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author’s note:

With regret, I cut these lines from the poem below:

“as any witch who sweeps at night
  would tell you:
  change often goes unnoticed.”
 

SPINNING & TURNING

A year or so ago
I awoke from a dream
of a cock crowing on a rooftop—
silhouetted distinctly
by the pink-gold of a rising sun

which I believed symbolized
the arrival of a glorious new life
after decades of hard labor.

But when the weeks passed
and I continued to spin
without appearing to turn
I began to doubt again—

what more could I do
to shatter whatever invisible barrier
blocked my forward progress?—

perhaps something new
would bring in the new

so I began a slew
of fresh healthy activities:

I chanted along
with a recording of monks

and wrote daily in a dream journal—
analyzing scenes of mirrors and fog.

I surreptitiously laid
a stone walkway
in our city park—
a monument to the many strong people
working in the shadows
for the good of all.

I rearranged my files
then rearranged the rearrangement—

signaling to
the powers that be
(maybe outside, maybe within me)
that I was quite ready
for the disruption
of a new beginning.

But despite all I did
I still seemed to spin
without turning

so I again darkened with doubt

until a dream showed
pink-gold sunrays
erasing the gray
of a skylight above me.

Waking in joy
I then began to crow—
finally I understood:

though the mornings
may seem the same
I am turning my world.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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author’s note:

And now for something a bit shorter…
 

WEAVE IN PEACE

Moonlight whitens a spider dangling
down on an unseen string—
down from a limb of shadow leaves.

This suspension holds me in suspense

yet the spider seems quite at ease:

the spider knows its strength

thus, it weaves in peace…

on the other hand, humans
are still learning

so we doubt as we dangle…

maybe someday
we’ll realize the truth
of our strength

and thereafter
weave in peace.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

author’s note:

“Buzz!  Buzz!”
     — Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew
 

THE BEE WITHIN

Years ago
when I felt so dead
I sat myself down
and listened
down
deep within—

hoping to find
some sign of life…

I then discovered
what seemed to be
the steady hum of a bee—
the distant murmur rising.

I love mysteries
(even those within me)
and so
ever since that night
I’ve worked to attune myself
to the bee hum
and in that way
I’ve slowly learned to comprehend
a language still foreign.

A tedious task
yet an ideal way
to gift the mind and heart:

that bee is so wise—
consider this:

in my moments of doubt
the bee often tells me:
don’t worry—
these motions are not for nothing
you’re always making honey.

Listen intently
and you may hear
your own bee hum

not just inside yourself
but also hidden within
the buzz of your words:

while you and I distract ourselves
with lazy chitchat
our two bees communicate
at a frequency higher
than what the untrained ear
can usually detect.

Bees always speak honestly
so my bee might likely tell your bee
how I ran—how I leapt
in a vain attempt
to defy gravity

and your bee might tell mine
how a oak tree can spin
while sitting still.

Our bees reveal to the world
  our secret fears
  our secret shame
  our secret strength
  our secret grief…

but of course
my bee talks mostly to me
just as your bee talks mostly to you.

Unfortunately
I often miss the message of mine
as I rush and holler and curse—

most days
I rush and holler and curse
until I finally collapse—
feeling defeated—
downright dead…

but at such times
I may again be
open to my bee—
at such times
the bee may repeat
what I know but keep forgetting:

these motions are not for nothing
we’re always making honey.

 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

author’s note:

“We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth.”
                 — R. Buckminster Fuller
 

CONFESSIONS OF A SPACE MAN

I sat down on a flat stone—
hoping to find some sense
of stability

but as I gazed across the desert
I slowly began to feel
what I’d been told:
though the earth beneath our feet
seems solid enough
we’re actually walking on a thin crust—

a skin constantly shifting
as if something mysterious
seethes underneath—
something that might
at any moment
erupt!

How could I ever feel secure
on a planet continually in flux?

I then decided to look skyward
into the timeless void—
hoping if I lost myself
I might also lose my anxiety…

but when I saw
the myriad stars
cartwheeling
through darkness without end
I felt what I’d been told:
how this planet, this spaceship
holds us captive on a wild spin
through a Universe unknown—

we’re not held fast
by Atlas
or any other god.

Finally, in desperation
I went within—
hoping to find an anchor stone
of deep wisdom

but no—
without outside distraction
I discovered how nervous
I actually was:
rocked and racked by an inner ocean—
my rickety boat swooning—swelling
with tension—ready to explode

but then
through the fierce storm
I heard the voice
of that buried stone:

let go it said—let go

and though I could not believe
I saw no other choice, no other hope.

So I opened my toes
my fingers
my arms
my stomach
my groin…

and to my surprise
when I opened my eyes
I found myself
surfing over earthen clouds—
I now rode the stone
through the storm
balanced I was (or nearly so).

These days, I still feel
a little queasy—but
if I can remember to remind myself
to just let go
(without surrendering completely)
I usually manage to hold steady.

Maybe someday
—when I locate that lost grain
   of confidence—
I will truly soar…

If I’ve bored you
with this story before
realize this:
you’ve again helped
a fellow human being
because

by allowing me
to confess my uncertainty
I am released—
maybe only a little, but still:
thus comforted, I balance better.

But perhaps I’ve helped you too—

if you often feel weak
in the solar plexus
at least now you know:
you are not alone.
 


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

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