author’s note:

“Buzz!  Buzz!”
     — Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew
 

THE BEE WITHIN

Years ago
when I felt so dead
I sat myself down
and listened
down
deep within—

hoping to find
some sign of life…

I then discovered
what seemed to be
the steady hum of a bee—
the distant murmur rising.

I love mysteries
(even those within me)
and so
ever since that night
I’ve worked to attune myself
to the bee hum
and in that way
I’ve slowly learned to comprehend
a language still foreign.

A tedious task
yet an ideal way
to gift the mind and heart:

that bee is so wise—
consider this:

in my moments of doubt
the bee often tells me:
don’t worry—
these motions are not for nothing
you’re always making honey.

Listen intently
and you may hear
your own bee hum

not just inside yourself
but also hidden within
the buzz of your words:

while you and I distract ourselves
with lazy chitchat
our two bees communicate
at a frequency higher
than what the untrained ear
can usually detect.

Bees always speak honestly
so my bee might likely tell your bee
how I ran—how I leapt
in a vain attempt
to defy gravity

and your bee might tell mine
how a oak tree can spin
while sitting still.

Our bees reveal to the world
  our secret fears
  our secret shame
  our secret strength
  our secret grief…

but of course
my bee talks mostly to me
just as your bee talks mostly to you.

Unfortunately
I often miss the message of mine
as I rush and holler and curse—

most days
I rush and holler and curse
until I finally collapse—
feeling defeated—
downright dead…

but at such times
I may again be
open to my bee—
at such times
the bee may repeat
what I know but keep forgetting:

these motions are not for nothing
we’re always making honey.

 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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author’s note:

At a time of many disasters, I’m working not to become a disaster myself.
 

REDISCOVERY

Though I don’t pray religiously…

sometimes, I do
lower my knees
then lower my head
and join right palm to left

because this pause
and position
somehow quiets thought
and in the quiet
I rediscover
the wordless wisdom
of what seems to be
a god within

but in this rediscovery
I realize the chasm
between how I usually act
and what I truly am

but in my shame
I regain the purity of humility

and a sense of hope—
knowing again the deeper truth
about myself.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

author’s note:

The haiku above was translated by R. H. Blyth.  It can be found (I think) in The Classic Tradition of Haiku (Dover Thrift Editions).
 

ANY WISE SNAIL WILL TELL YOU

I’m anxious to get past
the many blocks in my path
’cause I’m told:
on the other side of all that
bric-a-brac
I’ll find a place of peace.

In the past
(feeling desperate and doubtful)
I tried to blast
through my blocks
in the manner of a resolute ram.

But
after butting my head
again and again and again
I finally accepted
this unmovable truth:

I must go slow
when working my way through
the unavoidable obstacle.

As any wise snail will tell you:
honest progress occurs at a crawl.

But even at this pace
I must occasionally pause
for a breath…

At such times
if my stop becomes still enough
I may again sense
the mysterious music hidden within
all the cacophonous curiosities
of our path

then
if I can deepen my listening
I’ll find that same harmony
within me
and for a moment know
the reality of the peace I seek.

After that moment passes
I’ll remember why—
why I must continue
this wonderful crawl.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog

author’s note:

At the age of nine, Black Elk experienced a vision in which he stood at the center of the world—Harney Peak, South Dakota.

But in the same moment, he understood that every place on Earth is also the center.
 

THE CENTER OF THE WORLD

When I was small
I often felt quite small
so I’d climb a nearby hill

and at the top
I’d survey all before me
and imagine myself to be
The Center of the World—

vowing
one day I’d live a life
so high in the sky—
yes, I’d be a giant!

As an adult
I’ve tried to realize that wish
but instead of rising up
I just seem to keep on
shrinking down.

Sometimes when I feel
especially small
I return
to that hill

but now I try
to leave my childish anger below
and allow myself to feel the sorrow
of someone who’s grown.

If I can take that big step
I’ll be high enough above myself
to know a true moment of peace
as I survey our grand expanse.

At such times
I experience this human I am
as both large and small:

I am indeed
The Center of the World…

but so what?—

aren’t we all?
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
painful puns blog

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