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embrace life - June 21, 2015s

author’s note:

Someone once asked me if I ever wrote love poetry…

I replied: I hope there’s love in all my poems.


The Eskimos
have as many names for love
as they do for snow—

my Northern friends told me:
in such a brutal world
they need to realize
the myriad expressions
of love.

Of course,
they’ve a name for romantic love—

a name that shares a root
with all the other love names

including the name
for motherly love
which only varies slightly from
the name for fatherly love.

The name for
the fierce devotional love
a dog has for its whip master
is used as well
for the love the Eskimos feel
for a life so harsh:

a name also given to death
as one nears the end—yes
they’ve chosen to embrace death

they say:
accept the inevitable
with joy amid the sadness.

they welcome the long night:

though the Winter often
shuns their offering
they know they must love
the dark and the storm
and the deepest cold
in order to thrive

and besides…

the storm, the cold, the dark
have made them who they are—

so shouldn’t they give thanks?

They honor those elements as gods
because they want to elevate their love

and in so doing, elevate themselves.

I can understand—
I want to elevate my own life…

for that reason
I asked the Eskimos to give me
all their names for love—

I would incant a love word
with each step
and in that way, realize
the love I truly feel
through every living day…

but my Northern friends told me
they also love poetry

and if I didn’t try to find
my own names for love
I’d never be a poet…

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
My War for Peace: the book


stick dam 296w - May 20, 2015s

author’s note:

A companion poem to the last one posted.


When I finally stopped
to listen to myself…

I heard an undercurrent
sliding below my surface—

I heard its demands
and began to understand
why I often find myself
in places I’ve been warned against.

I was warned: avoid the rocks

I was warned: avoid the mud

I was warned: avoid the depths

but the undercurrent says
those reasonable “no’s”
must sometimes be usurped
by a greater “yes”.

common sense remains entrenched:

often when I hear
where the current’s pulling me
I will thrash and flail

hoping to avoid the rapids
hoping to avoid the dead pool
hoping to avoid the deep channel

but I fight that urge to fight
and not just because I know
it’s useless—

no, I want to submit
after having witnessed the benefits
of the many grand travails
of our river journey…

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

haunting hang-up - February 26, 2015s

author’s note:

When I read that in Thailand the ghosts live in trees…

…it just sounded healthy to me.


In Thailand
they say ghosts
live in the trees.

I wish we’d provide
such an open home
for our own ghosts

instead of trying to shove them
down into the basement:

shades rebel
under such confinement

and rise to wreck havoc
in our lives, in our world.

Yes, I know
exposure to the light
doesn’t take from a wraith
of its power of fright

but when we hang the specter
among the branches
we can live more fully
by walking in the dappled shadows
of its sad mystery.

We can feel more fully
by we allowing the persistent pain
falling from those ghosts
to permeate our skin
like a mist.

Only in the open air
can we learn to accept
the shocking thought
that some hauntings
never really leave us…

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

explosion round - October 6, 2013s

author’s note:

This poem will be included in a collection with the working title Common Courage.

I may change the title to Glorious Tedious Transformation, volume II

…because today, I realized the obvious: either appellation would be accurate.  Transformation requires courage.  And to act with courage brings transformation.


In the dream, I know I must step
on a round green stone in the road—

the stone will explode
and I’ll be blasted open
in a mad wrathful rush

but without becoming unconscious:
to fully appreciate hell I will remain aware.

But we all have places we must go:

when you saw that sledgehammer
you knew in an instant the merciless tool
would own you for the next thirty years

though you didn’t dare tell yourself until later
what you understood too clearly at the time.

Or maybe you happened upon
someone siphoning blood
from an irrigation ditch
and immediately realized
you would open your veins to him.

And what can you say when people ask “why?”—

my reasonable excuses feel like lies
when I know well the real truth:

we stepped on that bomb
we picked up that sledgehammer
we emptied our veins
because we are indestructible

and so,
we know we can endure
all we must do
to work our way down
to that part of ourselves
that can not be destroyed…

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
Glorious Tedious Transformation, v. I

find COMMON COURAGE on amazon

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