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author’s note:

Highly recommended: The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden, by Robert A. Johnson.
 

MEETING THE WOUNDED WOMAN

After waking from the sight
of a wounded woman
knee-deep in a dark swamp…

I remembered what I’d read:

the “she” a man meets
in his dream
lives within him.

But though still alive
my receptive side
obviously didn’t feel so well—
after all, she’d lost a hand.

But how and when?—
I did not know…
however

as I pondered
the blank shock
in her blue eyes
I began to feel
what she must have felt
during whatever crime
caused the loss—
what she still feels
in the long aftermath:

horror at a savagery both rabid
and casual—
stunned confusion
at an injustice unpunished.

I could feel
the frozen fire
of her righteous anger

but also sensed
warm moist ashes of grief
beneath that ice.

I then understood why
a violent dream may follow
a routine mundane day:

if forced to confront
our deep wounds
during the waking hours
how could we complete transactions
or work with movable parts?

But we don’t occasionally confront
and deal with that truth
those wounds may kill us.

So, I need my horrific dreams—
painful though the awakening may be
I need to dream of a woman
missing a hand.

I can shelf that secret
in the back room
while I’m totaling receipts

then afterward
return to learning
how to heal the life
that gives me life.

Progress is slow, of necessity
but when I feel discouraged
I think of the green lizard dream:

how the little fellow sang with joy
because he’d finally managed
to grow his tail back—

he sang of sensitivity regained
he sang of better balance—
such fun, being functional!

That regeneration
must’ve cost a lot of energy
but what a return—
his song sounded so strong!
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
what I learned while alone: 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

head hand - January 11, 2014s

author’s note:

It was blessed good fortune when I discovered the books of Robert A. Johnson.
 

HER

I write to honor a woman
who hides in full view—

whenever I lose her
she watches and waits

as my stitches break open—

she will sew me back up
but I must first guide the thread
through the eye of the needle:

I must nurture her
before she can nurture me.

If you claim
you do not want her
I know your poverty—

I once tried
to leave her behind
because I thought
I needed to be tough
to make this trek
across the desert…

but finally I felt so weak
I had to stop
and as I gave myself up
I realized her presence
then realized her strength—

when I looked skyward
I found her gliding
in a fleet of sunlit clouds

then discovered her again
in the cloud shadows moving
across the brown sand.

At night,
she beams down upon me
from the eye of the moon

as I nestle into a boulder
shaped like her hand.

Some meet her by blessed accident:
a burglar opens a window to rob a jewel
and ends up leaving with the bride.

She comes to me
when I finally acquiesce
and allow myself
to experience perfection…

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

goddess treatment border - November 19, 2014s

author’s note:

Many have speculated on the existence of a goddess religion in ancient times…

I now have my doubts.  Even so, I know the goddess is real.
 

SOPHIE SOPHIE SOPHIE

I lost Sophie so long ago
I can’t remember when—

now she seems so foreign

though I see her everywhere:

in the glowing pearl earring
found suddenly in a dark theater

in an elegant hand print on
a frosted window
highlighted by The Moon

in a burning sunrise cloud

in the reflection of that cloud
on the gently burning sea…

so much of life says “Sophie” to me—

including the way
the peasant woman kneels
at the creek as she scrubs
yesterday’s clothes
—her long black hair
   flowing down to the ripples—

I stand there, smiling whitely
with my hands behind my back
acting casual as I remark
on today’s weather

while to myself I chant
this sacred thought:
“Sophie Sophie Sophie”.

But as she lifts her inquiring eyes
I’m startled awake
and ask myself,
 “What—
  what could she possibly see in me?”
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: the blog

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