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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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Up from the bottom
  of an old pond,
  that duckling
has seen something strange.”
     — Joso (trans. Beilenson/Behn)
 

dUNKED

In those ocean dreams…

I want to bob on the top
of the water like a buoy
even though I know
if I don’t dive down
I will be dunked

dunked again:

drawn down
by some force of nature—down

to dark depths
where faces float like jellyfish:

they seem so foreign
and yet I’m told
they’re all a part of me—

even the women
even the animals
even the machines.

Occasionally I’ll witness
a face so luminous—
I burst to the surface with joy

but more often I’m greeted
by something much dimmer:
maybe a blank-eyed robot
or a drooling dog.

So next time I find myself
bobbing at the top
I may again resist
when I feel
that downward pull…

even though I know
I’ll be dunked if I do

yes—dunked again.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog


 

author’s note:

Around every Fourth of July, I revisit this poem.

Full disclosure: I’m not always able to live up to these words.
 

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

I’ll be damn if I’ll be terrorized
by anyone

including me—

I have looked into the mirror
and seen how mean I’ve been
to myself.

If I can face that monster
why should I cower
before those who lack
the courage to look
into their own reflections?

When they bombard me
my legs may tremble
but I won’t jump—
no, I’ll pirouette in triumph:
my dance will be my revenge!

Though they curse me to hell
I won’t curse them—
after all
I know the wounds
of their hellacious suffering.

On the other hand
I can’t sincerely bless them to heaven:

I haven’t yet healed myself
to that degree of empathy.

However
I have stopped
and stopped
and stopped
my monster from mirroring
their vitriolic violence

and maybe that’s blessing enough.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: a poetry book

author’s note:

Remembering poet Donald Hall, 1928-2018
 

REMEMBERING THE REASON

I believe
when we open our eyes
on the day of birth
we forget

our reason for being born

then spend the rest of our lives
trying to remind ourselves
in dreams.

To be honest
I often miss those reminders
because I’m reluctant to look
at what I’ve dreamt:

such disappointment
when I witness my weakness

but also a shock
when a dream reveals
a strength disowned

and after seeing both
one and other
I’m again confronted
with the great challenge:
to rise above one
so I can reach the other.

I believe this work to be
our reason for being born.

So, though I’m reluctant
I still want to look.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
searching for my best beliefs: poetry ebook

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