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author’s note:

Some may ask: does this the poem describe an actual event?

Metaphorically, yes.
 

WASHING IN THE RAIN

I knelt down in an empty field
I raised my arms to the storm

and begged
the god of lightning
to blast me open—

so desperate
to break my stubborn bars
I’d risk total destruction.

But once again that god
refused to respond
and once again I realized:

you don’t tell the gods
what to do—
they tell you.

And so, once again
I laid myself down
in defeat and wept
and let

the blank rain soak
into my blood
into my bones—

cleansed, I was
though in the mud:

I love
to rediscover
that cold blue naked purity

until
my shivering
goes from mild to violent—

the body’s way of saying
be sensible now—go inside

and so I did
and so I sit
working on this poem—
working to open:

obeying the orders
of the god of myself—
though I’m so annoyed
to hear, once again:

be patient.  Go slow.
 

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

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author’s note:

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
        — Walt Kelly, Pogo
 

ANOTHER BATTLE WON

Yesterday, as I skipped
down the sidewalk
I thought I glimpsed
a vulture circling!

and like a fool, I ran—
ran again
without thinking

and as fools often do
I tripped—
tripped again
and hit

the hard ground hard

then found only empty sky above.

I tried to laugh
but as I lay on my back
I began to feel
my real adversary again—
the parasite of needless fear:

its chattering teeth
trying to devour
the will of my better desire—

I wanted to jump up and run!

But as I fought to find
the strength to stand
I woke again
to that other feeling—
a feeling buried deep:

so subtle, so quiet, yet so solid—

a knowingness that says: all is well
(despite what you think)

a knowingness beyond reason.

The parasite then lost its teeth
(for the moment at least)
and I stood up
and walked on…

another battle won.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog

author’s note:

With regret, I cut these lines from the poem below:

“as any witch who sweeps at night
  would tell you:
  change often goes unnoticed.”
 

SPINNING & TURNING

A year or so ago
I awoke from a dream
of a cock crowing on a rooftop—
silhouetted distinctly
by the pink-gold of a rising sun

which I believed symbolized
the arrival of a glorious new life
after decades of hard labor.

But when the weeks passed
and I continued to spin
without appearing to turn
I began to doubt again—

what more could I do
to shatter whatever invisible barrier
blocked my forward progress?—

perhaps something new
would bring in the new

so I began a slew
of fresh healthy activities:

I chanted along
with a recording of monks

and wrote daily in a dream journal—
analyzing scenes of mirrors and fog.

I surreptitiously laid
a stone walkway
in our city park—
a monument to the many strong people
working in the shadows
for the good of all.

I rearranged my files
then rearranged the rearrangement—

signaling to
the powers that be
(maybe outside, maybe within me)
that I was quite ready
for the disruption
of a new beginning.

But despite all I did
I still seemed to spin
without turning

so I again darkened with doubt

until a dream showed
pink-gold sunrays
erasing the gray
of a skylight above me.

Waking in joy
I then began to crow—
finally I understood:

though the mornings
may seem the same
I am turning my world.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

dear reader:

Allow me to repeat myself:

At my death, I hope someone says: “He fought the good fight.”
 

THE GOOD FIGHT

In the dream, I knelt down

into a circle of light
found on the floor
of a dusty dark tunnel

and in an instant
an upswell of energy
saturated me—a sensation
both buoyant and dense—

my whole being hummed
with the grand expansion

yet at the same time
I felt diminished
by a power so great:
consumed—overwhelmed

I soon woke in fear

and immediately lost the feeling

then cursed my weakness

as I often do
when I give in
to lower instinct
and reject what
my higher instinct desires.

However
I didn’t lose completely:

whenever I remember
that underground light
I can sense (just vaguely)
that force of peace
within me—

within me
yet frightfully foreign:

I doubt I could ever
live with that mysterious intensity
for more than
the occasional moment.

But no matter—
a recent dream shows me
determined to return—
fighting

through a dusty storm wind
toward a dim distant light

and though I feel so weak

the exhilaration spurs me on.
 

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

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