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author’s note:

Love yourself.  Then forget it.  Then, love the world.
            — Mary Oliver


I’ve seen some who always seem so buoyant.

I ask myself:
even if they’re not weighted
with personal conflict
how can they witness
the struggle and conflict
of our world
and not feel a burden
of incessant frustration?

I assume many are simply oblivious.

I believe a few
are born blessed with wisdom—
what they see up-close
they also view
from the mountain

and then maybe others
once felt as heavy as I do today
but gradually found courage enough
to open—to surrender

to the flood waters we hold
but try to hold back—
for fear of being overwhelmed
by our empathy for all humankind.

So now, instead of sinking
at the sight of so much pain
those brave people ascend—
lifted by the rising waters.

A possibility—or so I hope
as I struggle to cope
with all I witness
in this wounded world

which of course, includes
the wounded man
I often criticize—
the one who writes these lines.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: poetry ebook


author’s note:

Dedicated to all the worriers out there.

I know your pain.


Feeling defeated
at the end of another day
I fell back

and in the emptiness following a sigh
again heard that gentle whisper
of blended gender—
heard again those words inside my ear:
“Do not worry—
  I am with you always”

and as before, heard nothing more—
only silence when I asked
“who’s there?”

yet I feel comforted by this occasional visitor:
I always imagine an angel behind my left shoulder
shielding me with the canopy
of its invisible wings

but maybe I’m actually hearing
a better stronger me
echoing from deep within—

shouldn’t I rejoice at the thought
I hold such power of spirit?

Well, yes…nonetheless
I still want to believe:
I’m not alone—I am known.

So tonight
if the voice returns
whispering “Do not worry”
I’ll again imagine a constant angel

but will also tell myself:
apparently, you have the strength you need
to triumph despite the defeat
of these heavy gray days.


© 2019, Michael R. Patton
searching for my best beliefs: poetry ebook

author’s note:

“I’m a lost man gettin’ found.”
           — Woody Guthrie


Falling down
I found my humility.

Standing up
I found my strength.

Telling you
I found my honesty.

Listening to you
I found my mirror.

Looking down
into my mirror
I found my grief

then looking up
to clear my tears
I found and found and found
my empathy.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

author’s note:

“Truth!  Stark naked truth…”
       — John Cleland


Why should I be embarrassed
by this scar on my chin?—

after all
I have worked hard to heal
and I think I’ve stitched well.

Yet I feel still ashamed—
angry at how I allowed
myself to be wounded—
angry at my weakness.

Perhaps I can finally lift myself
above that injurious belief
by joining the chorus of those who sing:
these scars show our strength!

But to truly refresh us
confession must be honest
so I’ll add to my song:
I haven’t healed completely—
otherwise, you wouldn’t see a scar.

Such relief as I raise my voice—
I’m so tired of trying to hide
the mark that defies the mask:

last night in a dream
a woman felt embarrassed
so I turned off the light

but I could still see her scars—
each one shone in the dark.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
what I learned while alone: poetry ebook


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