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author’s note:

I believe we’re all working in the same way…

…and we never retire.
 

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF MY EYELIDS

Years ago, I woke to find
a whirling circle of sun-fire
descending from a fog
hovering above me—

threatening
yet harmonious—
like the aerial view of a hurricane:
a swirling blaze
of orange and gold tentacles
spiraling
into a cool aqua eye.

I felt myself lift—drawn in
despite the fire

and in sudden response
the eye expanded
to envelop my vision
so I could know
how the soft surface hue
deepens down into
a well of cobalt blue—

ominous and yet
I wanted to dive in

but in an instant—by instinct—
I shut my shocked eyes

and found relief
for my palpitating heart
in that old familiar darkness

however…
amid the growing stillness
I could sense
the awakening desire
of a higher instinct.

In answer
I tried to open again
but soon learned:
I’d not yet earned
more than that brief glimpse.

Ever since
I’ve worked to build
the strength needed
to accept
that which I want
yet fearfully reject.

Yes—
in fatigue, I often sloth

but even then
I can sense the mystery lurking
on the other side of my eyelids

so I remain tantalized…

driven.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

beast-reading-bb-january-31-2016s

author’s note:

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
            — Dr. Johnson
 

EVOLUTION OF THE SPECIES

When I lived
as a wild hirsute beast
I grunted
at the beautiful pleasures
of this Earth—
I grunted
at the pain

and felt no need for language

until one night…

when I suddenly saw
a living mystery
of moonlight and shadow
bound within the tangles and barbs
of this mundane jungle.

Since that eternal moment
I’ve struggled to express
the beauty and pain
of our human life—

I’ve struggled to maintain
that awareness.

Yes, I often seem to regress—
I slip—
and sometimes when I slip
I snarl and spit

but then the shock
of striking down
awakens me
and I realize again
the cowardice
of trying to kill the pain—
of trying to reject
awareness

and in so seeing, I deepen—
   in deepening to the pain
   I deepen to the beauty.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: another blog

gold dust leaf full br b words - August 15, 2016sc

author’s note:

…and the street of the city was pure gold…
                  — Revelation 21:21
 

GOLD DUST

Though I glimpsed
fragile frost sparkling
amid the fur of that green moss
I rejected the urge
to stop and explore
with my hungry fingertips.

Later, while under
the bare branches of the trees
I sensed a mystery in the wind
but at such a fast pace, I mostly missed
the multi-layered voice
of the long brown grass.

Then, at the end of this rush
I poured water down my gullet
until my belly felt pleasantly plump
but because I forgot to focus
I lost the bright flavor of the ice.

So much gold I’ve diminished to dust.

Nonetheless
sometimes I’ll allow something
to break through my somnolence—

for instance:

the time when
the bird perched vertically
on that tall weed stem—

I felt such admiration
for the way it held on
with those small taunt claws

then I was dazzled again
as the wren vanished
in a flash of flutter and feather
drawing my child-mind to the sky
where I beheld
a low cloud sliding swiftly by:

in that blessed instant
my dormant neurons suddenly blazed up
with unspeakable white intensity

but soon
(like the earth-bound soul I am)
I followed the natural inclination
to lower my eyes back down to this world—
a world now beaming
with so many varieties of gold:

the gold I usually ignore

but even then, it’s not lost:
whether I’m aware or not
I’m taking in all this treasure
with every living moment.

I believe after death
we’re finally able to realize
the riches we’ve accumulated
through our human existence.

But until then I can at least
force myself to occasionally brake
to see and feel and hear and taste
and in that way, remind myself:

in this dusty life
I walk on streets of gold.
 


© 2016, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: a blog

armadillo woods bbb - July 10, 2016sc

author’s note:

Another poem with a mirror in it.
 

ARMADILLO MIRROR

Though I constantly struggle to see…

I often miss the obvious
until a lightning bolt
from some personal god
shocks me awake—

as when
on a half-moon night
(while once again lamenting
 my meager accomplishment)
I happened upon
an armadillo on the lawn

and suddenly—without thought
saw myself in a mirror:
that little armored grubber
—an irrepressible spirit—
trundling along on its bitty legs:
a dwarf clawing for its survival
through many dark ages.

Such resolve, such strength!

But before my pride
could rise too high
I was struck again
by an inner knowing
I’d tried so hard to ignore:

the shell that protects
also limits…

I must evolve
out of the dark.

As I am, so we are.
 


© 2016, Michael R. Patton
SURVIVAL: a book

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