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author’s note:

Peace: always a work-in-progress.
 

WHAT I DISCOVERED AT THE SLEEP LAB

In our studies at the sleep lab
the quietest test subjects
often report
such loud dreams.

For instance:
the muted woman
who told us how she’d fought
to keep herself intact
as she spun up inside
a crazy gray tornado:

she described her struggle
with an elation absent later
when she awoke from seeing
a white dove perched
on her sunny window sill.

I wanted to say to her:
ironic, isn’t it?—you’re
more excited by the war
than by the peace you’ve earned.

But no, I did not—
we’re only allowed to make
some marks on a chart.

However
that evening I again sounded off
over drinks with my associates—
abandoning my science for the moment
to repeat with certainty this belief:

the dreams we record are proof
that all lives–
   even those so common
   even those so low
   even those so quiet
hold the highest goal.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
searching for my best beliefs: poetry ebook

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author’s note:

“I was asleep but my heart stayed awake.”
    — from Song of Songs (trans. Ariel & Chana Bloch)
 

RETURN TO CENTER

In the dream…

a waterdrop
from a towering redwood tree
created the single ring of a ripple
in the center
of a pond’s black mirror:

the ripple spread—
expanding
into a silver wave rising—
gaining momentum

until it met
those rocks along the shore:

a crash, but not destruction
just a loud bounce:

the ripple quickly
put its ring back together
then began the return—
a return to center—

diminishing down
to a wee circle
then down
to a single still point…

a point that sat in ideal peace

only for a moment, I’ll admit
but that moment was enough

for me to renew
before I went forth once more
to sound myself
against those rocks.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: poetry ebook

author’s note:

I’d like to thank those who have been tolerant of my menagerie…
 

A HOUSE OF TOLERANCE

Last night, while dreaming of
my solitary house
I opened a broom closet
and a bundled body fell out…

one more mystery character to unwrap—
another

in a wide cast
that includes both commanders
and slaves,
mountebanks as well as monks—
a riotous mix.

So please excuse me if I hesitate
to invite you in—
though I may seem quite quiet
I’m actually a carousel
of commotion.

Yes, at first, you might enjoy
the entertainment
but in time, a circus
can become very overbearing—

I know because I live with me.

A struggle
but with its benefits:
by learning to be
more tolerant of myself
I’ve become
more tolerant of others.

Maybe you want to enter
this solitary house
because you’re also trying to learn
tolerance…

well, in that case, okay.

Anyway
I think I’m tolerant enough now
to handle our inevitable
fits of exasperation.
 

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

Dear Reader:

We’re often told: support those who serve.

I say: we all serve.
 

WOUND FURROW

On my long trek home from war
I stopped to watch a farmer turn
an old meadow into a fresh field

but when I saw how
the plow blade broke the earth open
I felt my raging shame once more—

once more felt
the sharp wound of defeat—
a cut I’d tried so hard to ignore

but as the child
followed with handfuls of seed
I realized
such destruction creates furrows—

as the wise one said
old life must be torn
so new life can be born

but oh
I did not want to labor!
no—
I wanted to laze:

war had tested my strength
thus, in the aftermath
I felt quite weak

however

I’d already learned
from such conflict
that if I didn’t fight my inertia
I’d suffer an even worse defeat.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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