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Dear Reader:

With regret, I cut this thought from the poem below:

“late,
  but too early
  to surrender”

Best wishes for the new year.
 

A CLEAR GLASS OF AIR ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

At the end of another year—alone

and blank
under a bare light bulb
at a hardwood table.

Maybe I’m dead…but no—

that clear glass of air on the table
tells me:

we only seem empty—
in reality
we’re filled with spirit.

Yes—
I suddenly sense the purity within—
at year’s end, I am newly born.

But such clarity
only lasts for the moment of a breath

with the next
all my days rush in again.

Again I am
a flawed and fumbling human being

but refreshed, after knowing
the pure spirit again.

Through this knowing, I know
the pure spirit within us all—

all us
deeply flawed
roughly fumbling
human beings.

A rolling jumble of bells
now begin
to chorus midnight

and in celebration of our spirit
I drink that clear glass of air.
 


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

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author’s note:

Hoping I might provide a little bit of light at this dark time.

Best wishes for the holidays.
 

THE LIGHT OF DECEMBER AT MIDNIGHT

Night feels darker in December…

I open myself
to the strange deep quiet
of Solstice

and stop my walk
and open my eyes
to that nativity scene
I think looks so cheap.

Suddenly I see
the pink plastic baby
lying in tinsel straw
is the new life
hidden in my heart:

a slow gestation—
the birth not guaranteed.

Then I see
that glittery styrofoam star
is the wise one within—
the one who often sighs with sadness
at the sight of my rough antics

and then—alas!—I see
that plywood cow beside the manger
is my own domestically-dull head.

Yes, I’m still quite dim…

nonetheless
I can see the light
in this dark season

so maybe there’s reason
for hope.
 


© 2018, Michael R. Patton
40 New Fables: ebook

author’s note:

This hour I tell things in confidence,
I might not tell everybody but I will tell you.
               — Walt Whitman
 

THE DIAMOND KITE

Yesterday, when I saw the kite
I saw myself

sleeping in a park clearing
—no tail, no string—
just thin orange paper breathing
in a flimsy wooden frame

until woken abruptly by a gust—
twirled straight up—
up above the maple trees

then held—suspended:
burning golden in the sun
for an operatic moment.

But soon the magic went “poof”
and the kite spiraled down
to land softly on the lawn—

the diamond eagle: a ground bird
once again.

I know how it feels

to be suddenly lifted
by some invisible hand—
held aloft

only to be set down
in the next breath.

A short vacation
yet long enough
for me to know the wonder
of being a diamond kite

and so, ever since
I’ve wanted that height
as a permanent residence

and have worked to build
string and tail.

But after so many years
and so much effort, I fear
my kite dream may only be
a pipe dream.

Nevertheless…

when I saw that kite aloft
I could not deny my desire
to lift myself up
to my diamond height.
 

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

author’s note:

Those better angels of our nature can be so irritating.
 

ANGELS IN WARTIME

As I sat overhead on a branch
and watched the enemy creep
through the woods in search of me
I noticed

a certain dread in his step

and by feeling his feeling, again felt
that horrified angel
I try so hard to ignore—

bruised but strong
within my thin armor.

Once again
I tried to stifle its tears

and once again grew frustrated
at a tenderness so stubborn

and so, once again
redirected this conflict
by pointing my anger at the enemy below—
I raised my bow…I aimed my arrow

but when I again saw the dread
in that man’s step
I again felt my angel
and realized
though I’ve killed many
that which I wish to destroy still lives

and will continue to weep
until I stop this dreadful killing.

But how can I stop
when my opponent won’t?
How can I change him?—I can’t!

Unable to answer my dilemma
I then began to climb—
hoping a greater height
would lead to greater insight.

But so far, I only know
what I’ve seen before:

the dread in the step
of so many men

which tells me:
they feel as I feel
they really don’t want to kill—
they too have an angel.

Maybe some who fight don’t
but I’ve seen enough dread
for me to have hope.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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