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Dear Reader:

We’re often told: support those who serve.

I say: we all serve.
 

WOUND FURROW

On my long trek home from war
I stopped to watch a farmer turn
an old meadow into a fresh field

but when I saw how
the plow blade broke the earth open
I felt my raging shame once more—

once more felt
the sharp wound of defeat—
a cut I’d tried so hard to ignore

but as the child
followed with handfuls of seed
I realized
such destruction creates furrows—

as the wise one said
old life must be torn
so new life can be born

but oh
I did not want to labor!
no—
I wanted to laze:

war had tested my strength
thus, in the aftermath
I felt quite weak

however

I’d already learned
from such conflict
that if I didn’t fight my inertia
I’d suffer an even worse defeat.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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author’s note:

We keep trying to brush the night away with our lights…

But the night just laughs—the night knows it’s still the boss.
 

THE LIGHT OF DECEMBER AT MIDNIGHT

Midnight feels darker
in December:

when I open myself
to the strange quiet
around Solstice night
I know the old familiar
in a new way

for instance…
when I stopped
at that display I’ve often mocked
suddenly I saw

the pink plastic baby lying in tinsel straw
as the hidden life in my heart
gestating slowly towards glorious birth

and the styrofoam star glittery with sequins
seemed to be that wise mind within—
the one that looks down and sighs with sadness
at the sight of my rough antics

and then (to my embarrassment)
I recognized that moon-eyed bovine
as my own slow head

but despite its domestic dullness
my cow brain could still find meaning
in those other display figures
made of cheap fiberboard.

Yes, midnight does seem darker
to this ex-Christian at Christmas—
darker, yet pervaded with such light.
 

myth steps blog
© 2017, Michael R. Patton

author’s note:

A snake once showed me: you can’t get rid of your old skin unless you keep moving.
 

THE BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION OF THE HOTEL GHOST

Each night, I hear her soft steps
on the carpet outside my door
as she walks the hotel hallway.

Like me, she is driven
by the painful desire
to leave the skin
of a worn life behind
and live a new way.

Both of us frustrated—
weary of our slowness
but beautifully obsessed:
we can’t stop ourselves
from putting
one foot
in front of the other
one foot
in front of the other…

People believe she wanders lost
and some believe the same of me
but the sages say:
as long as you keep walking
you will surely find your way.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

author’s note:

“The worms crawl in…the worms crawl out.”
               — from The Hearse Song
 

BETWEEN A LION & A WORM

I’ve seen so much shape-shifting:

I’ve seen lions
accept the lie told to them
and crawl under stones
to survive as worms.

But fortunately
a big cat can benefit
from living subterranean

if as a worm
it feeds upon
the rich life to be found
within the black loam.

But as that worm-cat expands
its safe space will become suffocating…

for our lion to rise
we must die the good death—
we must shift once again.

Afterwards
when I look back
on my life as a worm
a sigh of melancholy
may slip from my lips…

but no—
I’ll reject all regrets

because by then
I’ll finally fully accept
I had to lose
in order to grow.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: a blog

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