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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

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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

author’s note:

Years ago, I was told: we must lead our leaders.

I’m trying, I’m trying.
 

STOPPING MY CAR FOR A DEER AFTER HEARING THE NEWS REPORT

The radio tells me:
at the peace summit meeting
old men can’t mend old grievances—

but who am I to criticize them?—
I still can’t heal old wounds.

Our leaders lead us into fear

but who am I to criticize them
when fear still rules my head?

Angry disappointment
at the news and at myself
nearly has me driving blind

until I’m struck by the sight
of a deer lying beside the highway—
a casualty of crossing—
the rapid huffing of its chest
tells me death is near.

I’m flooded with empathy
but perhaps I put my foot to the brake
because I see a way to redeem myself
—if only slightly:

I will whisper some comfort
into the ear of that terrorized creature:
I’ll ease its sad passage—

I’ll gaze into its dark round eye
and beg forgiveness

for what?—
for the failures of all humankind.

But as I slam the car door shut
the deer abruptly stands up
on spindly yet stable legs

then in an instant
it bounds off across a brilliant meadow
to disappear into a copse of trees in shadow.

I hesitate for a moment, then follow…

I don’t know what I’m doing
and yet I do.
 

What I Learned while Alone: poetry ebook
© 2017, Michael R. Patton

vulture bed bbb - July 24, 2016sc

author’s note:

“It’s alive!  It’s alive!  It’s alive!  It’s alive!  It’s alive!”
           — from the 1931 Frankenstein
 

EVERY DAY I DIE TO LIVE

I tried (for safety’s sake)
to subdue myself

but as I fought to die
something within fought to live.

Finally I surrendered
to the strength of the spirit.

But I’d already lost so much by then:

to revive myself
I had to kill again—
kill the one I’d become
kill again and again—

a rising sequence of deaths—

such sacrifice adds as it subtracts:

we must sacrifice the life
that keeps us buried

we must sacrifice the old beliefs
that keep our eyes from opening

we must sacrifice those old dreams
that keep our minds from dreaming.

Every day I sacrifice:

every day I die a little more
every day I live a little more.

I once believed this war
would eventually end

but now I know
I must never give up the fight—

must never stop trying to live
the truth of who I am.
 

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Common Courage: a bookuch

find COMMON COURAGE on amazon

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