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author’s note:

“I was asleep but my heart stayed awake.”
    — from Song of Songs (trans. Ariel & Chana Bloch)
 

RETURN TO CENTER

In the dream…

a waterdrop
from a towering redwood tree
created the single ring of a ripple
in the center
of a pond’s black mirror:

the ripple spread—
expanding
into a silver wave rising—
gaining momentum

until it met
those rocks along the shore:

a crash, but not destruction
just a loud bounce:

the ripple quickly
put its ring back together
then began the return—
a return to center—

diminishing down
to a wee circle
then down
to a single still point…

a point that sat in ideal peace

only for a moment, I’ll admit
but that moment was enough

for me to renew
before I went forth once more
to sound myself
against those rocks.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: poetry ebook

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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 blog

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

author’s note:

What do I want people to say about me upon my demise?

“He fought the good fight.”
 

GOOD LIFE…GOOD DEATH

At my ending
I think I’ll have courage enough
not to fight
to prolong a life
no longer needed

because in this life
I have fought to overcome
my fear of freedom—

yes, I’ve warred within—
struggling to reject
enticing confinements
that would have been
living tombs.

So maybe at the end
I’ll have the strength
to release a good life
and embrace a good death.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: poetry ebook

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