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lake dusk pier - July 24, 2013s

author’s note:

I felt this would be a good way to follow-up the last poem.
 

AFTER THE FUNERAL I CREATE MY OWN RITUAL

Into twilight that afternoon…

I sent those small smooth round stones
—so humble, so mundane—
skipping in delightful arcs
across the still water—

some making seven, or eight, or more hops
others…only three or four

while a few, I regret to say
went ka-plunk
with not even one jump.

On every throw
I imagined the stone
excited to fly—joyful

then, whatever the outcome
content to sink, to rest

to return to the lake…

from this pretend play
I returned home in acceptance:

the beginnings of a peace…

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
dreaming steps

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author’s note:

A recent TV commercial ended with a celebrity coach saying, “I’m comfortable in my own skin.

I both pitied and envied the man.
 

STRETCHING

I think I know why
yoga was invented:

long ago, a master realized
these contortions
are just how our lives are:

we get all twisted up
in order to stretch
then must find a way
to extricate ourselves.

But I’ve learned to love
such problems–love
the twists of this
convoluted labyrinth–

yes, I now accept
I’ll never be comfortable
in this life, in this skin

because once I’ve adjusted
to one position
I then turn the rack up
another notch…

I must.

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
dreaming steps

author’s note:

Our survival depends on understanding the human shadow.
 

SHADOW CATCHER

Allow me to catch
your long shadow
in my arms, in my lap—

not smack in my face
not heavy on my back
but in the gentle way
so I can better appreciate
your imprisonment.

I don’t mind
holding your shadow
because I know
you’ll have to
embrace mine too
if you take
just one more step

© 2011, Michael R. Patton
shameless self-promotion

author’s note:

Though this poem is not based on an actual event, I will still vouch for its veracity.
 

FALLEN LEAVES

I thank you
for every drop
you’ve squeezed
onto my palm.

When that last tree
began to shed leaves
I thought it was crying—

I believed
I had to gather up
all the tears
to keep the branches
from dying.

And eventually when
they leafed out again
I felt I’d done my duty.

Yet the tree turned away from me
and towards the Spring sun…

But though disappointed
I remained the good soldier
on the humble sojourn
—I continued on…

on through the forest,
looking for a tree
that might need
my knightly service.

But let me tell you,
trees know more than they show
—they knew
   my desire
   to help—

because as I walked by
they all stood
perfectly silent,
not stirring
a limb

and when I was gone
I could tell they breathed
a sigh of relief.

I don’t blame them really.
To accept someone’s
reaching hand
is an awful burden.
To admit you need
healing can feel
shameful.

When I touched their bark
the rising sap beneath
actually seemed
to hiss.

But I remained the dog soldier
on the bumble sojourn,
—I continued on

on

until I found
one tree that
could not even bear
my look, much less
my touch—

I’d known the same sensitivity
in myself—those times when
you realize
you must give up,
must sit down,
must eat
the leaven bread.

Though you assure yourself
by saying,
          “I’m only staying
           for a little while”…
in time, you learn
no one really gets to choose.

Yes, I knew that tree
would have to
relinquish itself—
would have to
obey an in-born will.

So at first, I thought
each drop in my palm
was a tear.
But after tasting their sweetness,
I realized that
following that in-born will
you meant to nourish me
just as I had hoped
—following my regal ego—
to nourish you.

I realized then
that you had secretly
gathered up
all my fallen leaves.

© 2009, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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