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author’s note:

I keep learning from old dreams.


Years ago in a dream
I saw the truth of my room:

the walls and floor, all dull gray—
even the light motes drifting
down from the ceiling:
dense gray.

Since that vision, I’ve worked
to escape my gray place
and maybe I have—because
though I still see
scary things in my dreams
I witness nothing so monotone.

But ever so often
in my waking hours
I revisit the room
because as a human being
I want to understand

and if I can raise myself
when I return
I’ll again realize
the beauty and benefit
of that hermitage:

though gray, the sun rays
pour down from a skylight

and those high walls
create a great space—
an austere cathedral.

Oppressive, yes, but
power held in check
can build in strength
as our desire to break out
—to bloom—
grows in intensity.

I’ve still much to learn
but at least now I know why
I needed that gray room.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog


author’s note:

I may lie to myself while awake.  But in my dreams, I always tell myself the truth.


This morning when I saw
the mess in the mirror
I wondered:

did my hair do a dance in the night
while I dreamt a dream
now forgotten?

Maybe so, because
as I listened to my inside
I could feel the afterglow
of a rollicking midnight party.

I had to flatten down
the cacophony of my top
so I could be
a proper employee.

my spirit hummed
all morning—
my body twitched

until a merciful angel
finally came to my rescue

by setting off the office fire alarm—!

I then had a private space
in which to spin
to shake, to clap
to shout, to laugh

and my hair rose
with the ecstasy
as every strand
did its wild dance.

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

author’s note:

Our dreams remind us how extraordinary our ordinary lives are.


According to one theory…

as we ease into sleep
our minds begin to spiral
and expand
like a hurricane
like a galaxy:

though we think we rest
we actually spread and accelerate
through an interstellar space—

each night we extend
just a little bit more
than before—
we grow even as we snore.

But when the alarm sounds
we contract—
in a mere instant
we slam back together again!

I’m not sure of that theory
but I do know:
in a blink I’m awake
and in the rush of morning thought
I quickly forget
my nighttime universe…

but later, while waiting in traffic
I may sense a soft buzz of stardust within
then dimly recall a meteor or a planet.

What I lost probably wasn’t that important
I’ll tell myself

but in truth, at such times
I feel like a kid
who’s just missed the circus
and must return to class.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

author’s note:

January 25 is Robert Burns night in Scotland.

To be honest, I don’t know his work that well…

But I like the idea of honoring a poet with a special night.


In her dream, a door
swung open to reveal
a wild grass field—

all those stalks
with their luminous tips
darkening down to secret roots

while in the near distance
blue wildflowers circled
the stonewall of a well

then, on the horizon
a purple mountain rose above white mist—
a mysterious pyramid beckoning.

She woke believing this dream proved
a new door would soon open for her—
she’d step from the humdrum
into the visionary life she’d envisioned
for herself

but her patient waiting
didn’t persuade the door
nor did a fierce push

and so
hoping to avoid the pain of frustration
she accepted that job painting stock scenes
on handmade tea cups:

with a few deft strokes of her brushes
she’d create a warmhearted scenario
on the side of each cup—
for instance
a doe and her fawn watching
a rising sun wake
a mellow blue meadow.

As expected
this repetitive work
dulled mind and body
and so, her thoughts shifted from doors
to rummage instead
through the cluttered minutiae
of her mundane life


near the end of one workday
her blank mind lost track
of the routine
and when she snapped her focus back
our painter suddenly saw the usual
with new eyes—

saw anew
the little ceramic cup
she held in her hand—
saw anew
the quiet scene
of a sleeping cottage
watched over by
a full vanilla moon:

the rendering, mediocre
but in its lack of affectation
so innocent…so pure…

what’d seemed so trite
then became the ideal.

Though the five o’clock bell
soon broke her spell
she remained receptive

and so
as our artist opened
the warehouse exit door
she saw anew

the big trash barrel

the gray parking lot
with its faded yellow stripes

and at its border
the beige stucco wall
of the building next door—

saw anew
and finally realized

those things were
her green field
her well
her blue flowers
her purple mountain

her dream.

From that time on
she found her dream
in so many places
in so many things:

as a result
her ordinary world
became an extraordinary world
and her mundane life
became visionary.

myth steps blog
© 2018, Michael R. Patton

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