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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

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author’s note:

As they say in the movies: “based on a true story”.
 

BRIEF WINGS

For a moment this morning
I again felt those wings:

suddenly—without warning
that stiff pain struck me
right between the shoulder blades—

the tension pinned me straight up.

But wings are quite personal
so I pretended nonchalance
and eased on down the street

even as I sensed
those wing sprouts opening
ever so slightly—
just a bit more than before—

this time
maybe all the way
to the first pinion joint.

Though eager as ever
I dared not push
for a greater unfurling:

such impatience
actually seems to make
the wings retract.

But despite my caution
the sprouts soon shrank back—
as they have
so many times before.

Yes, they’ll come again
but I never know when—
could be tomorrow
or many months from now.

My deepest meditation
can’t open them
nor do they respond
to my most reverent prayer
or my greatest good act

so I try to distract myself
with honest daily chores.

But of course
my mind sometimes drifts
to my fervent wish:

to one day soar.

However
I wouldn’t fly all the time
nor merely for pleasure
but only when
I deemed the moment
appropriate—

when my high flight might benefit us all.

Don’t snicker—
this goal must indeed be possible
because one night I flew
anywhere I wanted at will.

I often use that dream
to lift myself
when I despair
my wings will never spread.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

wine-glass-gold-pu-gl-pu-february-11-2017s

author’s note:

“Drink me.”
      — from Alice in Wonderland
 

HOW WE MAKE WINE

Some say
the medieval science
of alchemy
can be a useful metaphor

but I say:
a better metaphor
for human transformation
might be wine-making—

the process
is not only less complex
but also open to all

because who among us
has not been crushed?

and after the stomping
we need to be encouraged
to go into the dark—
the metaphor would help us accept
the time and restriction necessary
for our potent potion
to develop.

Then later
when I resist the next step
the metaphor would show me
the reason for opening.

Yes, I’m still fascinated
by the possibilities of alchemy
however, I know
the design of my life
might limit me
to a less lofty goal…

okay—
life may limit me
but I won’t limit my life—
I won’t limit my flow
—I’ll pour

myself out—
give
all I’ve got to give now

followed by more tomorrow…

this winemaker
will never rest…
 


© 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

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