channel
© 2021, Michael R. Patton
author’s note:

Many years ago, I heard we should “commune with nature”.

But some time passed before I learned the wisdom of that advice.


MASTER BOULDER

Though I'm intimidated 
by its monolithic presence
I often return to that boulder
at the bottom of the hollow

and then 
despite my resistance
obey 
its command to listen
to what can not be spoken
only felt:

the profundity of its heavy silence.

In that way, I’m humbled
even as I begin to feel
that same power
echoing up from my dark depths.

I’ve finally discovered 
the value of ritual.  
I now know how to pray.

you tube channel
© 2021, Michael R. Patton

find WHAT I LEARNED WHILE ALONE on amazon

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 768 other followers

Archives