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author’s note:

Love yourself.  Then forget it.  Then, love the world.
            — Mary Oliver


I’ve seen some who always seem so buoyant.

I ask myself:
even if they’re not weighted
with personal conflict
how can they witness
the struggle and conflict
of our world
and not feel a burden
of incessant frustration?

I assume many are simply oblivious.

I believe a few
are born blessed with wisdom—
what they see up-close
they also view
from the mountain

and then maybe others
once felt as heavy as I do today
but gradually found courage enough
to open—to surrender

to the flood waters we hold
but try to hold back—
for fear of being overwhelmed
by our empathy for all humankind.

So now, instead of sinking
at the sight of so much pain
those brave people ascend—
lifted by the rising waters.

A possibility—or so I hope
as I struggle to cope
with all I witness
in this wounded world

which of course, includes
the wounded man
I often criticize—
the one who writes these lines.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: poetry ebook


author’s note:

Dedicated to all the worriers out there.

I know your pain.


Feeling defeated
at the end of another day
I fell back

and in the emptiness following a sigh
again heard that gentle whisper
of blended gender—
heard again those words inside my ear:
“Do not worry—
  I am with you always”

and as before, heard nothing more—
only silence when I asked
“who’s there?”

yet I feel comforted by this occasional visitor:
I always imagine an angel behind my left shoulder
shielding me with the canopy
of its invisible wings

but maybe I’m actually hearing
a better stronger me
echoing from deep within—

shouldn’t I rejoice at the thought
I hold such power of spirit?

Well, yes…nonetheless
I still want to believe:
I’m not alone—I am known.

So tonight
if the voice returns
whispering “Do not worry”
I’ll again imagine a constant angel

but will also tell myself:
apparently, you have the strength you need
to triumph despite the defeat
of these heavy gray days.


© 2019, Michael R. Patton
searching for my best beliefs: poetry ebook

author’s note:

“I’m a lost man gettin’ found.”
           — Woody Guthrie


Falling down
I found my humility.

Standing up
I found my strength.

Telling you
I found my honesty.

Listening to you
I found my mirror.

Looking down
into my mirror
I found my grief

then looking up
to clear my tears
I found and found and found
my empathy.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

author’s note:

Instead of teaching our children about “the birds and the bees”…

…we should teach them about their bears and their bees.


When I saw the news photo
of that man laid out on the ground
after an encounter with a bear…

once again, I felt
that invisible paw press
down hard on my chest—

once again, those memories
swarmed my mind—
the bittersweet times
of my history of love.

I’ve learned through honesty:
I’m the one who claws my heart
and stings my head—
not anyone from the past.

But I just can’t stop myself
from stirring the swarm
from poking the wound—

driven by a deep desire for resolution.

But though I analyze
and attack from various angles
I’m repeatedly defeated
in this fight for peace—
so frustrated now, so fatigued.

Solitude can only be temporary solace
when the real war is with yourself
so I might as well surrender my hermitage
and offer myself up—
wounded, troubled, flawed, unresolved
though I be—

once again, I’ll be
a honey bear among honey bears—
a honey bee among honey bees!

I will slowly push against
the rusty hinges
until the gate of this cage

I must create
new memories for myself—
sweet, bitter, bittersweet—whatever
will add some flavor
to this stale history.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog


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